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.
1. Presidential Fact Finders Game
To celebrate President’s Day this year play Presidential Fact Finders. The game involves finding fact cards about two of our presidents, Abraham Lincoln and George Washington, determining which fact applies to which president, and then gluing them on to the correct silhouette first.
Here’s how you’ll play the game. Copy the Presidential Fact Finders printable on colored paper, as many colors as you have kids who are playing.
Cut out the fact cards and hide them around your area. Assign each child a color and give him or her the coordinating color of silhouettes.
Then let the hunt begin! Each time they find one of their colored fact cards they will decide which president the fact is about and glue it on to the appropriate silhouette. They will race around, trying to find their cards and glue them on to the right president. The first one done that has them all correct wins.
Additional Layers are tangents you can take off on to expand this activity or continue it for several more days. Here are a few more fun ways you can use the presidents’ silhouettes:
Write a story about each president on top of his silhouette shape. Little ones could just illustrate the event using drawings on top of the president.
Keep your writing and pictures within the facial lines so it creates shape art.
If you need more than one page for the story you could print out several silhouettes, cut along the lines, and put them together to create a silhouette shape book.
Look at a real picture of each of the presidents and draw in his facial features on to the silhouette.
Use the silhouette to create a giant coin – a penny for Lincoln and a quarter for Washington.
2. Timeline of American Presidents
Put the American presidents in order in a timeline. You will need the Presidents of the United States portraits with their names and faces, Presidents of the United States fact cards with their names, and the Presidential Facts Answer Sheet.
Put the cards in order, matching the deeds of the presidents with their portraits and names. Once you have practiced, see if you can do it from memory.
3. Presidential Bookworms
Focus on one or two of your favorite presidents like Abe Lincoln or George Washington. Learn more about him specifically by reading a book or finding information on the web.
by Ingri & Edgar D’Aulaire
Abraham Lincoln: The Great Emancipator
by Augusta Stevenson
The Autobiography of Calvin Coolidge
by Calvin Coolidge
4. Vote For Me For President!
Read about some past presidential campaign slogans and make up your own slogan and poster as though you were running for president.
5. Deep Thoughts: What Makes A President Great?
Talk over with your kids what qualities they think make a good leader. It’s no mistake that our most famous presidents were known for their honesty and our most despised presidents were known for their lying. What qualities besides honesty do we need in a President?
6. On the Web: Visiting the Whitehouse
Visit whitehouse.gov for a virtual tour of the White House and fun facts about presidents past and their families and even their pets.
7. Presidential Coin Rubbings
Get out your coins and paper currency and see which presidents are on the money.
Make coin rubbings of some of the president’s head. Just place a coin under a piece of paper then use a crayon or pencil to color over the top of the coin. The image of the face from the coin will be left on the paper.
8. Presidential Landmarks
Make a map of presidential landmarks. Print out a map below, then color the location stars of the famous landmarks. Look them up one by one as you go to find out more about them. Draw a little picture of each one on the map next to the star.
9. Memorization Station: O Captain! My Captain!
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.
O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done, The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won, 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 ribbon’d 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 anchor’d 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.
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.
Happy President’s Day
Celebrate President’s Day with a fun family school activity you can all enjoy. And have fun learning!
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