Black History Month is always an exciting time. I make an effort to celebrate black culture with my children throughout the year, but it’s always nice when October comes around and there’s an influx of things to do that bring attention to the beauty of black culture.
I’m an advocate for allowing children to learn through play and finding new ways to teach my children things through fun activities. Last year I thought about creating some Black History Month inspired activities but, for some reason, I just wasn’t motivated. This year, however, I was determined to put something together that would engage and educate my children at the same time.
I came up with three activities to help teach my boys, Micaiah, 4, and Ahaziah, 7, about black history. Ahaziah loves being creative but I wanted to push him a bit more with this, so part of his task involved doing some independent research on his own before starting the activity.
Each activity began with a small discussion before we got into the creative side of the activity.
Activity 1 – Learning about Dr Mae Jemison
This was a very simple arts and crafts activity where we created rocket ships while having a guided discussion about Dr Mae Jemison and her role as the first African-American woman to go to space.
Micaiah loved this activity and was very proud of his work. He even took it to nursery to show his teachers! He carefully coloured in the lines and enjoyed sticking the stars on the background. Ahaziah had a lot of fun with this activity, too, and even said it was his favourite. He enjoyed the colouring, sticking, gluing and using a range of materials. I was very impressed at how it all came together.
Activity 2 – Learning about Mary Seacole
I put together a role play set up to help the boys learn about Mary Seacole. I chose to do an activity around Mary Seacole for nostalgic reasons; at secondary school I was in Mary Seacole house! Her legacy will always live within me. In addition, my boys are half Jamaican so I thought they would be able to identify with her.
I used bits from my first aid kit including bandages, plasters, syringes and disposable gloves. I also used flashcards with pictures and sentences about Mary Seacole as visual aids to help with the learning. The purpose of this activity was to explore being a nurse and stepping into the shoes of Mary Seacole, talking about some of the things she would have had to do to make people feel better.
We used a Clarkes Closet doll in our role play, and Micaiah showed me how to administer medication while I taught him how to apply a bandage.
Activity 3 – Weaving
For the final activity, I wanted to experiment creating Kente cloth but it was too complicated so we stuck with creating African inspired prints and doing some paper weaving.
We completed this activity as a family, with their Dad getting involved, too, and we all really enjoyed it. We played African drumming music to set the mood, which Ahaziah loved, and sat around the table creating our prints.
Surprisingly, Micaiah really enjoyed this activity. He usually has zero patience for activities like this and is often the first to say “Can I go now”! For him to take time creating and weaving the sheets, I didn’t expect him to do more than one! He took his time, though, and really concentrated on the task. This was a brilliant activity for him to use his fine motor skills and hand-eye co-ordination.
This activity was great for family bonding and I was really happy with how it all came out.
There are so many ways to explore different aspects of Black History Month through play. Have you tried any Black History Month activities? What have you tried? Let me know!
Follow Nahdia’s adventures on Instagram @Nahdz_Adventures
Words by Nahdia Blake.
Edited by Casey Elisha.