Learning History Through Presidents’ Day

By Sylvan Learning

Timely topics
Mt. Rushmore Presidents' Day Celebration

Presidents’ Day is celebrated on the third Monday in February and is a time when we honor all those who have held the highest political office in the United States, past and present. It’ also a great time to teach your child about history and some of the nation’s greatest leaders!

Here are some fun facts to share with kids about the Presidents’ Day holiday:

  • Presidents’ Day was established in 1885 in honor of George Washington, whose birthday fell on February 22nd.
  • Originally falling on Washington’s actual birth date each year, Presidents’ Day was moved to the third Monday in February as a part of the 1971 Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which was established to create more three-day weekends for workers.
  • According to the federal government, the holiday’s official name is still “Washington’s Birthday.”
  • On February 22nd each year, Washington’s farewell address is still read in the United States Senate.

Presidents’ Day is also a time for kids to learn about some of the great leaders of our country. See if kids have heard any of these interesting facts about two of the presidents that we honor on this day, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln:

  • George Washington:
    • Was the first President of the United States and served from April 30, 1789 – March 4, 1797.
    • Is the only president in the nation’s history to have been unanimously elected by the Electoral College.
    • Established the two-term precedent for presidents after declining to serve a third term and retiring to his home in Virginia, called Mount Vernon.
    • Began school at age six but was left at age 15 to become a surveyor since his mother couldn’t afford to send him to college.
    • Never had children of his own. At age 26, Washington married Martha Dandridge Curtis, who already had two children.
  • Abraham Lincoln:
    • Was the 16th President of the United States and served from March 4, 1861 – April 15, 1885.
    • Led the country through the American Civil War.
    • Was largely self-educated and even taught himself law.
    • Is the only president to hold a patent. He created a device that would free steamboats if they ran aground.
    • Delivered one of the most famous presidential speeches, The Gettysburg Address, on November 19, 1863. It was less than two minutes long but had a lasting impact on history!

These are some activities that kids can take part in to learn more about our presidents:

How is your family celebrating Presidents’ Day? Tell us in the comments below!

Sources: History.com, MountVernon.org, Scholastic.com, ConstitutionCenter.org , Babble.com

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