Celebrate Presidents Day by learning about some of our great presidents! Learning about our past leaders gives great insight and understanding into who we are as a nation. Looking at past leaders, their strength’s and weaknesses, their characters, their triumphs and failures also helps us make better decisions about our future leaders. Besides, teaching around a theme is fun and easy to plan.
President’s Day Activities
- Make a timeline of America’s presidents. Include all presidents or just the most well-know. Add other significant events like major wars or Constitutional Amendments to your time line to get a feel for where in history the president’s fit. Adding pictures to a timeline always makes it come alive too. Here’s a complete list of American presidents.
- Focus on one or two of your favorite president’s like Abe Lincoln or George Washington. Learn more about them specifically by reading a book or finding information on the web.
- Read about some past presidential campaign slogans and make up your own slogan and poster as though you were running for president.
- Talk over with your kids what qualities they think make a good leader. It’s no mistake for example that our most famous presidents were known for their honesty and our most despised presidents were known for their lying. What qualties besides honesty do we need in a President?
- Visit whitehouse.gov for a virtual tour of the White House and fun facts about presidents past and their families and even their pets.
- Print out these cards from Scholastic and use them to make a timeline or for memorizing the presidents.
- Get out your coins and paper currency and see which presidents are on the money.
- Make a map of presidential landmarks. Print out a map of the US, then glue or draw pictures of famous landmarks like the Washington Monument, Mount Rushmore, the Lincoln Memorial, Mount Vernon and Montpelier, and so on to the map in the correct locations.
- Memorize O Captain! My Captain! by Walt Whitman, a tribute to Abraham Lincoln, written after his assassination. Discuss the imagery of the poem and what message you think Whitman was trying to send with his poem. If memorizing seems a bit much, print out the verse and have the kids paste it onto an Abraham Lincoln hat after you’ve read and discussed it. Or have your child record the poem onto your computer to listen to over and over.
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead. O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up–for you the flag is flung for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribboned wreaths for you the shores a-crowding,
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head!
It is some dream that on the deck,
You’ve fallen cold and dead. My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;
The ship is anchored safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
Exult O shores, and ring O bells!
But I, with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.