Meaningful Activities For Kids On George Washington’s Birthday

Presidents Day began as a celebration of George Washington (the official name is still Washington’s Birthday–the name “Presidents Day” was a marketing ploy of the 1980’s) and falls on the third Monday of February.  Washington’s actual birthday was February 22nd and originally the day was celebrated at this time, but Americans have a thing for three day weekends so it was adjusted accordingly.  When we celebrate Presidents Day at my house we usually focus just on Washington, partly to keep it simple and partly because he’s the most admirable man and president in our country’s history.  Washington is a person I really want my children to emulate.

This is a portrait of George Washington from when he was the commander of the Continental Army. The portrait is by Charles Wilson Peale, America’s first artist.

 Teaching Tip

When teaching my own kids I don’t just look for cute activities around a theme, like Presidents Day.  I mean making a puppet of George Washington would be fun, but what would they learn?  I always approach a lesson from the idea of “what do I want them to learn from this” and then I design an activity or discussion that teaches the facts or the principles I want them to absorb.  So there’s nothing wrong with making the puppet of George, but then make it meaningful on top of that.

A Story To Emulate

So today I will read my children a story about the humility of Washington and what made him truly a great man.  You can find it here.  Then we will discuss the story:

  • What did Washington do when the corporal (a corporal is just above a private in rank) refused to help his men?
  • Why do you think Washington did this?
  • What do you think the corporal thought after Washington told him who he, Washington, was?
  • What do you learn about Washington’s character from this story?

Here are a few other stories of George Washington that give insight into his character.

The Feedback

When I have read them a story or two and we have discussed them, I will ask the kids to choose one of the stories to draw a picture of.  Then on the back or in a caption they will narrate the story back to me as I write (the bigger ones can write themselves).

And For the Crafty People

That’s all it takes and instead of a pointless craft to fill time you have learned a real lesson.  Of course you can substitute the drawing with a “puppet of Washington” (or another craft) and write some of Washington’s character traits on the puppet.

Additional Layers

 More From Layers of Learning

George Washington’s Virtues on an Wheel printable

Visit the Holidayopedia for more President's day fun.
Visit the Holidayopedia for more President’s day fun.

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