Family Traditions: How To Teach Kids About Presidents’ Day
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Presidents' Day has been a federal public holiday since 1971 thanks to President Richard Nixon. He declared the observance should occur on the 3rd Monday of February, honoring all past presidents of the United States of America. Initially, both February 12 and February 22 were observed as federal public holidays to honor the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and George Washington.
This year, whether you plan to devote a day or the entire weekend to the holiday, here are some ideas we can use to teach our kids about American Presidents and the Oval Office:
What to Watch
- The American President — Comedy-drama about a widowed US president and a lobbyist who fall in love. It's all aboveboard, but "politics is perception" and sparks fly anyway. (Rated: PG-13)
- All The President's Men — Reporters Woodward and Bernstein uncover the details of the Watergate scandal that leads to President Nixon's resignation. (Rated: R)
- Young Mr. Lincoln — A fictionalized account of the early life of the American president as a young lawyer facing his greatest court case. (Rated: NR)
- You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown — Linus runs for school president with Lucy and Charlie Brown being his campaign managers. (TV, 1972)
Where to Go
- Tour the White House. Can't get to Washington, D.C.? Step inside the White House through an online, interactive tour.
- Enjoy free family activities in Philadelphia at the Betsy Ross House and the Liberty 360 Show in the PECO Theater at the Historic Philadelphia Center.
- Explore the lives and contributions of 43 American Presidents by experiencing the places they knew during their lifetimes and that honor their memories after their deaths.
- Plan a staycation with the kids. Mom it Forward contributor, Jennifer Grant, offers four staycation ideas.
Things to Do and Make
- Apply to become President for a day.
- Paint a patriotic pebble or make a paper chain flag.
- Test your knowledge with the Constitution Quiz.
- Read The Citizen's Almanac, which discusses fundamental documents, symbols and anthems of the United States.
How does your family celebrate Presidents' Day?
Photo courtesy of 1canoe2 letterpress.
Desiree Allen is a thirty-something single parent with two children. A native of Denver, Colorado, she lived there until 2009, when she moved across the country to northern New Jersey with her kids. She is doing her best to avoid ‘picking up’ a Jersey accent, but she’s not making promises that she won’t eventually start sounding like some of her new friends. You can find her blogging at Writing to Sanity and tweeting @writingtosanity.
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