Presidents’ Day isn’t just a day to enjoy a long weekend or snag up some sales at your local businesses. When the holiday first started, it had a deeper meaning.
When George Washington died in 1799, people took on the day of his birth to
unofficially remember him. February 22nd to be exact. The day only became a
federal holiday in 1879 for the District of Columbia and expanded to the whole
country in 1885.
In the late 1960’s, Congress suggest the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. A change like that would move the day of celebration to a Monday so it could create a three-day weekend and increase retail sales. A date change like this meant that the country could also honor Abraham Lincoln, whose birthday fell on February 12th, on the same day. That way both men would be recognized.
The name was never officially changed to Presidents’ day, but it was forever altered from a celebration for Washington to a celebration for all who took their seat in office in general.
Even though the law took effect in 1971 almost half of the states have changed the name to Presidents' Day. Some places, though, like Illinois, Iowa, New York, and Virginia still recognize it as George Washington Day (Or similar versions).
As a federal holiday, many banks and schools are closed on Presidents’ Day. Most schools spend the days leading up to Presidents’ Day teaching the students about the accomplishments of the presidents. Many people use the day off for staging celebrations and reenactments.
With the day approaching, we’ve compiled a short list of things you can do with the kids on Presidents’ Day.
1.Build an Edible Log Cabin: Abraham Lincoln was famous for being born in
a log cabin. Create your own log cabin using peanut butter to stick pretzels
2.Make (Or buy) a Teddy Bear: The loveable teddy bear was created after
President Teddy Roosevelt refused to shoot a small cub on a hunting trip.
3.Clean Coins: It’s simple, yet fun experiment. Fill different cups with dish
soap, vinegar and salt, saltwater, and tap water. Soak the coins for three
hours. Dump the liquid and compare how clean the pennies are.
4.“If I Was the President...”: Have the kids brainstorm a list of things they
would do if they were president. Including what they would change to/in the
White House if they lived there.
5.Measure Up: Each president came in different heights and sizes. Ask the
kids who tall they think each president is. With a measuring tape so them
how tall they actually were by using a wall for visual representation.
Fact: Madison was the shortest president. Abraham was the tallest.