Posts Tagged “Abraham Lincoln”

Celebrating Presidents’ Day Weekend: Easy Crafts For Kids

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Our best Presidents’ Day Activities & Crafts for a long family weekend.


Like us, I bet you are looking forward to a long weekend… but perhaps a long weekend in February feels too long if your little ones tend to bore easily. Presidents’ Day Weekend activities can feel “forced” and like an extension of school if piled on.  But no worries we compiled a list of super simple, crafty ways to keep the focus on our Presidents in a family-fun manner.

Wow, there are so many awesome children’s book resources available. Here are a few of our absolute favorites with silly facts that make learning about history fun for the whole family:
Celebrating President’s Day: What Is a President? by Kimberly Jordano
The President’s Stuck in the Bathtub: Poems About the Presidents by Susan Katz
First Grade US History: The First President by Baby Professor
Kids Meet the Presidents by Paul Rodhe
Wackiest White House Pets by Gibbs Davis
A Hall Of Heroes e-book by Home of Heroes
What Presidents Are Made Of by Hanoch Piven
If the Walls Could Talk: Family Life at the White House by Jane O’Connor


Get crafty with these super simple, super fun projects:
Presidents’ Day Cookies by Party Pinching
Presidential Paint Stick Timeline by Deceptively Educational
Presidents’ Day Cubes via Primary Inspiration
Presidents’ Day Mini Book from Ready-Set-Read
George Washington Portrait by A Cupcake for the Teacher
Another George Washington Portrait by The First Grade Parade
Portrait of a President (Abe) by Kindergarten Nana
Abraham Lincoln’s Hat creative writing project by A Cupcake For the Teacher

Pinterest has a wealth of inspiration and ideas… here are some of our favorites for Presidents’ Day:
Presidents’ Day Word Search
Abe Paper Plate Mask
Presidents’ Day Poem
Washington Portrait with creative writing
Log Cabin Craft
American Symbols Project


Other resources:
Washington or Lincoln crossword puzzle (
Presidents’ Day worksheet pack (free) by 123
The Presidents Song by Isaac and Kirsten to remember all 44 presidents (see below)
Lincoln virtual gallery tour, learn about his family, residence and interests

For even more fabulous Presidents’ Day activity ideas, check out our featured post on It Is A Keeper and our previous Presidents’ Day Article. And soon our website ( will have an entire featured section on discovering our Founding Fathers and the Presidents of our history.

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150th Anniversary of Gettysburg

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Guest post by Mark Spalding

With the festivities of the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg almost upon us, I felt it would be a great time to let you know a little more about the place and time that shaped who we are as a country today.

I’ve been going to Gettysburg off and on since I was a teenager some twenty years ago. Our boy scout troop would make an almost annual trip to the park to hike the “North” and “South” trails of this sprawling National Park and I absolutely loved it. It was hands down my favorite place to hike around and explore. To see Devil’s Den, Little Round Top, The Wheat Field and of course the site of Pickett’s Charge is an emotional thing to behld (even for a 12 year old boy).

It’s difficult know what it was like to be a soldier in those times. What it was like to march over a mile of completely open ground, shoulder to shoulder with your brothers in arms, moving at a parade pace with cannon fire bursting in every direction, bullets whizzing by your head and decimating your friends and comrades, only to finally be able to cut loose and run at the enemy with less than a hundred yards separating you and them. But you may at least have an understanding if you are there, walking that same stretch of land yourself. Gettysburg is like a full access pass to history!

Gettysburg 150th Anniversary, Gettysburg Address, LincolnMuch is made of the battle itself (over 51,000 casualties, more than the entire Revolutionary War and any other battle fought by U.S. soldiers until the Vietnam War), but it is what happened after the battle which solidified a nation. Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address is the gold standard that all other American oratory is compared to. This is in large part due to the eloquence of his words ( a svelte 268), but also the circumstances in which they were spoken. While fighting an unpopular war, mired in a debate with his enemies and his allies alike about the need to emancipate slaves and mourning the death of his young son, Lincoln managed to put into words what it means to be American. His words, spoken at the dedication of the Soldier’s National Cemetery in Gettysburg four months after the battle ended, galvanized a weary north and gave them the strength to persevere through 2 more years of bloody combat.  Gettysburg 150th Anniversay, Lincoln, Gettysburg Address

As with many great events, it was the little things that made the difference at Gettysburg. Here are just a few quick points about the battle which turned the tide of the war;

  • General Robert E. Lee’s right hand man, “Stonewall” Jackson, died in May, shortly before the battle at Gettysburg. His Corps (pronounced “Core”) was split in two and given to A.P. Hill & Richard Ewell. On the first day of battle, the Rebel army could have easily overtaken the Union lines and had the high ground at the north end of the battlefield for the coming days, but miscommunication between the new commanders and General Lee stopped the advance. This allowed the Union forces to be reinforced and entrench overnight and is considered by many scholars to be a critical and costly mistake by the south.

  • On the second day, a small Maine regiment, led by Joshua Chamberlain, held off an advance by a much larger Rebel force on Little Round Top that would have flanked the Union line and given the South the high ground at the south end of the battlefield. They did it without any bullets in their guns! Note: To see how this happened, a good resource is the “Gettysburg” movie (1994).

