Dive deeper into Black History Month with family activities

red, orange, green stipes with words over black rectangle: Celebrat Black History
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Have you ever watched a movie that was adapted from a book and thought, “Oh my goodness! The book was SO much better. I can’t believe they left that part out!”

I do it all the time. I leave the theater (or more often, get up from the couch) feeling indignant. The book had so much richness, so many important details – and the movie just ignored it. They’re leaving out so much!

Sometimes, I get the same feeling about Black History Month (BHM). African Americans in our country have given so much, made so many contributions – and yet, we often focus on such a small piece of history.

We’re leaving out so much!

This February, I challenge you to go deeper. 28 days certainly isn’t long enough to become an expert, but it is long enough to learn more about one thing. Or event. Or person. Here are a few activities that you can do with your family to dive deeper into Black History Month.

  • Read a book. Check out a book written by a black author at your local library and read it as a family. Your local librarians will have great suggestions for any age!
  • Practice your creative writing skills. Use this special Spark Sheet to explore BHM through creative writing prompts – or have younger children draw pictures.
  • Cook a meal with your family. Explore traditional dishes from black and African American cultures. Research the origins and different recipes or cooking methods. Then, decide on your favorites and whip them up in the kitchen! Ask for cookbooks or other resources at your local library, use this menu from University of Washington as a jumping off point, or look for recipes from U.S. Peace Corps Volunteers in Africa or the Caribbean.
  • Visit a National Park site. America’s national parks don’t just exist to preserve natural resources, but cultural ones as well. They do an amazing job of celebrating local history and heritage. Visit NPS.gov to explore the many African American Heritage sites. Can’t take a vacation? Many of the sites have tons of information and even virtual tours right on their websites. Plus, there’s a page dedicated to BHM!
  • Don’t stop with February! Celebrate black history throughout the year. You can do these activities any time. Maybe your family will commit to doing one a month to help create special memories and bonds with your kids while raising them to love, accept, and appreciate everyone.

 Find more ways to celebrate Black history Month at the Our Illinois 4-H Story blog.

MEET THE AUTHOR  

Emily Schoenfelder joined the Illinois 4-H team in 2017. Prior to this, she began her work in positive youth development with California 4-H and the YMCA. She specializes in STEM engagement, social-emotional development, and educator professional development.  

She received a Master of Science degree in recreation, park, and tourism administration from Western Illinois University.    

 When she is not writing curriculum or facilitating a training, you may find Emily sitting on the floor of her office, building marshmallow catapults out of popsicle sticks or designing mazes for robots for her next STEM program.  

 ABOUT THE BLOG  

Connection Corner is a blog that provides timely information, activities, and resources to help you stay connected to loved ones, the world around you, and yourself.