Juneteenth for Kids: Engaging Education and Fun Activities to Celebrate With Young Learners
**Free Juneteenth Cootie Catcher Activity Included
Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, is a National holiday commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in the United States. On June 19, 1865, General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, and announced the end of slavery in the South, marking a pivotal moment in American history. As caregivers and teachers, it is essential to educate our young learners about the rich history and cultural significance of Juneteenth. This holiday celebrates the freedom, resilience, and achievements of African Americans, while also recognizing the ongoing struggle for racial equality. By engaging our children in meaningful Juneteenth celebrations and learning activities, we can foster inclusivity, promote understanding, and empower them to be agents of positive change. In this blog post, we will provide you with fun ideas and activities to immerse your young learners in the spirit of Juneteenth!
1. Teach the History
Start by explaining the historical background of Juneteenth to your young learners. Here are a few examples of how you can teach the history in an age-appropriate and engaging manner:
Read Juneteenth Picture Books
Reading books about Juneteenth can be an effective way to promote understanding and empathy in young learners. Look for age-appropriate books that highlight the historical significance and personal stories related to this holiday. Some excellent titles include "Juneteenth Jamboree" by Carole Boston Weatherford and "Freedom's Gifts: A Juneteenth Story" by Valerie Wesley Williams. As you read the books together, pause to discuss the illustrations, characters, and historical events depicted. Encourage them to share their interpretations and connect the story to their own lives. If you're in need of a few, visit a Black-owned bookstore for some great picture books on Juneteenth or check out some of these titles here:
Watch Educational Videos
Visual media can be a powerful tool for children's learning. Look for age-appropriate videos that explain the history of Juneteenth and its significance. Websites like PBS Kids, BrainPop, and YouTube have numerous resources available that convey historical information in an engaging and accessible way. After watching the videos, discuss the content with your child, encouraging questions and facilitating a deeper understanding.
Create an Interactive Timeline
Create a simple timeline displaying key events leading up to Juneteenth. Include milestones such as the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 and the arrival of General Granger in Texas in 1865. Use visual aids, drawings, or even photographs to illustrate each event. As you go through the timeline, explain the significance of each event and how it contributed to the ultimate emancipation of enslaved individuals.
Take a Field Trip
Take advantage of virtual resources to embark on field trips that explore significant sites related to Juneteenth. Visit museums, historical landmarks, or interactive online exhibits that showcase artifacts and stories from the era of slavery. Discuss the significance of these places and encourage your kiddos to ask questions and make connections between what they see and the history of Juneteenth.
Remember to adapt these activities to the age and developmental level of your learner. By making the history of Juneteenth accessible and engaging, you can lay the foundation for their understanding of this important holiday.
2. Make Juneteenth Crafts
Engaging in arts and crafts activities is a wonderful way to immerse your young learner in the spirit of Juneteenth while fostering creativity and cultural appreciation. Here are some examples of Juneteenth-themed arts and crafts that you can create together:
Freedom Quilt: Introduce the concept of the Underground Railroad and the use of quilts as secret communication tools. Create a collaborative Freedom Quilt with your child by using colorful construction paper or fabric scraps. Each square of the quilt can represent a different aspect of freedom or feature symbols such as a North Star, a train, or images depicting African American heroes and heroines.
Emancipation Day Banner: Help your kiddo design and decorate a banner celebrating Emancipation Day. Provide them with large pieces of paper or fabric, markers, paints, or colored pencils. Encourage them to incorporate meaningful symbols and messages of freedom, equality, and unity. Display the banner in your home or classroom as a visual representation of your Juneteenth celebration.
Storytelling Masks: In many African cultures, masks are used for storytelling and ceremonial purposes. Help your child create their own storytelling mask using paper plates or cardboard. Provide art supplies such as paint, markers, feathers, and beads for decoration. Encourage them to design a mask that represents freedom, strength, or a specific character from African American history.
Juneteenth Collage: Gather magazines, newspapers, and other printed materials that depict diverse African American individuals, cultural symbols, or historical events related to Juneteenth. Have your learner cut out the images and create a collage that represents the spirit of Juneteenth. Discuss the significance of the images and the stories they convey.
Remember to foster a supportive and inclusive environment during these arts and crafts activities. Encourage your child to express themselves creatively and provide opportunities for discussions about Juneteenth, its historical context, and the importance of celebrating freedom and equality. These hands-on experiences will not only engage your young learner but also deepen their understanding and appreciation of Juneteenth and its cultural significance.
3. Attend Community Celebrations
Check local community events to see if there are any Juneteenth celebrations taking place nearby. These events often include parades, festivals, music performances, art exhibitions, and educational activities suitable for families. Participating in community celebrations allows your young learners to experience the joyous atmosphere of Juneteenth while connecting with others who are also commemorating this important day.
4. Support Black-Owned Businesses
One meaningful way to celebrate Juneteenth with your young learner is by supporting Black-owned businesses. Juneteenth is not only a day to reflect on the historical struggles and achievements of African Americans but also an opportunity to uplift and empower the Black community today. By actively engaging in economic support, you can teach your child about the importance of economic justice and promote economic empowerment.
Start by researching local Black-owned businesses in your community, such as bookstores, restaurants, clothing stores, or artisanal shops, and plan a visit to one or more of them together with your kiddo. Encourage your child to participate in this process by involving them in the selection of businesses they would like to support. Discuss the significance of supporting these businesses and the positive impact it can have on individuals and communities. Talk to the owners, learn about their stories, and appreciate their contributions to the community.
By supporting Black-owned businesses, you and your young learner actively participate in promoting economic equity and contribute to the ongoing fight for social justice. These actions demonstrate that celebrating Juneteenth is not only about acknowledging history but also about creating a more inclusive and equitable present and future for all.
5. Celebrate the Accomplishments of Black People Throughout History
Juneteenth is an excellent opportunity to celebrate and honor the remarkable accomplishments of Black individuals throughout history. By highlighting their contributions, you can inspire your child and foster pride in the achievements of African Americans. Our Legendary Leaders - Black History Flashcards teach children about some of the most influential leaders, past and present. Created by a teacher with young readers in mind, our flash cards are designed to promote reading, cognitive, and language skills. These Black history fact cards can even be used as a game where players try to guess the person based on their facts – the names are written upside down on the bottom of each card! Enjoy learning about Matthew Henson, Shirley Chisholm, Booker T. Washington, and more with our Legendary Leaders - Black History Flashcards. Only at www.ABSeeMe.com!
BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE….
OUR FREE JUNETEENTH COOTIE CATCHER!
Learn fast facts about Juneteenth with this fun PDF download, our Juneteenth Cootie Catcher! Perfect to use after watching a Juneteenth kids video or reading a picture book about Juneteenth, you and your learner can test your knowledge and answer questions related to the holiday.
By celebrating Juneteenth with your kids, you have the opportunity to instill a sense of history, empathy, and cultural appreciation. Engage them through educational activities, arts and crafts, books, cooking, and community events. Through these experiences, children can develop a deeper understanding of the struggles faced by enslaved individuals and the ongoing fight for freedom and equality. By embracing Juneteenth, we empower our young learners to become informed, compassionate citizens who celebrate diversity and advocate for social justice.
Happy Learning! And Happy Juneteenth!