Presidents Day is coming! Help bring this holiday to life by giving kids a chance to connect to presidents past and present. Their ages and interests can guide your lessons on this holiday. Here’s where to start:
At this age, it’s about relating content to kids’ lives. Start by teaching who presidents are and what they do. Use a K/W/L chart to collect ideas about what your kids know and want to know. After teaching about presidents (try the book suggestions below), have kids share what they learned and add their thoughts to the “L” section of the chart.
Once kids become familiar with the role, get them to think about what they would do if they were presidents. Preschoolers can draw pictures while kindergartners can fill in the sentence frame “If I were president, I would ____.” First graders could take it a step further and write an informational essay!
Kids in second and third grade are ready to learn more about past presidents. Start with founding fathers like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Have children choose one president to research and use art — posters, collages, etc. — to share what they learned.
After talking about presidents of the United States, tell them that schools can have presidents. Ask kids to think about what they would do if they were their class’ president. Discuss campaigning and have kids write speeches explaining why they’re the best candidate for class president.
Fourth and fifth graders will likely have some background knowledge on presidents, so have them pick one to research. After learning about their president, kids can write a picture book to share what they’ve learned. Use the suggestions below to show what a book about presidents looks like.
Also consider discussing the election process and how candidates are chosen. Have kids think about how it works at a school level. Challenge kids to create two different plans for electing a school president. These plans can be expressed using flow charts and pictures.
No matter your kids’ ages, have fun learning about leadership as you celebrate President’s Day!
Ellie May on President’s Day by Hillary Homzie
President’s Day by Anne Rockwell
Our Country’s Presidents: A Complete Encyclopedia of the U.S. Presidency by Ann Bausum
I Am George Washington by Brad Meltzer
I Am Abraham Lincoln by Brad Meltzer
By Lily Jones, former kindergarten & first grade teacher, instructional coach, curriculum developer, and teacher trainer. Throughout everything she does, Lily hopes to make learning fun for both teachers and students.