Use this Black History Month Theme to celebrate with your preschoolers. February is Black History Month. Your children will learn much, as will you, about the accomplishments of so many African-Americans.
As I researched the people for this page, I was inspired at how just a little encouragement from adults in their lives, the people on this page made changes that impacted the world around them.
This Black History Month Theme for Preschool includes preschool lesson plans, activities and Interest Learning Center ideas for your Preschool Classroom!
Black History Month was established in 1926. There is an international component, however, it is mainly an American holiday.
In 1926, Dr. Carter Godwin Woodson and other African American and white scholars, launched "Negro History Week" so that Americans could reflect on the history and contributions of African Americans.
In the 1970s, the celebration of African American history was expanded to include the entire month of February. (Source:kidsactivities.net )
You can either scroll down through this page to see all of the preschool activities for your Black History Month theme or click the name of the person below to go to specific preschool activity types you are looking for.
Inventors: Recycling creations
An inventor is one who creates something new with materials. Provide your children with items you don't use or don't use often such as recycled boxes, containers, miscellaneous arts & crafts supples and some glue.
Just let them create!
Easel Idea-Skin Shading Colors
Provide Black, brown, red and white paint. The children will find that they can create any skin shade using these colors.
Science/Discovery Area Idea: Invention Display
Display items that the inventors you are covering have invented such as golf tees, eye exam items, ironing board, etc.
I am Rosa Parks (Ordinary People Change World) by Brad Meltzer
I Am Rosa Parks (Penguin Young Readers, L4) by Puffin Young Readers
Book Suggestions for the Library
My favorite resource for this Black HIstory Month Theme can be found here!
Mr. Banneker has, by far, been the most fascinating black inventor to research. He invented many things including the first clock and the first Farmers' Almanac!
He was fascinated with a watch he was given as a child. He took that watch apart and put it back together over and over again, learning about every single piece that made it work. He took that knowledge and decided to create a large watch-a clock! It took him 2 years but he created it. This first clock invented by him kept PERFECT time for 30 years!
His family had experience in growing crops and farming. Later in his own life, he put that knowledge to work. He decided to grow crops to help feed the American troops during the Revolutionary War. During this time of crop growing, he became fascinated with Astronomy. Someone gave him a book. He read this book and anything else he could find on astronomy and developed what would be the first almanac. This almanac predicted weather patterns and such.
Still later in life, he was on the team which mapped out the Federal Territory purchase! The original member of the team who mapped out the territory left the team and with it took the blueprints everyone worked so hard on. Mr. Banneker had such an amazing memory, he was able to recreate these blueprints FROM MEMORY!
I am not even sure what activities to put here as so many could be used!
Provide the children with old clocks, VCRs and other items. Under supervision, let them take them apart to see how they work. Then, let them (with an adult's help) hot glue the pieces back together to create something new!
Grow plants starting with seed and chart their growth via journals, pictures and drawings.
Use any of my weather related themes activities to learn more about weather patterns!
The Eye Doctor
Dr. Patricia Bath was the first African American to receive a patent for a medical invention! She invented the machine that allows cataracts to be treated. It is called the Laserphaco Probe.
Turn your dramatic play area into an eye doctor's office. Have the children help you to create some eye charts using letters and colors. Provide eye glass frames (no lenses in them) for the children to wear.
Provide white jackets for doctors, clipboards a couple of chairs, a table (for a desk) and other items you can think of!
I also LOVE the print-out mask this blogger made for this theme!
Sarah Boone invented the ironing board and George Sampson invented the clothes dryer.
Set up a laundry center by providing a toy washer and dryer (one make them out of boxes), toy ironing board and iron (or a table and rectangle unit block will work!), towels and clothing, empty laundry detergent bottles, etc.
Shaving cream was invented from a food base by George Washington Carver. Mr. Carver is well known for his inventions from peanuts, which is why he is refered to as "The Peanut Man". However, with all the peanut allergies, we avoid any peanut based activities.
