America's Kids Day
"Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," "Four score and seven years ago," "I have a dream," and "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself"—these are some of the most noteworthy phrases in American history. When did we first hear them and learn about what they meant? Chances are it was at a young age. America's Kids Day is dedicated to helping American kids recognize their heritage and the importance of words just like these, and for teaching them about American history and values. It was started by Judith Natale of National Children & Family Awareness Of America*USA, in the late 1990s, as part of Children's Awareness Month.
How to Observe
Children should celebrate the day by learning about the history and values of the United States, and adults can celebrate by helping them do so. People are an important part of what makes America what it is, and political leaders such as the Founding Fathers and presidents helped shape the United States greatly. Children could learn about leaders such as Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and George Washington. Those who fought for justice, such as César Chávez, Martin Luther King Jr., and Rosa Parks, are another important group of people that children could learn about. Other Americans, such as Amelia Earhart and the Apollo astronauts, explored new frontiers and could be studied as well.
Important documents form the foundation of the country and describe its ideals. Children could learn about the Declaration of Independence, as well as the Constitution, which includes the Bill of Rights. They could also learn about other rights such as voting, and about responsibilities such as serving on a jury or paying taxes. Our country also has important symbols which children could learn more about today, such as the Statue of Liberty, the bald eagle, and the flag. Important words are also recited and sung throughout the land, and children could learn more about some of them, such as the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem.
Taking trips, both locally and around the country, will do much to teach children about America. A simple trip to the fire department or post office will help teach a young child about their community. Larger trips could be taken, where the nation's memorials or monuments, museums, or National Parks could be explored.
It's not always possible to take a trip, though, so reading is important, and it is the way many young people get interested in their country's history and heritage. Besides nonfiction history books, many children get interested in the subject of their country by reading graphic novels and historical fiction books. Watching films and documentaries is another way for children to learn about their country.