To help make your Presidents Day more fun and engaging, I’m sharing some favorite learning activities that young students have loved over the years. They should help make prepping for Presidents Day a little easier!
George Washington & Abraham Lincoln Activities
We usually start off our Presidents Day unit by discussing George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. I like to show their birthdays on our calendar and point out that they are both in the month of February. I then explain that Presidents Day is a celebration of these 2 great presidents during their birthday month.
To help my young students understand the order of the presidents and when they served, I introduce George Washington first and then Abraham Lincoln. Then, we do fun sorting activities to help distinguish between the two.
I love introducing the presidents to the children using books. Here are my 2 favorites.My Little Golden Book About George Washington
This updated version of the classic Little Golden Books I loved as a kid uses cute illustrations and simple text to tell about George Washington’s life and how he became our first president. It is an easy read and even talks about how he liked to fish and ride horses as well as his accomplishments and life. A perfect introduction to George Washington for young students.My Little Golden Book About Abraham Lincoln
Similar to the George Washington Little Golden Book, this book uses simple text and cute illustrations to explain the life of Abraham Lincoln in a way that young students can understand.
To help students review and organize the facts they learned about each president in a creative and fun way, I use these fill-in-the-blank flipbooks.
I use 2 differentiated versions with my littles, an easier version that has the answers provided for students to trace and one that requires students to write the missing words on their own.
After students fill-in-the-blanks, they create their flipbooks.
The fun poems, coin rubbings, and crafts on each of these craftivity pages help students retain the information about each president better while showing their creativity.
Learning historical facts can sometimes be a little hard for young students, so I wanted to come up with a way to present them that would be engaging and motivating.
I decided to combine reading comprehension with a mystery puzzle reveal! Since young students need informational text read to them, I made digital Boom Cards. For me, they are the easiest way to add audio to text with interactive activities, plus they are self-checking!
Students listen to facts about George Washington and Abraham Lincoln and then answer self-checking reading comprehension questions to earn pieces of the mystery presidential puzzle.
The picture reveal keeps them motivated and interested in learning plus it’s just plain fun! We do each one together as a class first, and then students can do them independently in centers since they have audio and are self-checking.
When they answer all of the questions correctly and earn all of the puzzle pieces, they hear a congratulatory message and fireworks!
After spending several days learning about George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, we do fun sorting activities that help students organize and retrieve the information about each president.
We do a pocket chart sorting activity as a whole group first.
Then, we use these sorting mats during small groups and center time.
After learning about George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, we then discuss what it is like to be president, what the president does, and the requirements to become president.
This is one of the best books I have found for introducing young students to the presidency.P Is for President
This book does an excellent job of explaining all the basics of becoming and being president in a way that is perfect for young students.
After reading about what it takes to be president, I reinforce the requirements of becoming president with a fun student-made mini-book.
We read each page and students get to do something different for each one:
1.Students write their names on the line after the word “by” on the title page.
2.Students write the number 35 on the birthday cake.
3.Students draw a baby in the crib.
4.Students trace the number “14” on the map. Optional: Students can color the state on the map in which they live.
They then cut the pages apart and staple them together to create their own mini-book.
We also play this fun card game that helps students visually learn and remember the 3 requirements for being president.
The game is for 2-4 players.
The object of the game is to get all 3 qualifications for being president (a birthday cake card, crib card, and USA map card).
The cards are shuffled and placed in a pile face down in the center of the playing area.
Students take turns picking a card from the pile. They all keep the first card they choose. From then on, if they choose a card they already have, they place it on the bottom of the pile (they do not keep it). If they choose a card they do not already have, they keep it. The first one to get all 3 requirements to be president is the winner.
To give students a little taste of what it might be like to be in charge and be president, I do a “class president for a day” activity where they have to make a lot of important decisions throughout the day that affect the rest of the class.
Each child is assigned a day to be class president. When they are president they get to assign all the class jobs for the day, choose the snack, select the books we read and the songs we sing, choose the center activities, center rotation schedule, and brain breaks we use that day, and dismiss tables of students to get their coats at the end of the day.
After everyone has had a turn, we discuss what it was like to be in charge of the “big decisions” in the classroom, how their decisions affected their fellow classmates, and whether or not they would want to be president of an entire country. It is pretty eye-opening for them!!