Even George Washington and Abraham Lincoln themselves could not have begun to imagine the amount of materials that would be created about them. And for students today, the number of resources available for them to learn about, quite possibly, our country’s two most famous presidents seems almost endless.
Although Presidents’ Day technically recognizes the lives and contributions of all 44 U.S. presidents, it is Washington and Lincoln who remain the focus of most of the holiday observances. Perhaps this is because Presidents’ Day was chosen to be observed on the third Monday of February, which typically falls between Lincoln’s birthday on the 12th and Washington’s birthday on the 22nd.
So in honor of these two men who played such a critical role in our nation’s history, we’ve assembled a list of great resources for teaching your children about their lives and significance.
First, our favorite resource for in-depth learning about the lives of Washington and Lincoln are two books from the Who Was…? biography series written for children ages 8 and up. Who Was George Washington? by Roberta Edwards is the fascinating account of Washington’s life starting with his childhood. An excellent storyteller, Edwards does an amazing job of making Washington real to the reader by including personal stories and funny trivia. Over 100 black-and-white illustrations enrich the storyline and make it accessible to even younger children. This book may be best suited as a read-aloud – and parents may just learn a thing or two about history, too!
Who Was Abraham Lincoln? by Janet Pascal is equally engaging. She shares information about Lincoln’s childhood, glossing over tragedy (his mother died when he was only 9) and emphasizing the events that impacted him the most. But the story quickly turns from his childhood to his adult life and presidency and the challenges he faced in office. Both of these books are available in paperback or Kindle editions.
We just recently discovered the History Videos for Kids series from Getting to Know.Inc. Their Getting to Know the U.S. Presidents DVDs are short, partially animated videos where the president narrates the abbreviated story of his life. Play the video below to watch a short preview and see if they are age-appropriate for your child.
We love this mini-research project from the Library Patch, which includes a list of books and videos for researching the answers to the questions on the free printable they have made available for download. And this Presidents’ Day Pack from the Lesson Plan Diva includes 11 pages of Lincoln- and Washington-themed activities for children in Pre-K through 3rd grade.
The best round up of craft ideas that we’ve found is on Tip Junkie. Laurie has put together a fabulous list of 21 crafts for celebrating Presidents’ Day. Creative Teaching also offers instructions for making this cute glyph. All you need is some construction paper, cotton balls and glue. And if your child likes to dress up and role play, then perhaps he might prefer these president photo booth props from Sandy Toes & Popsicles.
Monica Olivera Hazelton, NBC Latino contributor and the founder and publisher ofMommyMaestra.com, a site for Latino families that homeschool, as well as families with children in a traditional school setting who want to take a more active role in their children’s education. She is the 2011 winner of the “Best Latina Education Blogger” award by LATISM.