|Preschool Black History Theme
Activities for Teachers of Young Children
childhood education Black history activities and lesson plans for teachers
of preschool children. You'll find action rhymes, songs, art and crafts,
a game, a skit and even a rap song in this theme that enhances curriculum
and celebrates the contributions of African-Americans.
Preschool Black History Activities
Black History: Jackie Robinson
The Friendship Theme
is in the Rainbow Resource Room.
Black History Month: Sarah "Madame C.J." Walker
We incorporatedmath into this fun activity. The children had to pay to have their doll's hair done. In the water play area, a small amount of tear-free shampoo was placed in the water and the children had an opportunity to shampoo the dolls' hair.
Description: This is a song but it could be learned as a poem. It was written by a former preschool teacher, Esther Yost, of Ann Arbor,Mi., about 15 years ago:
Comments: I think that it's important that unity is stressed throughout the year. We usually learn this song for Dr. King's birthday celebration, but the children (along with their parent's) enjoy it so much, we continue to sing it.I have a dream, said Martin Luther King
Board: Martin Luther King, Jr.
Materials: Camera, film and a picture of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Description: For this bulletin board you will need to photograph a few children at a time. To do this where in each picture the children will be at the same distance, place a piece of masking tape on the floor for the children to stand on, then another piece for the teacher to kneel on. Have children hold hands and children on the ends to pretend they are holding another friends' hand.
After taking pictures of all children and having them developed (re sized if you'd like them bigger) attach the picture of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the middle of the board. Trim around the children in the picture but do not separate them. With the children whose picture is on the end, attach them to another child who is also on the end for the appearance that this is one large photo.
Write the words, "I have a dream today...that one day...little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today."
Comments: I don't
talk to the children about "black and white" children but tell
youngsters that Dr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. wanted peace and harmony for everyone. I
say "all children will become friends". I do not want to have
children with friends of different ethnicities to focus on color since
they have not at this point.
for Martin Luther King Day
Description: Ask children to color a picture of Martin Luther King. Then have children draw a big picture of a cloud on the construction paper. Next, cut the cloud out and glue cotton balls all over it. Then cut out the picture of Martin Luther King. After that use the hold puncher to punch two holes at the bottom of the cloud and two holes at the top of the Martin Luther King picture.
Next, cut a small
piece of yarn to tie the cloud to the picture of Martin Luther
King then, using a small piece of white construction paper cut into a
rectangle, write I HAVE A DREAM on it and glue it inside of the
cloud. Encourage children to talk about what Dr. Martin Luther King's
dream means to them.
Materials: Construction paper, pencil, children's hands, glue and scissors.
Description: Decorate your room with children's hand prints side by side. Children can trace their hands onto construction paper using black, white, red, yellow and brown paper to represent various skin tones found across our nation. Cut them out. Now, glue them together in a chain as long as you like. They can outline a door, bulletin board or make a cute swag for your window.
Explain to your children that each hand reminds us that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. joined hands with people of all colors when he marched for freedom.
idea is to make chain links in the same colors as above using
the same idea to
discuss people of all colors.
Luther King Celebration Quilt
Materials: Construction paper and pens, markers, or crayons and yarn.
Description: For a
quilt, cut squares out of paper. Ask each child to draw a picture of themselves and ask
them what they want to be when they grow up. Write what they say below the
picture. Then put all the squares together and tie them with yarn. Use
blank colors to make a border and fillers. Title the
quilt, "What I want To Be When I Grow Up".
Luther King Day
Materials: A story about Martin Luther King for preschoolers, writing papers that have a place for drawing and crayons.
Description: Teachers read a story
the civil rights leader's life and his dream to the class. Discuss the
"dream" that Dr. King had and ask the children, "What dream would you
to see happen?" Have the children draw pictures depicting their dream
then children dictate their dream story which the teacher writes on the
bottom of the paper. Teachers can do this as a whole class activity on
large writing paper.
Luther King, Jr. Day
Materials: Signs with rules that will be enforced in each classroom area.
