Presidents' Day is coming up on the 18th of February. It is always the third Monday of February, around the actual birthdays of Abraham Lincoln (February 12th) and George Washington (February 22nd). Last year, I wanted to make this day a special holiday to introduce my pre-school aged children to some of the presidents of our country. Here are a few of the things we did celebrate:
I printed out an image of the seal of the President of the United States. I then attached this to one of our stools to make a "podium." The kids took turns standing at the podium and pretending to be President. They gave "speeches" and I asked them questions as if we were having a "press conference."
I created black silhouettes of each of my children. Then, I gave them red and blue markers, paper, and glitter to decorate these silhouettes in a patriotic manner.
To create a silhouette, you could do it the old-fashioned way and tape a piece of black paper to a wall and then have your child stand in a profile position in front of that paper while you shine a light on the child and trace the shadow of the head. Then you cut out the shape that you traced and glue it to a contrasting color of paper. Or, if you'd rather do it all on the computer as I did, you could just snap a profile photo of your child in front of a plain background and use your photo editing software to convert that photo into a plain black silhouette. To create the silhouettes below, I took pictures of my kids in front of a plain white wall. Then I uploaded the photos to my computer and opened them in Photoshop. I increased the contrast on the photo and used the magnetic lasso in Photoshop to select their faces. I then filled my selection with plain black and put that selected black profile onto a plain white background which I then printed out for them to decorate.
An extra advantage to doing this on the computer is that once you have done the initial work of creating the profiles, you can print out as many copies of the profiles as you want.
Another craft we made was this cute double-sided Lincoln and Washington craft:
We also made Lincoln and Washington finger puppets using a penny as Lincoln's Face and a Quarter for Washington's face:
One final craft we did in honor of Abraham Lincoln was making our own little log cabins out of sticks. My kids collected sticks from the yard and together we formed it into a little cabin shape. Then, I hot glued the sticks together. Once the glue was cool the kids played with their homemade cabin.
We checked out quite a few books about presidents from the library. Below are a few of my kids' favorites:
What Presidents Are Made Of by Hanoch Piven
My boys loved the funny illustrations and random little facts about selected presidents from George Washington until today.
Madam President by Lane Smith
This book follows a little girl who is pretending to be president. The illustrations are very fun. And despite the fact that it is mostly humorous (i.e., she attends a "state funeral" of a pet frog and the "national disaster" is that her room is a mess), along the way kids actually learn a few vocabulary words about the job of a real president.
Presidents' Day by Anne Rockwell
This is a simple and straightforward book about a school class putting on a play for Presidents' Day. I liked that it was short and sweet--a good length for preschoolers--but at the same time it still taught my kids a few things.
Game and Songs
We played a Presidents Matching Game that I created by printing off two each of pictures of several presidents. You can find pictures of all the U.S. Presidents here.
We listened to Take Your Hat off When the Flag Goes By. We also sang a few Presidents' Day themed songs found here.
For more ideas, see my Presidents' Day Pinterest Board. These activities would also be great for election time or other patriotic holidays.