The U.S. recognizes many holidays each month, which can be a bit tough to keep up with. But holidays are learning opportunities for your preschool-age child. February has a variety of holidays that are ideal to celebrate with preschoolers and that can be used to teach your child about everything from love to diversity. Enrich your child's life through reading, arts, crafts and other activities pertaining to these holidays.
Celebrate Valentine's Day with your preschooler by learning about all things love. Read Valentine-themed books for preschoolers, such as "My Biggest Valentine Ever," by Steven Kroll, about two mice children who aim to make the biggest valentine possible. Invite your child's preschool friends over for a Valentine's party. The children can make small valentine cards for each other and exchange them. Bring them into the kitchen to bake heart-shaped cookies, allowing them to use the cookie cutters. Talking to the kids helps them learn what love means, such as being kind to others, listening to your parents and helping your friends.
Talk to your little one about who the president is and what it means to be a leader. Books can help your child learn about presidents Washington and Lincoln, who are celebrated on President's Day. For example, the preschool-friendly book "Presidents' Day" by Anne Rockwell is about two children who learn about Washington and Lincoln by representing them in school. You can also teach your child about how we vote for presidents. Invite your child's friends over to have a mock cookie election. You can bake sugar cookies and chocolate chip cookies and have the kids vote for their favorite flavor. Set up a mini voting booth. You can also have one child who is passionate about each kind of cookie stand up and give a "speech" on why he loves that particular type of cookie. Another idea is to play a game where the children have to sort pennies and quarters that bear Lincoln and Washington's faces, respectively, from other coins.
Black History Month
Talk to your child about famous African-American leaders, such as Martin Luther King. Preschool books can help children understand the basics of the civil rights movement and King's contributions. For example, "My First Biography: Martin Luther King Jr.," by Marion Dane Bauer, is an excellent introduction for preschoolers to King's life. Explaining about King's dream can lead into your preschooler drawing a picture of a dream of her own, such as what she wants to be in the future. You can also talk to your child about famous black inventors, such as Garret A. Morgan, who contributed to the modern traffic light. Your child and her friends can play "Red Light, Green Light" to represent this notable inventor.
Groundhog Day is an ideal opportunity to teach your preschooler more about the weather. Explain the groundhog shadow legend to your child. Read related, age appropriate books such as "Gretchen Groundhog, It's Your Day!" by Abby Levine, which is about a little groundhog who must continue her family's tradition of forecasting the weather. Make a groundhog out of a toilet paper roll by attaching construction paper arms, legs and a little groundhog face to the roll. Place it outside in the early morning and have your child track the movement of the shadow throughout the day. You can use chalk to mark the size and location of the shadow to make observations. If the groundhog predicted winter for six more weeks, help your child create a winter theme shoe box diorama, or a spring one if spring was predicted.