Presidents Day is a federal, U.S. holiday to commemorate the birthdays of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and all U.S. presidents. Falling on the third Monday in February (observed,) it's the perfect occasion to educate students of all ages about our presidents and American history.
Hang your flag high and celebrate Presidents Day with a patriotic theme party to break the winter doldrums. In the classroom, decorate in red, white, and blue, and make this a day for fun and knowledge.
Use this holiday to give students a welcome change of pace from their routine studies. Tailor the activities to the age of your students. Coloring pages will keep the younger kids occupied while an assignment or game will help older kids learn about the presidents and their individual accomplishments. If you're looking for ideas for projects, crafts, or games, you'll find several listed below, along with simple instructions.
A good, ole game of Presidents Fact or Fiction will keep children guessing. To prevent this from feeling like a quiz, you may wish to divide students into teams and ask them to try to fool the other teams with trick questions. This may be ideal for older students. If your class is younger, you may need to review the presidents' histories the prior week.
Compile a list of trivia and fun facts. Have each student do some research and submit two facts about one of the presidents. You may want to assign a president to keep the facts balanced or have them submit one on each.
If you want to expand the facts beyond George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, consider adding Henry Harrison and Ronald Reagan, whose birthdays are also in February. These facts can be used for a variety of activities such as the Fact or Fiction game or a crossword puzzle.
If you're planning an assignment, you can have the kids write a short biography on their chosen president. It doesn't have to be an in-depth essay. A word limit should be set and you can make it easier by having the kids focus only on the presidents' political careers. Very young children will enjoy sitting in a circle and have you reading them true "stories" about presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.
Clippings for a collage are not always easy to find this time of the year but if you have any magazines leftover from last summer, there may be some patriotic pictures accompanying Independence Day articles. You can make collages into placemats with some clear contact paper and a pair of scissors.
Have each student make a placard for their desk, with their name and a picture of their favorite president. Have every student take turns telling the class why their chosen president is their favorite.
All kids love a good game of bingo, especially if there's a prize for winning. Using a minimum of nine squares, place patriotic pictures or clip art. Ideas include George Washington and Abraham Lincoln (of course,) a flag, Uncle Sam, cherry tree, star, stripe, eagle, a firecracker, or a picture of any of our leaders. Supply coins, buttons, or candy for markers.
Award inexpensive prizes to game winners. Most party supply stores have theme favors for any occasion. Consider awarding privileges in lieu of physical prizes. A long recess, being first in the lunch line, or some extra credit are all great rewards for a job well done.