As most kids celebrate a day off from school Feb. 17, the nation will mark Presidents’ Day.
While Presidents’ may not seem like the ideal day to host a party, it’s actually a great way to spend family time together and reinforce what they are learning in school.
Here are some ways to mark the holiday with kids, from serving patriotic food to playing president-themed games.
Don some detective hats and trench coats and make a game out of discovering things about presidents that aren’t necessarily covered in kids’ history books.
Debi Lilly, a party planner and owner of A Perfect Event, which serves Northwest Indiana and Chicago, said finding interesting facts about former presidents brings them to life.
“Kids love doing research, so start by making a list of the presidents, as long or short as you like, and find out fun facts about each,” she said. “From George Washington to Barack Obama, where is he from? What was his first job? What is his favorite food? Favorite sport? Kids can design their questions around their personal interests, making it more fun and interesting.
Decorate the house
Design a party around the presidents by decorating the table with photos in frames, or even paper maps with their hometowns and cities where they began their careers.
“Draw family portraits with their children and dogs,” Lilly said. “These details become busy craft parties, and decorate the table at the same time.”
Get creative by using just a few fun items as well from around the house.
“Add colorful red, white and blue ribbon wrapped onto pillar candles for pretty lighting on the table,” she said.
Have kids fill round rose bowl vases with water and add red, white and blue flowers, Lilly said.
Prepare festive food
Plan menus for that day’s meals based on a president’s favorite foods and drinks.
“Write them onto paper, then cut into the shape of your round glass plates,” Lilly said. “Set underneath for a custom presidential menu plate design.”
Red, white and blue sodas make the perfect drinks, and don’t forget to use any red, white and blue dishes to accent the party’s patriotic theme, Lilly said.
“Make mini parfaits with red, white and blue – raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and vanilla yogurt or frozen yogurt — are the perfect presidential day dessert,” she said.
Plan games based on what the presidents loved to do and play outside the office, Lilly said. For instance, if a president enjoyed playing cards, set up Go Fish tournaments throughout the day.
The White House Historical Association also suggests having kids write in their diaries for the day as if they were a first kid. They can write about the first day they moved in to the White House, or their favorite heroes that came to the White House to visit.
Older children may enjoy designing their own White House – adding their own personal touches based on what they enjoy doing.
At PBS.org, kids have the opportunity to print their own campaign posters, and usmint.gov has several games kids can enjoy online.
For more information on activities, go to whitehousehistory.org.