Here is some interesting information for you: Mr Carver also invented the following items form various food products: Adhesives, bleach, buttermilk, instant coffee and shaving cream!
Band Aid Art
Ask parents for donations of adhesive band aids! Provide them with some large paper at your art table and let the children have at them!
Shaving Cream Fun
Materials needed: Shaving Cream and a large space!
Add paint as desired for an awesome effect!
More Shaving Cream Fun
Mr. Carver, as stated above, also invented adhesives. Adhesives make things sticky! Let's make our shaving cream sticky!
Mix equal amounts of shaving cream and white school glue. If you want to color it, add paint or food coloring to the shaving cream and mix. THEN add to the glue.
Place the concoction in bowls and let the children paint on paper with it.
It dries hard and somewhat shiny!
In your Math Center, provide different colors and shapes of adhesive bandaids. Laminate them first. The children can sort, create patterns and more!
George Grant was the inventor of the golf tee.
Golf Ball Painting
This is like marble painting. Place paper in a shallow box or bin. Have the children drop spoonfuls of paint on the paper (I like to water the paint down a bit so the balls do not get stuck in the paint). Place one or two golf balls in the paint and then shake to the left, shake to the right!
Provide a Children's Golf Setfor the children to use outside or indoors in a large space!
Golf Tee Math
Place plastic golf tees into styrofoam blocks. Provide pom poms and plastic tweezers. The children place the pom poms on the tees as they count them.
Golf Tee Sorting
The children sort colored golf tees into muffin tins. You can program each section of the tins by color or by number!
Mr Johnson is the inventor of the super soaker! I know, right?? Now, you may not be able to use these at your preschool (check with your director first). But if you can, go outside and have a blast.
Provide targets for children to work on their eye/hand coordination.
Put colored water in them and hang large, white bed sheets outside to decorate. When dry, use the sheets as tablecloths or fort covers!
If you can NOT use these in your program-- might I suggest a very, very, very, very fun outdoor staff meeting? ;)There are so many Supersoakers yet so little time!
Jan Mateliger was the inventor of many items which he did NOT receive credit for. He lacked the funds and the ability to speak English to do so. However, he took classes, learned English and patented the "shoe laster". This is a device which attached the soles of shoes to the top parts, a task that had to be done by hand by cobblers prior to his invention.
Because of this invention, it became possible for everyday people to afford shoes!
Have the children put their shoes in a pile. Match up the children in pairs. Each child runs to the pile, finds their partner's shoes and helps them to put them on. Their partner then runs to the pile and does the same.
Using old (donated) pairs of shoes, have the children press the shoes into paint and then onto paper to make collages.
Materials needed: 1/2 gallon cardboard milk or juice cartons, glue, scissors, miscellaneous arts and crafts supplies.
You could have each child make a pair (if you can collect this many) or have each child make one shoe and when they are dry, place them in your dramatic play center for them to wear!
Cut open a hold in the long side of the carton large enough for a child to fit their foot in.
The children glue on miscellaneous arts and crafts items (buttons, string, fabric, etc.)
Set up a shoe store in your dramatic play area! Include boxes, bags, a toy cash register and play money as well!
Have the children trace their shoe onto sturdy tag board paper and cut out the shape.
Help them (if help is needed) to punch holes around the edge.
Provide laces for the children to practice lacing.
Mr. McCoy was a mechanical engineer and a foreman. When working on trains, coal needed to be added to the engines to keep it going. The wheels of the train got so hot that the trains had to stop so that the engineers could lubricate the wheels. Mr McCoy invented the lubricating cup. This cup added oil where needed as needed rather than having to stop the train to lubricate the axles and bearings on the train!
Fun Fact: Where did the phrase "The REAL McCoy come from?
So many inventors tried to copy McCoy's lubricating cup. However, when companies used them, they were disappointed with the product and began insisting on "the REAL McCoy"--meaning Mr. Elijah McCoys lubricating cup!
