Just like it is never too early to start reading to your babies and kids, it’s never too early to educate them on and celebrate Black History Month. Black History Month begins every year on February 1st and is a celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their critical and amazing contributions to our nation. With the current need for greater racial equality and inclusion, Mama Llama believes it’s important for kids to be educated on and exposed to diversity at a young age. Black History Month poses a great opportunity to get young children involved in the conversation and the movement for change. Keep reading for how to celebrate Black History Month as a family.
Give Back as a Family
A great way to celebrate Black History Month is to volunteer or donate as a family. Not only does this teach the importance of giving back at a young age, it also opens up plenty of opportunity for candid converations about inequality and privilege. If your kids are bookworms, they’ll love contributing via Leap for Literacy. Leap for Literacy is a non-profit youth development organization in greater Atlanta where kids can earn books in exchange for acts of kindness while developing their reading and writing skills so that they grow up to be kind, well-read, accomplished adults. In honor of Black History Month, Leap for Literacy is featuring all black authors.
If you and your family aren’t able to donate your time volunteering, you can donate funds as a family to national organizations. Organizations to consider include Black Lives Matter, Center for Policing Equity, Equal Justice Initiative or the Urban Leadership Foundation of Colorado.
Read a Book About Black History
A key aspect of celebrating Black History Month is to educate not only yourself, but your children and family as a whole. A great way to do this is to read a book about Black History as a family. There are plenty of children’s books that celebrate Black History in ways that children can understand and digest. Here are some Mama Llama suggests:
- Little Legends: Exceptional Men in Black History
- Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History
- Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad
- Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
- A Child’s Introduction to African American History: The Experiences, People, and Events That Shaped Our Country
- Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom
- Show Way
- Carter Reads the Newspaper
In addition to books related to Black History, you can also use this as an opportunity to dive into anti-racist books with your kids. Here’s a great list of books on this topic from parents.com: anti-racist children’s books.
Watch a Movie or Series Together
We don’t promote excessive screentime for young kids, but we’ll make an exception for a series/movie or two about Black History in February. Here are some great series about Black culture to watch one or two nights a week as a family:
Cook a Meal Together
There is nothing like bonding over a good meal, right? Get into the Black History Month spirit by getting into the kitchen and cooking a traditional meal from a predominantly Black country. Some nations to turn to for traditional dishes are Jamaica, South Africa, Nigeria, or Haiti. To take it a step further, you can pull out a map and discuss where each of the dishes originate while understanding the history of the areas. Again, all about educating your family and having fun while doing it!
In order to create change in regards to inequality and racism, it’s important to start conversations with kids early on. Change is first created at home by what we teach our kids and how they learn to treat others. These ideas above on how to celebrate Black History Month as a family are only a start – there is way more work to do – but it is a great way to create conversation and educate early on about the importance of diversity, inclusion and overall equality.