  • On the third day, Pickett’s Charge did accomplish one thing. For the span of a few seconds, the Southern army was at the furthest point north that it had ever gone in the war. After this battle they would never venture further into the north than they had that day.

    Gettysburg battlefield, 150th anniversary Gettysburg, Civil War

    Gettysburg Battlefield

    Gettysburg Battlefield, 150th anniversary Gettysburg, Civil War

I could go on for pages about this subject, but I don’t want to cause too many TLDRs. 🙂 If you’re interested in knowing more about the Battle of Gettysburg or the Civil War in general, let me know in the comments. There are thousands of resources and ways to get information,  including our Homeroom At Home website section on the Civil War.

Gettysburg BattlefieldMy most recent trip last fall provided my family and I the opportunity to visit all the museums and venture out into the battlefields via double-decker tour bus.  Thanks to the Gettysburg Tours, Inc. and Gettysburg Group Reservations, we had plans that suited each of us in our party. Gettysburg Battlefield, Civil War Gettysburg Group Reservations helped us (a family of four, not a school trip) with our destination needs and can provide the same assistance to your family, highlighting the hot spots or giving tips for traveling with young children, special needs members or older folks.  Gettysburg 150th anniversary, Civil War, Battlefield Tour Our day started with a Battlefield Bus Tour and was perfect for laying the foundation of the land and battle.  We made stops at the Hall of Presidents & First Ladies, the Jennie Wade House Museum and Ghostly Images Legends & Showroom (an indoor ghost experience vs the ghost walking tours) all booked through Gettysburg Tours, Inc.

Civil War, Battlefield of Gettysburg

On the Gettysburg Battlefield Tour

Gettysburg Battlefield, Civil War, 150th Anniversary GettysburgThe other highlights of our trip included the Gettysburg Diorama & History Center and the Lincoln Train Museum with a simulator train ride.  Please visit as an additional resource to plan your visit to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.

Gettysburg 150th Anniversary, Civil War, Battle of GettysburgGettysburg 150 Anniversary, Civil War, Battle of GettysburgGettysburg Battle, Civil WarDisclosure:  Thank you to  Gettysburg Tours Inc. for providing a media pass to several of the mentioned attractions.  We were not compensated for this post and as always the opinions expressed here are strictly ours.
Gettysburg 150th Anniversary, Battle of Gettysburg

Soldiers National Museum, Gettysburg, PA

Battle of Gettysburg, Civil War

Hall of Presidents & First Ladies

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Celebrating Presidents' Day Weekend With Fun Facts

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Entertain your youngsters this Presidents’ Day weekend with some trivia-filled fun. Kids love pets, so what better way to help them relate to our current and former Commander in Chiefs, than to expose them to some of the adorable (and in some case most unexpected) pets of the White House. Here are six crazy tales of White House animal dominance:

1. Theodore Roosevelt’s son and daughter had a liking for snakes. His daughter would carry her snake “Emily Spinach” in her purse during formal parties. One day Miss Emily Spinach got into a rather large spat with the other snakes in the Oval Office. What a sight!
2. After Abraham Lincoln was gifted a live turkey for a Thanksgiving Feast, his son befriended the feathered creature and the family kept it as a pet.
3. John Quincy Adams had a two-month long visiting pet alligator that resided in the East Room of the White House. More than a few wandering guests were greeted by this toothy visitors.
4. With having over 40 pets, it is no surprise that the Roosevelt family made our list twice. In an attempt to cheer a sick sibling, the Roosevelt brothers sneaked in a pet pony through the White House mirrored elevator, only to find that the beloved pony fell in love with his own reflection. It took quite a doing to pull him out of the elevator.
5. Rebecca, Calvin Coolidge’s pet raccoon had free roam for the White House and in fact found a hobby in unscrewing light bulbs. She was another intended Thanksgiving meal whose fate was forever changed.
6. Former President Thomas Jefferson was gifted two grizzly bear cubs by explorers Lewis and Clark. Jefferson built them an outdoor cage and often walked them around the White House garden. He also had a favorite mockingbird “Dicky” who was free to fly about the President’s office.

For more stories on the wildest and funniest pets that have roamed the White House, be sure to check out Wackiest White House Pets by Gibbs Davis. The examples above came from this delightful book. Learn stories about mice, Zsa Zsa the trumpet playing rabbit, Billy the opossum, goats, cows and of course lots of Presidential cats and dogs.

Yes, it’s true that a lot of kids are super picky eaters – but that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t enjoy learning of our Presidents’ favorite bites. Take Franklin Roosevelt for instance – his all time favorite was Grilled Cheese – what kids couldn’t relate to that? Not to mention his love for scrambled eggs and hot dogs. For more White House favorites check out this Food & Wine article: “Presidential Food Obsessions“. Before you go… guess which former President enjoyed ketchup and cottage cheese – oh yum!

Silliness is an excellent learning tool. So I wanted to include another favorite book on Presidents – that definitely appeals to the school-aged group. What Presidents Are Made Of by Hanoch Piven is a personal favorite of mine with amazing illustrations. It’s kinda part puzzle, part abstract art whereby the pictures are portrait compilations of everyday items. Take a look below – I love this book. Each President is featured with a title, a portrait and then just enough wording to briefly summarize. It’s a fun, quick read to keep learning light and easy.

Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are strictly mine. I was not compensated in any way for this post or material.

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