Womens History Month Essay Ideas For Kids

Help bring Women’s History Month to life by teaching your 5- to 8-year-old child about some amazing women from history and today. For each person of significance, read a picture book and try the related activity ideas. We hope that learning about these role models and connecting with their experiences will inspire your children to break down barriers and face life’s challenges with courage and grit.

Activities:

Watch this interview with Ruby Bridges as an adult. Discuss how Ruby felt as the only African American child in her school.

Observe books, toys, and movies you read, play with, and watch and see if all races, ethnicities, and genders are equally represented. Do you notice more of one group than others? What do you think needs to change?

Watch the Ruby Bridges movie from 1998.

Activities:

You’ll need a blank sheet of white paper and a crayon with no paper covering. Use these to make bark rubbings by putting the paper on the tree trunk and rubbing the crayon over the bumpy surface. Talk about your observations of different designs for different trees.

“Adopt” a tree near your house. Watch it throughout the year. Notice how it changes with the seasons. Draw a picture of it every month for a science journal on your special tree. Discuss how Rachel Carson also observed trees.

Take a nature walk. As you walk, observe and collect interesting things such as pine cones, sticks, stones, and so forth. Use these natural items to make a nature collage.

Activities:

Watch Celia Cruz sing “Contrapunto Musical” and dance along.

Salsa is a style of music and dancing. Listen to more salsa music on Pandora and see which artists you like the best. Don’t forget to dance along!

Make homemade rhythm instruments using recycled containers, beads or beans, wax paper, and rubber bands. Create your own salsa music.

Celia Cruz spoke Spanish. If you don’t know any Spanish, learn some beginning Spanish words. Try Rockalingua and Basho & Friends videos or Gus on the Go and Spanish School Bus apps.

Activities:

Visit an aeronautics museum in your area. See if you can find a plane that looks like one Amelia Earhart flew.

Have a paper airplane contest. What design flies the farthest? Get folding ideas here.

Put together a balsa wood airplane. Go to the park and pretend you’re Amelia Earhart flying across the world.

Activities:

Visit a zoo. Draw pictures and take photographs of the primates. Take notes on your observations.

Watch a short Jane Goodall video about how chimps use tools like humans or Disney Nature’s “Chimpanzee” movie.

Pretend play Jane Goodall with your stuffed animals. Add props to make it more realistic such as binoculars, notepad and pencils, and a camera.

Volunteer to help animals at an animal shelter or search for a local community project at Jane Goodall’s Roots and Shoots website.

Activities:

Use a photograph to inspire your own self-portrait. On a blank sheet of paper, use pencil to sketch your face. Color in with crayon or paint. Then add flowers or other plants around your face.

Color a Frida coloring page here and here.

Download, read, and play the Frida’s World app.

Visit a Latino art museum.

Activities:

Using the Braille alphabet on the back jacket cover of Annie and Helen, write a word or sentence about Helen Keller using Braille dots.

Blindfold your child and lead them around the house, making sure to give clear directions so they don’t bump into things or fall. Talk about how it felt for them to experience this.

See “The Miracle Worker” play or movie.

Search for an Alabama state quarter to see Helen Keller’s image on it. Start a quarter collection.

Activities:

Order a butterfly garden through Insect Lore. Make daily observations (drawings or notes) on your caterpillars as they go through metamorphosis.

Visit a butterfly and insect garden or museum in your area.

Plant a butterfly garden to attract butterflies and moths to your yard. Watch and see who visits the different plants.

Activities:

Take a bus ride. Sit at the very back and imagine that you’ve been forced to sit there. Then, move to the front. Talk about the emotions you feel and how Rosa Parks might have felt.

Reenact Rosa’s bus ride with LEGOs or dolls. Act out what happened at the beginning, middle, and end of her famous bus ride.

Unscramble a Rosa Parks picture and color it in. Optional: Use bright colors for a pop art look. Download the directions and picture here.

Activities:

Have a race day! First be your regular human self and try to run as fast as Wilma. Then pretend to be different animals (bears, crabs, frogs, elephants) while you race. The rule is you must move like that animal during the race.

Did you know that kids can enter races? Find a local fun run and race with your family or friends.

Consider joining a group like Girls on the Run, a group that seeks to inspire girls to be healthy and confident through an interactive curriculum and, of course, running.

Which other athletes does Wilma remind you of? List other inspiring athletes and Olympians that come to mind and how they show some of the same skills and determination as Wilma.

Activities:
Pretend play with family or friends (or LEGO people) a democratic judicial system. One person gets to be the judge, two people get to be lawyers, and other people can be the people participating in a trial. Lawyers present their arguments to the judge. Topic ideas: speeding ticket, jaywalking, or theft.

