February is Black History Month! What a great time to learn about and celebrate African Americans– present-day and historical. We have a month’s worth of engaging and educational Black History Month activities for kids of all ages.
Black History Activities Ideas
We have a great list of Black History Month books, activities, and games for you and your littles.
Let’s explore history and meet some people that you may not know. Kids will be inspired by these amazing figures in history.
Related: Download & print our Black History Month facts for kids
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Black History Activities For Preschoolers
1. Celebrate Garrett Morgan for Black History Month
Let’s play red light – green light! You might ask what the game Red Light, Green Light has to do with Black History Month, but it all makes complete sense when you meet Garrett Morgan. Garrett Morgan was an African-American inventor who patented the 3-position traffic signal.
- Read more: Read more about Garrett Morgan with this four book pack called the Garrett Morgan Activity Pack labeled for ages 4-6.
- Activities for younger kids: Play a game of red light, green light!
- Activities for older kids: Download, print & color our stop light coloring pages
- Arts & Crafts: Make a traffic light snack for kids
2. Celebrate Granville T. Woods for Black History Month
Let’s play telephone! What does a game of telephone have to do with Black History Month…you are catching on, right?! Meet Granville T. Woods. Granville Tailer Woods was the first African American mechanical and electrical engineer after the Civil War. Many called him “black Edison” because he held over 60 patents in the US many in the area of the telephone, telegraph and railroad. He was best known for a system created for the railroad to alert the engineer as to how close his train was to others.
- Read more: Read more about Granville T. Woods in the book, The Inventions of Granville Woods: The Railroad Telegraph System and the Third Rail
- Activities for younger kids: Play a game of telephone
- Activities for older kids: Learn more about the telegraph system & morse code at Little Bins for Little Hands
- Arts & Crafts: Be inspired by Granville T. Woods to invent your own thing. Start with our easy catapults you can make
3. Celebrate Elijah McCoy
Let’s meet Elijah McCoy! Elijah McCoy was born in Canada and was known for his 57 US patents which were concentrated on making the steam engine work better. He invented a lubrication system that allowed oil to be distributed evenly around the engine’s moving parts which decreased friction and allowed the engines to run longer, last longer and not overheat. Oh, and he is the one responsible for the common phrase, “The real McCoy”!
- Read more: Read more about Elijah McCoy in the book, All Aboard!: Elijah McCoy’s Steam Engine which is recommended for ages 5-8 years old. Or read the book, The Real McCoy, the Life of an African-American Inventor which has a reading level of 4-8 years with a Preschool – third grade learning level. Older kids may enjoy the biography, Elijah McCoy.
- Activities for younger kids: Take a virtual train ride together
- Activities for older kids: Make this cool copper battery train
- Arts & Crafts: Make this easy train craft from toilet paper rolls
Black History Activities for Older Kids – Elementary & Grade School
4. Celebrate Percy Lavon Julian for Black History Month
Next let’s meet Percy Lavon Julian. He was an American research chemist that figured out how to synthesize important medicine ingredients from plants. His work completely changed pharmaceuticals and how doctors are able to treat patients.
- Read more: Read more about Percy Julian in the book, Great Black Heroes: Five Brilliant Scientists which is a level 4 Scholastic reader labeled with a reading age of 4-8 years. Older kids may enjoy another book that features Percy Julian’s story, Black Stars: African American Inventors which has a recommended reading age above the age of 10 year old.
- Activities for younger kids: Print these cool chemistry coloring pages
- Activities for older kids: Have fun with this pH experiment that turns into cool art
- Arts & Crafts: Make these cool color spray t-shirts which combine chemistry and art
5. Celebrate Dr. Patricia Bath
Then let’s meet Patricia Bath! Dr. Patricia Bath was the first African American to complete a residency in ophthalmology and the first African American female doctor to receive a medical patent! She invented a medical device that helped in the treatment of cataracts.
- Read more: Read more about Dr. Patricia Bath in the book, The Doctor with an Eye for Eyes: The Story of Dr. Patricia Bath which is labeled as a reading level of 5-10 years and a learning level of grades Kindergarten through 5th grade. For more information, check out the book, Patricia’s Vision: The Doctor Who Saved Sight which has a reading level of 5 years and up and a learning level of Kindergarten through second grade.
- Activities for younger kids: Use these doctor printables including an eye chart to play Dr. Patricia Bath at home.
- Activities for older kids: Fold this blinking eye origami and learn more about eye anatomy.
Books that Celebrate Black History for Kids
- We love this list of 15 Children’s Books via Family Education
- Check out our list of best books to teach about diversity
- Don’t miss these Black History Month Books and Interviews with Their Authors! via Reading Rockets
6. Explore Coretta Scott King Award Winners & Honor Books
The Coretta Scott King awards are given to African American authors and illustrators for “outstandingly inspirational and educational contribution. The books promote understanding and appreciation of the culture of all peoples and their contribution to the realization of the American dream.”
