family fun

Holidays: 4 Staycation Ideas for Presidents’ Day

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A friend who lives not far from me posts “Positive Weather Thoughts" (or “PWTs”) as status updates on Facebook during the winter. She is a mother of four whose piercings, tattoos, and perpetually-tanned skin give the impression that she lives near the beach in, say, southern California rather than here on the windy plains of the Midwest. By focusing on PWTs, this woman attempts to remain cheerful, even when skies seem relentlessly gray month after month.

“At least this up and down weather is interesting,” she recently posted, after we’d had a snowstorm one day, thunder and lightning that night, and a big Spring-like melt the next.

Like my friend, I attempt to maintain a positive attitude, even when the weather is less than optimal and my four kids have a holiday or “teacher work day” to keep them home from school.

When yet another three or four day weekend is looming, I get creative. Over the past several winters, I have thrown everything from elaborate Groundhog Day celebrations to birthday parties for J.R.R. Tolkien. I have commemorated Presidents’ Day with cherry pies (a nod to our first president) and old-fashioned games such as Dominos to show my children what games were played hundreds of years ago.

4 Staycation Ideas for President's Day

As Presidents’ Day (and another four-day weekend) approaches, we can all start planning playful (and, yes, educational) ways to commemorate it.

Decorate the House

Set the mood for the day by surprising your kids when they wake up on Presidents’ Day. Pull out the American flags you usually reserve for the Fourth of July. Hang red, white, and blue streamers. Visit a teacher supply or dollar store to buy (or cut out your own) simple shapes to replicate George Washington’s recognizable profile or Abe Lincoln’s top hat. (Those figures are, of course, the two presidents whom we celebrate on the third Monday of February.)

Learn About the Presidents

Although Presidents’ Day usually points to Honest Abe and the Father of our Country, it’s appropriate to learn about the other POTUSes on that day as well.

For a complete list of our presidents, visit this site. Click on a president to read their inaugural addresses or other historic documents. More recent presidents can be seen and heard delivering their most famous addresses. Create a quiz to teach “fun facts” about various presidents.

Create Craft Projects

Pick your favorite president and have a little fun. Build a pretzel log cabin. Watch this video to learn about Abe Lincoln’s famous log cabin and how to make your own edible version. For a construction project that is a little less sticky, consider making your own George Washington wig. Nibbling on a piece of Mamie Eisenhower’s fudge while watching Dwight D. give his “military/industrial complex speech” on the POTUS site certainly would make it a little sweeter.

Watch Presidential-Themed Movies

Presidents’ Day is a perfect occasion to introduce teens to classic political films such as “All the President’s Men” and “Wag the Dog.” Lighter political fare for tweens includes Kevin Kline’s comic “Dave.” I like watching “1776” with my children on Presidents’ Day to reflect on our country’s origins and the benefits of our system of government. Musicals make me happy and brightening my mood in the depths of winter makes the whole family more sunny.

What’s are your fun ideas for celebrating Presidents' Day?

Featured photo courtesy of Flickr.

Parenting writer Jennifer Grant’s first book, “Love You More: The Divine Surprise of Adopting My Daughter” was published in August 2011. Her second, also a memoir, is titled “MOMumental: Adventures in the Messy Art of Raising a Family” and will be released in May 2012. “MOMumental” is a “humorous and candid memoir that shows would-be supermoms how to create a realistically balanced family life without losing their minds.” Find Grant online at jennifergrant.com.

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