February is a jam-packed month for teachers, to say the least. You have National Children's Dental Health Month, American Heart Month which may coincide with Valentine's Day and of course, Black History Month. Not to mention, you may also be one of the lucky ones to have winter break. Now, it may be easy to come up with activities for young children in observance of the three former but what about the latter? Finding age appropriate activities to celebrate Black History Month can be daunting.
However, it is not impossible. all you have to do is pick out a person you would like to focus on and go from there. For example, take Lorna Simpson, photographer and artist. She presented her photos in black and white format along with words. One way you could do this with children is to have them search through magazines and cut out just faces or any part of the face. They then paste onto paper to create a face collage.
Another African American artist you could study with children is Romare Bearden. He is also a collage artist who's work is well known. Children can again cut out pictures from magazines and assemble into whatever design of their choosing.
How about a game of Red Light, Green Light? Well, African American inventor Garrett Morgan is credited with the modern version and patent for the traffic light. It may require some research but it is totally doable. Tweaking the activities to fit the dynamic of your children will be necessary. Another way to celebrate or recognize African Americans who have played a huge role in history is to visit Newark Museum or your local Newark Library branch (i.e., Newark Main Branch will be having a discussion on Black Issues in 2013 this Wednesday @ 5pm). Often times they have great programs and exhibits to educate children and families. If knowledge is key, then exposure is the door that you unlock to a world of possibilities.