Dear Diary, I can’t believe it’s February! It seems like just moments ago, our family unwrapped Christmas presents and counted down to the New Year. Our celebration continues into the month of February as we observe Black History Month. As a teacher, I want to ensure my children not only learn their history but also celebrate who they are in this world. Black History Month isn’t a time to celebrate separation. Instead, it’s a month to teach our families and other cultures about the significant contributions the African-American race made since the beginning of time. I think Carter G. Woodson put it best when he wrote, In our so-called democracy we are accustomed to give the majority what they want rather than educate them to understand what is best for them. So this month is more about unity than it is exclusion. Starting with our children, of all colors, we must eliminate ignorance, and learn to appreciate, celebrate and even understand our neighbors. Here are 5 fun ways to celebrate Black History Month with kids. 1. Create Kente Cloth Children of all ages enjoy looking at pictures of kente cloths and identifying the colors and patterns as you explain the significance of the cloth. Teach your child the meaning behind the colors: Black: maturation, intensified spiritual energy Blue: peacefulness, harmony and love Green: vegetation, planting, harvesting, growth, spiritual renewal Gold: royalty, wealth, high status, glory, spiritual purity Grey: healing and cleansing rituals; associated with ash Maroon: the color of mother earth; associated with healing Pink: associated with the female essence of life; a mild, gentle aspect of red Purple: associated with feminine aspects of life; usually worn by women Red: political and spiritual moods; bloodshed; sacrificial rites and death. Silver: serenity, purity, joy; associated with the moon White: purification, sanctification rites and festive occasions Yellow: preciousness, royalty, wealth, fertility Then create your own kente cloth with markers and paper using this activity guide. 2. Research Historical Figures Visit your local library, surf the Internet or share information you know about well-known African-Americans and their contributions to society. Have your children draw pictures and make up stories about what they learned. They can even show the similarities between a historical figure and someone in your family. For example, Jackie Robinson’s accomplishments in Major League Baseball could be connected to the accomplishments of your child’s dad who is athletic. 3. Learn the Art of Storytelling Not all heroes make the history books. Explain oral traditions to your child, and take time to share a story (and picture if you have it) of someone in your family. Growing up, my parents told me about an ancestor who narrowly escaped on a Mississippi riverboat before being sold as a slave on our city’s courthouse steps that still stand today. 4. Go on a Scavenger Hunt Make a list with your child of items invented by African-Americans. Hide the items around the house, and go on a scavenger hunt. Encourage your child to say thank you to the inventor as they use the item or enjoy the service. You can find things to add to your list on BlackInventors.com. Did you know African-Americans invented the Super Soaker, a mop and a wrench? 5. Cook up Memories A kitchen is often the place in a home where family can be found cooking and spending time together. Here’s a nice simple side dish recipe from my husband’s childhood kitchen. Sweet Potato Casserole Ingredients 2-3 medium sweet potatoes 1 egg 3/4 cup sugar 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 1 half stick of butter or margarine (softened) 1 small can of evaporated milk 1 teaspoon nutmeg 1 bag of large marshmallows Directions Wash and peel sweet potatoes then boil on stovetop over medium heat until tender Preheat oven to 350 degrees F Drain water from sweet potatoes In a large bowl, add sweet potatoes, egg, sugar, vanilla extract, butter or margarine, milk, and nutmeg and then mash/beat together Spread into casserole dish or 9×13 inch baking dish Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes Remove dish from oven with oven mitts and add marshmallows to cover the top of casserole Return dish to oven and watch marshmallows melt Once the marshmallows are melted, turn the oven on high broil to lightly brown (watch closely) Once brown, remove from oven and allow time to cool slightly before serving Hey DFTM Fam–How are you celebrating Black History Month with your children? Also, be sure to check out our Martin Luther King, Jr. book list! Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.