Description: This is an activity that I read about in a magazine a few years ago. It works great! Hang signs or post signs in each center with a picture of, for example, sneakers with a circle around it and a slash through it. This means that for the next hour, no one with sneakers on may play in that center. Use your imagination, you can do girls, boys, long hair, short hair etc.
Martin Luther King, "Friendship"
Materials: Poster board cut in fourths, markers or crayons and yarn to make necklaces for friendship signs.
Description: I teach Head Start and we celebrate lots of cultural and ethnic holidays. We also continue to develop ways that our parents can get involved with their children and the Head Start program. I send home a piece of cardboard and a letter telling parents to talk with their child about friendship. I ask parents to tell their children that all of us are different and that is O.K.
Parents use the cardboard to help their child make a friendship poster and then the child brings the poster to class. In class, we attach the yarn and hang the posters on the children and we walk around to each classroom and sing a friendship song in honor of Dr. king's birthday. This gives the children a sense of what Dr. King did in his peaceful marches and his love for his fellow man. The following is the song we sing:
The Friendship Theme is in the Rainbow Resource Room.Friends, Friends, 1,2,3,
"We discussed Martin Luther King, jr. and talked about how he dreamed of a world where people didn't fight and hate people because their skin was different. Then we looked in mirrors at ourselves and each other. We also talked about what quilts are, blankets or covers that are made of little pieces.
At art time each child drew a picture and dictated what they dream of becoming. Some examples were, "I want to work with animals", "I want to cook the food", "I dream of being a friend" etc. Then we placed each individual picture on a large piece of bulletin board paper with a border around the edge and titled it "Our Dream Quilt".
Activity: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
"For black history one activity we do that the children love is to read the story Martin Luther King, jr. and then they make a bubble map using descriptive words from the story. The children are given a doll of Martin Luther King, that they color and cut out. Then we pre-cut white index cards to look like clouds and they are given four. The children place their doll in the middle of a sheet of paper and use yarn to connect the descriptive clouds to Martin Luther King, jr.
Materials: A little imagination and a computer to design a peace prize.
Description: Teach young children about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., winner of the Nobel Peace prize and about the importance of getting along with others by talking about peaceful conflict resolution. Set up a peace table where children can gather to settle a dispute. Provide all children with a 'peace prize' certificate at week's end.
Comments: Of course, anti bias and responsible conflict resolution should be evident in our classrooms 365 days a year.
Center Activity Ideas
Comments: We set up
center time with a book from the magazine spotlighting some
of the inventions and
then explain each center and the African-American connection. The children
love the centers and my director thinks they are great!
History Skit: The Underground Railroad
Materials: Some type of printed cloth, a belt and a book about Harriet Tub man.
Description: Teachers talk with children about how children who were slaves spent their day such as; cooking, cleaning and working in the field. Then talk about how the children in the classroom spend their day such as; in school playing and at home watching television etc.
Next, read the book
Follow The Drinking Gourd which is
The book explains how slaves followed the North Star to freedom. So one child becomes Harriet Tubman, another child becomes the master and 2 children become conductors. The rest of the children are slaves.
The master orders the slaves around and says he will beat them if they do not listen. The children pretend to work until the master goes to sleep and at night Harriet comes by to help them escape slavery. The children follow her instructions to be quiet and stay low. Traveling by night, we pretend to be going through the woods. When we get to the safe house Harriet asks is it safe to stop here and the children respond, "Yes". We then go into the safe house to hide for the day and wait until the night so that we can begin traveling again.
The master wakes up and tries to find the children who are slaves. When he knocks on the door and says, "Have you seen my slaves?", the conductors say, "No". Then it's night again and we repeat the action as Harriet points to the North Star to show that we are on the right track. The next stop on the Underground Railroad is freedom. We make our way to the floor rug and jump for joy because we made it to freedom.
this activity / skit put puppets in a dramatic play area and the
children can act out the story with the puppets.
