Tuesday, February 6, 2018

5 Simple Ways to Celebrate Black History Month With Your Young-ish Kids

My kids are Black 24/7/365.  Yours are, too.

So now that we've addressed that, let's chat about Black History Month.

Yes, we celebrate it.  

Consider this:  I love my children every day, all day, but on their birthday, it's an opportunity to take it up several notches and go all-out for that child.   I look at BHM as the same:  we work year-round to affirm and educate our children, but February is an invitation to step it up, to re-energize, and to re-commit. 

If you're a busy family like we are, you may not have much time (or money), but you can certainly still celebrate.  Here are five simple ways:

1:  Create a playlist.

We have many favorite Black music artists in different genres.  To us, it's important that our kids know that they can enjoy music of whatever genre pleases them, so we point out Black artists in that genre.  Now when a song comes on, my kids ask, if they don't already know, "Is the person who sings this brown?"   For some variety of genre, we enjoy listening to Darius Rucker, Kane Brown, and Mickey Guyton (country), Nat King Cole and Ella Fitzgerald (jazz), Mandisa and Jamie Grace (Christian).   Enjoy your playlist throughout the month AND in the months to follow.  

2:  Volunteer.

Ask your library (whether it be your town's library or school's library) if you can set up a Black History Month display in the children's and adult's department.  Work on the project as a family.  You can also volunteer to read a few books commemorating Black History Month to your child's class.  Teachers generally love parents helping in the classroom AND giving the teacher a break. 

My second daughter looking for the perfect book at EyeSeeMe. 

3:  Donate.

Donate copies of your favorite books to your child's classroom, to your local library, or to your pediatrician's office waiting room.  You might also/instead of consider donating puzzles, dolls, action figures, board games, or art.  Brands that offer diverse products include EeBoo, Peaceable Kingdom, and Melissa and Doug.  You can also consider buying these multicultural markers, crayons, pre-cut bodies, pre-cut hands, and paper to your child's classroom.  

4:  Read and watch.

Make an effort this month to make ALL your bedtime story reads focused on Black history and/or Black protagonists.  For example, here are our favorite children's picture book starring Black girls.  I also list several favorites of ours here.

In our home, Friday nights are for pjs, popcorn, and movies!  Try showing a Black history, kid-friendly film each Friday night this month.  Or show a movie that stars a Black protagonist.   Think Akeelah and the Bee, the Doc McStuffins' episodes where Doc's family adopts a baby (!!!), Cinderella starring Brandy, Whitney Houston, and Whoopi Goldberg (it's SO good), Princess and the Frog.  There are endless possibilities!   Older kids may be intrigued by Selma, The Secret Life of Bees (oh how I love that book and movie!), or Hidden Figures.  There are many sports films that showcase race, including Remember the Titans and We are Marshall.

Tip:  choose books and movies based on your children's interests.  There are so many amazing resources available now!   Check my post on how to institute a family reading night.      

5:  Take a hometown tour.

We are fortunate to live so close to St. Louis.  Last year, we took our kids on a Black-owned business tour of the city.  We had dinner at Steve's Hotdogs, had a treat at Miss M's Candy Boutique, and purchased items from EyeSeeMe bookstore (where my children's books are sold!). St. Louis is currently featuring a Civil Rights exhibit (which is fabulous!), houses the infamous Sweetie Pie's soul food restaurant (we met Miss Robbie!), and offers a vegetarian-vegan bakery (walls covered in Black art which can be purchased) called Sweet Art.  We've also enjoyed both locations of Gulf Shores Restaurant.  On our next tour, we plan to check out Natalie's Cakes in Ferguson.  

You see?  It really is THAT simple.  A little effort can go a long way in affirming your children, learning more about Black history, and showing your children that they matter

And keep an eye on my Facebook, Twitter, and Insta:  I'm posting books daily that highlight important figures in the past and present.   

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