Are you thinking about how to celebrate Black History Month with kids?
Great! Your kids will enjoy learning more about their country’s history and African-Americans’ great contributions.
You’re wrong if you’re thinking that it’ll be difficult to teach Black history to kids.
Will there be moments of discomfort and difficult questions with hard answers? Sure.
But kids are resilient and thoughtful, and knowing the truth will do nothing but make them more empathetic humans.
Black History is Our History
Not only that, consider the fact that Ruby Bridges was only six-years-old when she walked into William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans, Louisiana, escorted by both her parents and U.S. Marshals.
I remember when my daughter was six.
She was sensitive and could still be babylike at times.
As a first grader, she loved having playdates with her friends, playing with dolls, and having dance parties.
That’s what my child was doing when she was the same age that Ruby was when she endured racist taunts and physical threats just for going to school.
I say all of that to say, if Ruby Bridges could go through all of that, the least we could do is talk to our children about racism, Jim Crow laws, and segregation.
That’s not all, though!
When you’re looking at how you’ll be celebrating Black History with kids in your family, remember the key word is celebrate.
There is so much joy and love and light that is a part of Black history.
From their influence in food and music to the great inventions and scientific contributions, Black history is rich and goes deep.
Free Black History Word Search Printables
Before I share the tips on celebrating Black history with kids, here are some free Black history coloring pages and printables you can download.
Just head over to BlackHistorySpark.com and you can get 4 coloring sheets and 15 Free Black History Word Search and Resource Pages!
If you’d prefer a printed copy mailed to you for under six dollars, it’s available on Amazon for less than six bucks.
Celebrating Black History with Kids
Back to celebrating Black history with kids.
How do you engage kids in learning about Black history?
How do you introduce kids to Black history?
1. Use books to teach kids about Black history.
The most obvious and accessible way to teach Black kids about Black history is through books.
There is no shortage of books about the topic for all age groups.
Make sure to pick books that are age appropriate.
A 1st grader won’t get much out of “The Autobiography of Malcolm X”, regardless of how iconic it is.
2. Watch movies.
Another easy way to teach kids about Black history is through movies.
Remember, the Black experience isn’t just about struggle, either.
Some films that you might enjoy are Hidden Figures, The Proud Family Movie, and Akeelah and the Bee.
3. Go to places far—and near.
You likely have an area in your city that has or has had a high volume of Black-owned businesses and restaurants.
So many places have African-American museums that you can visit to learn more about your local Black history.
Start at home to learn more about Black history.
4. Talk to people.
Look for opportunities to learn directly from people who have lived Black history experiences.
That might be taking a class or attending workshops at the library with your kids.
There are also some fantastic Black history class options for kids of all ages on Outschool.
5. Don’t be afraid to have conversations.
Talk to your kids, y’all.
That’s one of the best ways to find out what they already know, and what they need more clarification on.
If you’re not sure what to say, check out this script that will help you to know exactly how to start the conversation.
Keep It Real
First, we have to be careful not to romanticize American history, the legacy of Ruby Bridges, Rosa Parks, or any of the other African-Americans who sacrificed their safety, well-being, and in some cases, their lives, for equality.
We can’t ever erase the fact that this is the country in which adults threw trash and yelled at a 6-year-old who was walking into a school.
However, we also have to remember to keep things at a level that kids can understand and show the full picture.
Black history is colorful. It’s full of sorrow but also filled with jubilant moments.
If you’re intentional about trying to teach your kids (and learn yourself) this, then there is hope for our future, yet!