Teaching children about Presidents Day

Teaching children about Presidents Day

Presidents Day is a United States federal holiday celebrated on the third Monday of February in honor of George Washington, the first President of the United States of America. But how many citizens know details about this holiday? Or is a day off the only thing they have in mind?

Historical facts about Presidents Day

Presidents Day, originally called Washington’s Day, was first implemented in 1880 for government offices in District of Columbia (where Washington D.C. is located), and expanded later to all federal offices. It was first celebrated exactly on Washington’s actual birthday, February 22nd.
The first attempt to create a Presidents Day, meaning a holiday to honor the office of Presidency and not any particular President, occurred in 1950s. The proximity to Lincoln’s birthday on February 12, and March 4th, the original inauguration day, pushed the authorities to rename this holiday and give to this federal holiday a more expanded meaning. In 1971, the holiday was shifted to the third Monday of February, which actually never falls on the 22nd (third Monday places it between 15 and 21). So the name of Washington’s Day would be no longer accurate.

Observance of Presidents Day

During Presidents Day every federal office and many corporate businesses remain closed. Nevertheless this holiday became well-known for being a day on which many stores hold sales. Being off this day people not only benefit from having mid-winter long weekend, but also they have opportunity to shop. Many sellers, again, take advantage of it and, like on Black Friday, offer great deals and discounts to catch customers and make more sales.

What about passing the tradition to children?

But what about the tradition? What about the fact that this is an important historical day? Do people realize how important George Washington was? Do they really feel like honoring any of the presidents, or all they know is complaining? In order to raise responsible and respective citizens, you should explain to your children how important the president’s office is, and have them celebrate this day and honor the president’s office every day. You can sensitize them by:

  • decorating the house with flags and patriotic symbols
  • talking to them about these symbols
  • having them draw a picture of the president
  • initiating a discussion by asking them various questions, like what activities they think presidents do every day or what they would do if they were a president?
  • showing the children coins and bills with portraits of presidents. Maybe even have them collect such coins and bills
  • asking children to choose their favorite president and have them explained why they’ve chosen this particular president
  • having them write a letter to the president to express their appreciation and opinion about current event or issue

The bottom line of this exercise is to have fun with children and bond with them while teaching them about this important subject in a very accessible way, so in the future they don’t get discouraged, and they associate it with a positive spirit.

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