Juneteenth for kids and Juneteenth activities for students: Freedom Day Juneteenth history explained with Juneteenth printable activities, emancipation lesson plans, book recommendations, activity sheets, including FREE Juneteenth flag coloring sheet printables.
LEARNING JUNETEENTH FOR KIDS
How do you explain Juneteenth to a child?
What is Juneteenth and why is it important?
Juneteenth, or June 19th, is an important day commemorating the end of enslaved people in the United States. It is celebrated on June 19th each year because that is the day that a general rode into Galveston, Texas to spread the word that the Civil War ended, slavery was over, and that enslaved people were free. It’s an important part of American History.
Is Juneteenth a national holiday?
On June 16, 2021, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a bill making Juneteenth a national holiday to be observed each year on June 19. The bill is awaiting House approval and to be signed into law by President Joe Biden after that.
Why is Juneteenth called Juneteenth?
So, why do they call it Juneteenth? Juneteenth is a combination of June and nineteenth, which is the day that a Union General announced the end of the Civil War to Texans and ensured that all enslaved people in the state be freed. Juneteenth is also called Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day, Emancipation Day, and America’s Second Independence Day.
Why we celebrate Juneteenth for kids?
Juneteenth commemorates the freedom of enslaved people in the United States and is an important part of U.S. history that should be covered with kids in studies and lessons. It’s important to include Juneteenth for kids in celebrations and education as a way to honor African American history, culture, and progress.
How do they celebrate Juneteenth for kids?
- Read about emancipation
- Participate in a Juneteenth celebration (search: Junteenth celebrations near me)
- Discuss the dark history of slavery in America and why the celebration of freedom is so important
- Review the Emancipation Proclamation
- Discuss racial inequalities that still exist today and what it will take to move past them
- Serve red foods to remember the blood shed and resilience of enslaved people
- Make collard greens to symbolize prosperity for descendants
- Take a virtual tour of National Museum of African American History Culture
- Watch a documentary on the Civil War
- Join a day of service organized by a local Black community
- As an ally, celebrate Juneteenth by listening to community leaders on what needs to be done in Black and Brown communities and help support the communities
- Play Juneteenth games
- Host a Juneteenth Jamboree or a Festival of Freedom and donate proceeds
- Attend a religious service honoring Freedom Day
- Host a cookout to honor Black culture
- Read children’s books and poems by Black authors
- Shop at local, Black-owned independent businesses with your kids
ALSO CHECK OUT:
- 37 Black History Month Activities for Kids
- Black Women In History Kids May Not Know (But Should Study!)
- Martin Luther King Jr Lessons and Activities for Kids
- 19 Harriet Tubman Lessons, Activities and Projects for Kids
Before we get to the lessons and activities, let’s cover history and fun facts about Juneteenth…
Juneteenth History and Juneteenth Facts
- Major General Gordon Granger alerted Galveston, Texas, about the end of the Civil War and slavery
- Enslaved people were freed in accordance with President Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation
- Enslaved people in Texas were not freed until 1865, 2 1/2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation
- Upon hearing the news of the abolishment of slavery, enslaved people began to dance, pray, sing, and feast to celebrate
- Original Juneteenth celebrations included prayer meetings, spiritual singings, and dressing up in new clothes
- Current day Juneteenth celebrations include church services, festivals with food and music, educational events, and family picnics
- Some make sure they have red foods or drinks at Juneteenth celebrations, or wear the color red, to remember and honor the blood shed from enslaved ancestors
- Juneteenth became a Texas state holiday in 1980, the first state to give official state recognition to celebrating emancipation
- There is a Juneteenth flag, which is red, white, and blue with a bursting star in the middle
- Juneteenth is the oldest known U.S. holiday commemorating the end of slavery in America
- Other countries now also celebrate the day to honor the freedom of African Americans
- The word Juneteenth is what is known as a portmanteau, or the blending of two words, of June and nineteenth
23 Juneteenth For Kids Activities and Lessons
Here are ways to include Juneteenth education in your studies. (Don’t miss your free printable Juneteenth flag coloring worksheet after this section!)
- Watch a video on Juneteenth
- Read All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom
- View, read, and discuss the actual Emancipation Proclamation
- Do some emancipation lesson plans
- Make a red, white, and blue dessert
- Create a red, white, and blue layered drink for kids
- Read a state bill making Juneteenth a Holiday Observance
- Decorate your yard with Juneteenth decorations
- Get some ideas on how to celebrate Freedom Day
- Read: Black Heroes: A Black History Book for Kids: 51 Inspiring People from Ancient Africa to Modern-Day U.S.A.
- Make a Juneteenth trivia game with facts (above)
- Learn about spiritual songs of enslaved people and the hidden messages
- Tie dye tshirts with red, black, and green (the colors of the Pan-African flag) and red, white, and blue (the colors of the Juneteenth flag)
- Read: Juneteenth for Mazie and do a lesson to go with it
- Learn about the history of Juneteenth in Texas
- Read: Opal Lee and What It Means to Be Free: The True Story of the Grandmother of Juneteenth
- Read: The First American Slaves : The History and Abolition of Slavery – Civil Rights Books for Children
- Use historical fiction to learn about the Civil War
- Play family card games like UNO
- Visit a museum honoring African American art and history (good for virtual Juneteenth ideas too!)
- Watch: The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross and then do a lesson plan for it
- Put together a puzzle celebrating Black women’s strengths and power
- Learn all about the Juneteenth Flag (free worksheet printable below!)
Free Juneteenth Flag Printable
Want to learn more about the Juneteenth flag? Grab our FREE Juneteenth printables! CLICK HERE!