March is Women's History Month! The month-long celebration of trailblazing women in history started as Women's History Week in March of 1980, centered around International Women's Day on March 8. As the National Women's History Project notes, 14 states had already declared March Women's History Month by 1986, and in 1987, Congress officially made it national. This month is a great time to explore the important contributions women have made to American society with your child. Here are some fun activities you can do together.
Learn About (and From) Rosie the Riveter
Get inspired by Rosie the Riveter. Photo Source: Flickr/Tom Hilton
As the National Education Association notes, the theme of Women's History Month for 2017 is "Honoring Trailblazing Women in Labor and Business." And which figure better symbolizes women breaking into the labor movement than Rosie the Riveter? Did you know that Rosie has her own song? It was written in 1942 by Redd Evans and John Jacob Loeb and instantly became a hit. Play the song with your child (chances are she'll love the "riveter noises" part!), and then talk with her about what Rosie symbolized for women entering the workforce for the first time. Then take Rosie's "We Can Do It!" motto to heart and get involved yourself — do your own part for your community! There are volunteer activities you can do with your child at any age, so try something new and give back to your community. You can do it!
Be Inspired by Women Artists
Read the poetry of the legendary Maya Angelou together — and then try writing your own! Photo Source: Flickr/Jason Lander
How do you begin to introduce your child to the accomplishments women have made in the arts? Michelle Philips, freelance writer and professional nanny, suggests in her blog Kindred to read renowned poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou's poetry together. Her poem "Life Doesn't Frighten Me" is full of fun rhymes and an empowering message that little ones will love. Then you can make a game of brainstorming rhyming words with your younger ones or work together on writing your own poem with kids who are a little older.
Check Out a Local Museum
A museum can give your child hands-on experience with the past. Photo Source: Flickr/Jan Fidler
Museums in your area are bound to have stories and work by and about trailblazing women, whether it's a history museum, art museum, science museum, or even a local museum about your town's past. Don't live anywhere near a major city with museums? No problem! Plan a trip to your local library and check out some resources on important women in your town's history. Was there a suffragette rally right in your neighborhood, or did a local woman invent something really cool? You might be surprised at what you discover. Plenty of museums and libraries will also be offering special speakers and events for Women's History Month, so make sure to call or go online before you schedule your trip.
Celebrate Women in STEM
Is your child the next Katherine Johnson or Sally Ride? Photo Source: Flickr/woodleywonderworks
At NASA, women have been behind some of the biggest advancements in STEM fields for decades. Explore pioneering women of NASA with your child, like Sally Ride, who broke the gender barrier when she became the first woman in space in 1983, and Katherine Johnson, a mathematician who calculated the trajectories of Alan Shepard and John Glenn (and is now profiled in the film Hidden Figures). Then head over to NASA's Aspire to Inspire site to see what groundbreaking research the women of NASA are doing today. What would your child want to do if she could go into space? What would she explore and study? Your budding scientist can get started right away! It's never too early to learn how to code, and free apps like the Tufts University- and MIT-developed Scratch Jr. teach the basics of coding to children as young as five.
Discover Your Own History
Create a scrapbook of family memories. Photo Source: Flickr/lafleur
Every family has their own amazing women worthy of celebrating! Plan a breakfast with your child and the women in your family (grandma, aunts, cousins, anyone in the area) where everyone can share their stories. Your child can learn first-hand what it was like when her grandmother was her age, and how it was different from you were growing up, and what life is like for her today. Have everyone bring a special memory to share and create a scrapbook of all the stories. The book will be a way to honor all the special women in your family for years to come.
Featured Photo Source: Flickr/Tom Hilton