- See all the Coretta Scott King Award books here
- Read R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul – reading age 4-8 years old, learning level: preschool to grade 3
- Read Magnificent Homespun Brown – reading age 6-8 years, learning level: grades 1-7
- Read Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks – reading age 6-9 years, learning level: grades 1-4
- Read Me & Mama – reading age 4-8 years, learning level: preschool, kindergarten and grades 1-3
7. Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. for Black History Month
Let’s introduce kids to Martin Luther King, Jr. in his own words. Watching MLK speeches can let kids experience his powerful words, voice and message without filter. The playlist embedded below has 29 of Martin Luther King, Jr’s most prominent speeches and sermons:
- Read more: Start with our free printable Martin Luther King Jr facts for kids sheets. For the youngest kids, check out the board book, Who was Martin Luther King, Jr.?. For kids 4-8 a teachers’ choice award winning book from National Geographic is Martin Luther King, Jr.. I love this book that comes with a CD and gorgeous illustrations called, I Have a Dream. Don’t miss Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for ages 5-8 years old.
- Activities for younger kids: Put Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous words into a hands on diversity experiment for kids
- Activities for older kids: Download, print & color Martin Luther King Jr coloring pages
- More Martin Luther King activities for kids
- Arts & Crafts: Learn how to draw Martin Luther King, Jr with this simple tutorial from Art Projects for Kids.
9. Celebrate Rosa Parks for Black History Month
Rosa Parks is also known as the First Lady of Civil Rights for her courageous act on a Montgomery bus. The more kids learn about Rosa Parks, the more they will realize how one person and one action can change the world.
- Read more: Kids 3-11 years old will be engaged in learning more with the book, Rosa Parks: A Kid’s Book About Standing Up for What’s Right. National Geographic’s Rosa Parks is great for grades K-3rd grade. Ages 7-10 years old are the perfect reading age for the book, Who is Rosa Parks?
- Activities for younger kids: Make a zig zag bus book in honor of Rosa Parks from Nurture Store.
- Activities for older kids: Download & print our Rosa Parks facts for kids and then use them as coloring pages.
- Arts & Crafts: Make Rosa Parks pop art from Jenny Knappenberger
10. Celebrate Harriet Tubman for Black History Month
Harriet Tubman is one of the most amazing people in history. She was born into slavery and eventually escaped, but she didn’t stop there. Harriet returned on 13 missions to rescue other slaves and was one of the most influential “conductors” on the underground railroad.
- Read more: Younger kids ages 2-5 years old will love this Little Golden book, Harriet Tubman. Who was Harriet Tubman? is a great story for kids 7-10 years old to read on their own or together. This level 2 reader is Harriet Tubman: Freedom Fighter and is full of page turning facts perfect for ages 4-8 years old.
- Activities for younger kids: Download, print & color our Harriet Tubman facts for kids pages
- Activities for older kids: Check out this complete lesson with activities that explore the life of Harriet Tubman found here.
- Arts & Crafts: Make you own lantern craft for Black History month from Happy Toddler Play Time.
28 Days of Black History Month Activities for Kids
Have Fun with these 28 Days of Crafts. via Creative Child: <–Click here for all the craft instructions!
- Make a stop light craft inspired by Garrett Morgan.
- Dream like Martin Luther King Jr.
- Make an astronaut craft to be just like Dr. Mae Jemison.
- Make an inspirational poster: Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., President Obama and Rita Dove.
- Quilt a Black History Month quilt.
- Try this colorful MLK activity – part art project, part activity!
- Make a Jackie Robinson craft paper craft.
- Create posters for African American Inventors.
- Read the book, Play, Louis, Play about the childhood of Louis Armstrong & then make jazz art.
- Get involved with the Black History Pop-Up book.
- Make a square for a freedom quilt.
- Craft a dove of peace.
- Craft a square of an underground railroad quilt.
- Make a Quote of the Day board for inspiration.
- Write a Rosa Parks story.
- Rocket craft celebrating Mae Jemison.
- Read The Story of Ruby Bridges and then create an inspired craft and story.
- Make a Black History Month mailbox for historic figures to appear each day!
- Create Black History Month inspired art.
- Make a peanut craft inspired by George Washington Carver.
- Be inspired by Alma Thomas and create Expressionist art.
- Make tap shoes in honor of Bill “Bojangle” Robinson.
- Make a traffic light snack inspired by Garrett Morgan.
- Give Peace a Hand with a crafty idea.
- Make a box of crayons craft.
- Craft a paper chain.
- Learn more about Thurgood Marshall with this foldable learning activity.
- Dove of Peace.
Black History Month Kids FAQs
Black History Month is a time for reflection on how far society has come since the Civil Rights movement and the work that still needs to be done. Black History Month is important for recognizing the diversity of African American culture, its many contributions to society, and for raising awareness of ongoing racism and discrimination faced by African Americans. It is an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of individuals in spite of a history of oppression. Black History Month serves to empower the Black community and inspire future generations.
Learning Resources: Black History Month For Kids
- Check Out These Great Ideas for How to Teach Your Child About Black History Month. via PBS Kids
- Amazing Black History Month Lessons and Resources. via National Education Association
- Fun and Educational Black History Month Printables! via Education
- Play This Find The Inventor Game. via Maryland Families Engage
- Check out Netflix’s Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices
- Sesame Street teaches about diversity
- I love this black history month craft idea from Happy Toddler Play Time!
MORE FUN ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS
What are your favorite Black History Month activities for kids? Let us know in the comments!