I asked my kids how they wanted to celebrate Black History Month this year, and they said, "Cake!" (They claim it's because we use cake at any celebration, but I know they have a sweet tooth.) This year, one of my goals is to go deeper with them on our people's history. I've only given them positive droplets because I knew some talks would lead to a marathon of questions, and I'd have to expose them to the truth: Black people have not been, and still aren't, treated equally. (And that's putting it lightly.)
But, this year is different. Last year's protests and racial tension opened Pandora's box, ripping the cover off for innocent Black children and prompting us to have many hard conversations. Now, as a family, we're ready to celebrate past accomplishments and acknowledge the ugliness of injustice our ancestors had to fight through and why this fight continues.
While digging for some ideas, I wasn't surprised to see how creative some moms have gotten in their approach to making this month educational, inspiring, and fun.
Watch Black History Month Videos & Documentaries
YouTube has several kid-friendly videos full of monumental feats by Black people. The ABCs of Black History is a good place to start where kids can learn about Africa, Barack Obama, and the Civil Rights Act. Other videos that offer great insight into history are the cartoon Harriet Tubman - Underground Railroad Animation, or even the Biography of Frederick Douglass for Kids, and these 10 other documentaries can be on your list.
Black History Month Through Art
This type of learning allows kids to get a visual of historical moments through the artist's eyes. But next, you can break out a canvas and some brushes and have them create a visual of what they think a specific event in Black History may have looked like. Graphic art, music, and dance are other artistic options heavily influenced by Black artists that kids can learn from and appreciate. If your babies like to move, there are a variety of virtual African dance classes starting as low as $10.
Learn A Black History Month Word
Words like segregation or slavery don't connect to the world that our kids see right now. But when they understand them, they can better appreciate the progress that has happened. Choose a word that is a part of Black History and talk about what it means. A few words you can start with are discrimination, emancipation, voting rights, protest, and integration.
If they can use it in a sentence, even better. Spend a couple of days talking about a time in history where those words were commonly used and how if affected Black people.
Black History Door Challenge
"It's the same concept as putting hearts on your children's door with affirmations," says Demetra, a Missouri-based stay-at-home mom. "But we are doing Black history knowledge, quotes, and affirmations daily for the full month of February." Your kids can wake to find a new fact about a historical Black figure taped to different doors in the home each day. As they gradually learn more, you can mix up the facts and set time to unscramble them by putting the correct note with the person it is matched to.
Redecorate With Black History Month Banners
Lakesha, mom of three in South Florida, says, "I'm redecorating their homeschool classroom." After a visit to Michael's, she racked up on their Black History decor.
We furnish rooms with red hearts for Valentine's Day and green clovers for St. Patrick's Day. And those are just single-day events. So why not decorate for this month-long celebration? It's as easy as a visit to Michael's to create your own crafts. Party City also has a special collection in celebration of Black History Month, including yard signs, air-filled balloon phrases, and banners.
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Read Famous Black History Quotes
"Knowledge is the pathway from slavery to freedom." — Frederick Douglas.
"You must never be fearful about what you are doing when it's right." — Rosa Parks.
"Fear of something is at the root of hate for others, and hate within will eventually destroy the hater." — George Washington Carver.
"Won't it be wonderful when Black history, and Native American history, and Jewish history, and all of U.S. history is taught from one book? Just U.S. history." — Maya Angelou
There are so many famous quotes made by legendary Black artists, educators, and activists. Talk about a few throughout the month. Find the meaning and impact it had on the time it was created, and discuss ways it can apply to life today.
Black History Month Trivia Games
Trivia is a fun way to learn while you play/compete. You can even split your family into teams to create a group effort. This laminated 28-pack of Knowledge Cards is a good example. The front has a photo and the words Who Am I, and the back has three points about their accomplishments. Each deck includes revolutionaries, from Alex Haley to Barack Obama.
I am enough
I am brilliant
I deserve respect
My hair boldly reaches for the sky
My Black skin is beautiful
I stand on the strength and determination of my family before me
I am a leader
I am proud to be Black
Black people continue to excel despite the odds being stacked against us. As parents, we can use daily affirmations to add an extra layer of mental toughness against stereotypes, hate, and racism so that our kids know they are worthy of love and support and have a right to be safe, educated, and have an equal chance in life.
Find your own way to creatively intertwine these activities to make them fit your family.