Do you want to show your children how to love their African heritage? Part of providing a strong foundation for your child’s healthy self-image is teaching them about their origin and history. Today, African American children can turn on their TV, go to a toy store, or even visit Disneyland and find very few images of themselves in all of the fun and creation before them. I continue to experience difficulty finding toys, characters on t-shirts, even books at our local stores that depict images of brown people. I find even fewer that showcase brown boys. It is imperative that we continue to expose our children to positive images because it shapes how they view themselves in the world.
We must pass the history on to our children
We live in a world where many African and African American contributions and images are minimized. Due to this, it is our responsibility learn the truth (as our own history may have been taught to us full of downplays, falsities, & omission) and pass our rich history on to our children. There is a wealth of information about ancient kings & queens, inventors, musicians, scholars, etc that will fill our children’s minds with positive images and appreciation for our ancestors and their heritage.
It is never too early to begin exposing our children to positive images and creations of Africans and African Americans. Here are some activities you can implement at home for toddlers and school age children that will expose them to the African contributions to our world.
8 Family Activities That Promote Love for African Heritage:
- Visit a grandparent or an elder of the family. Ask to hear stories. They have so many to tell and the kids love a good story! Hear about your family tales, trials, and successes. It’s also fun to sift through old photos of family members and ancestors.
- Create a scavenger hunt. Go through your home and tag everything that was invented by an African American. Have them collect the items, or talk about each one they discover. They will never forget the what they learned.
- Check out a museum. Find your city’s African American History Museum or plan your trip the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. Take plenty of photos and make an album of things you learned.
- Design a craft gallery. Collect photos or posters of inventors such as Garrett Morgan. Read about their invention and make a craft version of it. Post it on a wall under their photo and have the children speak about each person.
- Research. Show the kids how to search the internet for ancient African Kings/Queens and pre-colonial kingdoms. Listen to them report their findings.
- Dramatic play. Read African American books on inventing or activism and have your child reenact the story.
- Listen to music. Present your children with real instruments or photos of instruments of African origin. Listen to and discuss the blues, rock-n-roll, opera, rap, hip-hop. Play classical music and read Before There Was Mozart: The Story of Joseph Boulogne, the true inventor of classical music.
- Play sports. Research the African American presence in sports. Look up athletes that have broken barriers and depict the “black magic” that we so often see. Next, go to your yard, local golf course, etc., and use the equipment, materials and moves that you discovered were invented by African Americans.