Disclaimer: The U.S. Department of Education does not mandate or prescribe particular curricula or lesson plans. This information is provided for the visitor’s convenience and is included here as an example of the many resources that parents and educators may find helpful and use at their option. See the full FREE disclaimer.
Presidents’ Day is observed on the third Monday in February in honor of George Washington’s and Abraham Lincoln’s February birthdays. Dig into some presidential history, uncover some cool facts about the White House, and find some creative and free ways to celebrate the holiday with your kids.
1. Visit a National Park for free: All 401 National Parks will waive their entrance fees over Presidents’ Day weekend 2014. Find a park near you and learn more about National Parks with presidential connections – like birthplaces, homes, memorials and monuments – on the National Park Service Presidents’ Day page.
2. Walk a mile or more: As a boy and young man Abraham Lincoln walked miles to get to school and access more books. Bundle up if the weather is cold, and head outdoors. Take a long walk with your kids in the neighborhood or at a park, or hike together at any state or National Park. Keep track of how much distance you cover with a map or a pedometer. Get more ideas from the Let’s Move! blog post on “Hiking, Snowshoeing and More! Enjoy America’s Great Outdoors This Winter.”
3. Count the presidents in your pocket: Set out some pennies, quarters and other currency with presidential portraits for some hands-on math activities – counting to 10 or 100 with pennies, or demonstrating equivalent values in different ways for more advanced math students. See the U.S. Mint’s history in your pocket website for kids for activities and games.
4. Read and reflect about integrity, resilience and grit: George Washington and Abraham Lincoln were leaders of great character and honesty. Have your kids take notes while they read some biographies of Washington and Lincoln – books from the library or online sources – and make a list of character traits they had in common with memorable examples or quotes. Explore Mount Vernon’s Digital Encyclopedia of George Washington and the Library of Congress’s Abraham Lincoln activities for students.
5. Build your own presidential residence: George Washington selected the spot where the White House stands today. Encourage STEAM (Science, Technical, Engineering, Art and Design, and Mathematics) skills and build a replica of the White House from building blocks or other materials you have on hand. Learn more about the White House’s history and explore the White House interactive tour.
Broaden your kids’ understanding and appreciation of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and all the American presidents with activities from traditional and unexpected perspectives. As you try a few of our suggestions, see what cool ideas your kids think up next to continue their adventures in America’s past, present and future.