Make a “Family Rules” sign for your house. Have everyone contribute to the list of rules then sign at the bottom. Discuss if you have more of a democracy or a monarchy in your family. Who decides what’s fair?

Discuss the difference between fair and equal. Use the example of different age children having different bedtimes. Then read these books for more discussion about fair vs. equal:

Klara Zetkin organized International Women’s Day on March 19, 1911 (Library of Congress)

March is National Women’s History Month. Schools and communities all over the country celebrate and commemorate the amazing things that women have accomplished in our country, and not just for women, but for other disenfranchised people who live in the U.S.

It all started when Klara Zetkin organized International Women’s Day on March 19, 1911. This annual event was about promoting peace and women’s rights. Sadly the idea sort of fizzled until the 1960s, when interest in this special day was refurbished during the women’s movement. Women started asking why they weren’t included in history books. What was up with that? Female historians started promoting women’s history in the schools. They picked the week of March 8 for Women’s History Week, which included International Women’s Day, now on March 8.

Due to a lot of strong female lobbying, in 1981, Congress proclaimed the week of March 8 to be National Women’s History Week. Just few years later, thanks to a group of teachers, museum workers and librarians (also probably all women), Congress officially designated the entire month of March as National Women’s History Month with March 8th remaining as International Women’s Day. You can read the entire history here:

http://www.nwhp.org/whm/history.php

These days, schools all over the U.S. celebrate the month of March with a focus on the incredible ways that women have contributed to U.S. history and how women still continue to struggle for equal rights in our country. There is even a special Presidential Proclamation every year that honors the amazing achievements of American women. You can find a link to the proclamation here: http://www.nwhp.org/whm/presidential.php

March is also National Reading Month! So, the month of March has two great reasons to read about and recognize the accomplishments of women. Here are a few ideas to add to your month’s plans:

  • Are your students aware of how women in the U.S. lived just 50-60 years ago when their grandparents were growing up? One way to focus their attention on women in history is to talk about how female students were required to dress in the days of not that long ago. I’m guessing a few in your classroom won’t pass the 1960s dress code test!
  • With this theme in mind, have the students interview an adult woman in their family or friend circle. What did she accomplish in her life that had an impact on her family, work, community, or even the country? What were her struggles and challenges as a woman and how did she deal with them? Learning about the mothers and other women in their own and other students’ communities helps children better understand their own lives. This activity can tie in with a family history project (Family History Month is October, by the way) and can also spark conversation about the diversity in your classroom.
  • Let older students ponder what’s it like to make a mark on the world. How did Amelia Earhart feel to be the first woman pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean? What kind of personality did Rosa Parks have to make her brave enough to refuse to give up her seat on the bus and go on to fight for civil rights? How would Sandra Day O’Connor have dealt with the formerly all-male world of the Supreme Court? Have the kids pick from a list of women in history and research their lives. Then the girls can write an essay or poem about how they would feel if in their place. The boys can write about what it would be like if this amazing woman was their mother or sister.

Need a list? Here are a few of my personal favorites: Susan B. Anthony, Sally Ride, Melba Pattillo, Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Amelia Earhart, Hillary Clinton, Marie Curie, Shannon Lucid, Wilma Rudolph, Louisa May Alcott, Coretta Scott King, Sojourner Truth, Sandra Day O’Connor, Gloria Steinem, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Dame Jane Morris Goodall, Alice Coachman, Lucy Stone, Florence Chadwick, Pearl Buck, Georgia O’Keeffe, Helen Keller, Annie Oakley, Lucretia Mott, Sacajawea, Dian Fossey, Alice Paul and of course, Rosie the Riveter.  Here is a huge list: http://myhero.com/women_heroes

Your older students can read about how and why women were kept from so many rights and opportunities and write about how they feel about that. For example, why let women vote? Why allow women to attend college? Why should or shouldn’t women in the military be on the front lines? Why won’t some states pass the Equal Rights Amendment and others did? Let the students study these themes and write a speech about their views. Then you can have a mock hearing on the subject!

The National Women’s History Project creates a theme and chooses a list of honorees from scores of nominations. This year’s theme is “Women Inspiring Innovation Through Imagination: Celebrating Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.” Here are the honorees: http://www.nwhp.org/whm/honorees2012.php

Let your students review the list and then research and choose their own choice for an amazing woman in the STEM fields. You might also have them suggest a theme to the National Women’s History Project for next year!

Younger kids can read picture books and early readers with strong female characters and talk about them. What makes her able to tackle her problems? Does she need a boy to help her? Did it make a difference that she was a girl? One of my favorite classic “women’s lib” picture books is Princess Smartypants by Babette Cole, but I’m sure you have a long list of your favorite books with strong heroines.

Hopefully these activities will give you some new ideas for celebrating National Women’s History Month. Right on, sister!

This article was originally published on March 11, 2013, and updated on March 6th, 2018. 

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