Activity: A Peanut Butter Snack
You will need:
Preschool children can shell the peanuts and help measure the ingredients. Place all of the ingredients in the blender and turn on at a low speed until the peanut butter is smooth. Place the peanut butter in small bowls so children can use plastic knives to spread it on crackers for snack.
Pre-k children may enjoy singing the following traditional song while making their peanut butter.
Peanut ButterThere is an entire Food and Nutrition Theme in the Rainbow Resource Room.
Materials: Raw peanuts from the health food store, plastic baggies, paper towels and water.
Description: Plant a peanut in a baggie by having each child put one or two raw peanuts (go to a health food store for these) in the baggie along with a damp paper towel. Seal the baggie and observe how peanuts grow.
historical information, a cooking activity and a song related to
Carver later in this theme.
Making A Traffic Light
Materials: Graham crackers, peanut butter, and red, yellow, and green M&Ms.
Description: After we discuss the invention of the traffic light, we make a traffic light out of one half of a Graham cracker. Spread on peanut butter and place the M&M's in the correct color pattern. LOTS more activities about Traffic Lights and other inventions can be found as you continue viewing this page!
You will need:
Teachers, explain to pre-k children that when a person has an idea to make something that no other person has ever made we call that person an inventor. And, when the person creates a "new" device or thing that he / she thought of, we call what the person created an "invention".
Next, show preschool children a familiar object such as a safety pin (and a few other interesting objects). Tell them that once there were no safety pins, then a person, an inventor, thought of one and made it (invention). Then talk about the inventor Granville T. Woods and his inventions. Ask youngsters to think of an invention they would like to create. Remind them that it should be something "new" that other people could use. Give children plenty of time to brainstorm ideas. Some children may want to work alone, while others may want to work in teams.
When pre-k children have completed their projects (they may need more than one day) encourage them to tell the class about their inventions by asking, "How can we use your invention? What art and craft materials did you use to create it?"
Finally, place the inventions on
in the classroom for parents and visitors to see. Include a child
dictated description of his or her item.
Benjamin Banneker (1731-1806)If possible, show pictures of the Black inventors you discuss. Talk with young children about important African American figures in American history. Try using,
by Wade Hudson and Valerie Wilson Wesley.
Granville T. Woods Rap SongArt and Crafts: Traffic Lights
During this early childhood education lesson plan children will use observation, problem solving, and creative skills to create traffic light mobiles.
You will need:
Teachers, first talk with preschool children about inventions (see the lesson on "Inventors and Inventions"). Explain that the traffic light was invented by Garrett Morgan who also invented the Gas Inhaler. Ask, "Why do we need traffic lights?" Talk about safety with children.
Next take a neighborhood walk and help young children notice or count how many traffic lights they see. When you return to the classroom provide children with the materials and ask them to construct their own traffic lights.
Using the black poster paint, children paint the milk cartons or shoe boxes. After the paint dries, children glue on the red, green and yellow circles. Finally, attach the string or yarn.After the traffic lights are completed encourage youngsters to find places in their classroom or play yard where they might place their traffic lights.
Block Area - directing traffic during dramatic play,Transportation Activity Plans are in the Rainbow Resource Room .
Stop Lights: Flannel Board Activity
Materials: Flannel board, felt brown light, red, yellow, green circles.
Action Rhyme: Stop at the CornerTraffic lights
Stop at the corner (both hands raised)
Wait for the light.
Look to the left (turn head to one side)
Look to the right (turn head to other side)
If nothing is coming
Then start and walk (pick up legs as if walking)
Go straight across the street
Be careful and don't talk (Place finger at lips).
Game: Red Light, Green LightSafety Rhyme
During this early childhood game pre-k children recognize colors and gain experience starting and stopping an action on signal. Preschool children will march around the room as the teacher holds up a green circle (light). When the red circle (light) is held up this is the signal for all marching to stop - immediately. Youngsters who do not stop are out of the game.
As young children learn to start and stop marching on signal, children can hold up the circles adding a yellow circle for "slow". Then add the words "Red light, green light, 1, 2, 3.
Song: "See the Traffic Light"
for Parents & Teachers:
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