Oil and Water
Oil and water do not mix! Give the children cups of water, pipettes and vegetable oil. As they drop the oil into the cups of water, they will not only be working on their fine motor skills but also seeing that oil and water do not mix!
Have the children help you to make these! They add water about 1/2 full and then some food coloring.
Then add either baby oil or vegetable oil. Cover bottles and seal.
The children can shake them to mix the water and oil and then watch as the oil and water separate!
Mr. Morgan invented the traffic light!
Art: Traffic Lights
Materials needed: red, yellow, green and orange or black paper, scissors, glue sticks
Have the children cut out large rectangles out of orange or black paper for the traffic light.
Have the children cut or tear red, yellow and green paper and glue in the appropriate area on the traffic lights.
Blocks: Directing Traffic
Provide toy cars, toy traffic lights and a car mat or black paper and white crayons for the children to make roads with. These are investments that will be enjoyed for years to come in your classroom. Click the pictures below to read more about my favorite items for the block area!
Gross Motor: Red Light, Green Light
Teach the children how to play this game! Use a visual aid: A traffic light! Hold up a red light for them to stop, yellow to walk slow and green to GO!
Circle Time is such a great time for children to learn the social skills of being together as a large group AND to learn more about your theme!
Explain to the children what segregation was (separating people by the color of their skin). Then decide how you will separate the children during Circle Time by attribute such as by boy or girl.
Show them what segregation is by having all children with blonde hair stand on one side and brown or black hair on another side; or by eye color; or by who is wearing shoes and who is wearing sneakers.Read I Am Rosa Parks (Penguin Young Readers, L4) by Puffin Young Readers. Discuss with the children. Participate in the I Am Rosa Parks Writing Activity below.
Writing Activitiy: I Am Rosa Parks
After reading the book, display the book at the writing center. Provide markers or colored pencils and paper. Encourage the children to draw a picture about the story.
While they are drawing, ask them to tell you about the story and their picture. Write down what they say to attach to their picture.
Bill "Bojangle" Robinson shook the entertainment world. Do you remember his duet dance with Shirley Temple in The Little Colonel? It was awesome!
Here are some of the accomplishments under his belt:
You should read up on Mr. Robinson. The list goes on and on!
Materials needed: Different sized washers and yarn (not string).
Place a long length of yarn through a washer.
Tie the yarn to the top of the children's shoes keeping the washer at the bottom of the shoe.
Each size makes a different sound and is pretty cool!
We tried using CD's but they were too slippery and didn't make the cool sounds the washers did!
You can use these to teach rhythm, count taps and just free dance!
Provide large, baseball-shaped papers with the word "Dodgers" on it and bingo daubbers.This would be a great followup to reading the book Young Jackie Robinson - Pbk (Troll First-Start Biography).
More Baseball Ideas
For more baseball ideas, read through my Sports Theme for baseball themed ideas you can use to discuss Mr. Robinson!
Introduce the children to Sarah "Madame" C. J. Walker, the inventor of the pressing comb.
Dramatic Play: Hair Salon
Make your dramatic play area into a hair salon by providing combs, brushes, dolls with hair, chairs, foam curlers, play hair dryers (or old ones with the cords cut off), spray bottles with water, empty shampoo bottles.
Water Table: Shampoo Time!
Baby dolls (with hair if you have them!), water, tear free shampoo, towels
The children learn to shampoo the dolls head/hair and dry them off.
For dolls with hair, the children can deliver them to the Dramatic Play Hair Salon when done shampooing.
Mr. Woods invented the Telegraphony. It was a combination of the telegraph AND voice machine. It allowed people to use the same wire to send telegrams and messages on trains!
Can You Hear Me Now?
Provide paper cups and string or yard.
Tie off knots to the ends of 3 foot lengths of yard. Place the knots into the bottoms of 2 paper cups.
One child places the open part of the cup to their ear. Another child places the cup over their mouth.
If the cups are pulled so the yarn is tight, one child will hear the other child when he/she talks or sings into the cup!