As more people begin to recognize and celebrate the Juneteenth holiday, a growing number of families are looking for ways they can celebrate with their kids.
I believe the most important thing here is to use this special day to educate children on the origins of Juneteenth and emphasize the importance of freedom, building community, and working together. However, it also wouldn’t hurt to incorporate some fun activities to add that element of “celebration” to the mix. So let’s discuss a few great ways we can celebrate Juneteenth with kids.
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When is Juneteenth?
Juneteenth is observed each year on the 19th of June, hence the name “Juneteenth.”
What is Juneteenth Day?
Juneteenth is a celebration of freedom that originated from a significant moment in American history – June 19, 1865. On this date, as explained by the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, “the Union Army made its way into Galveston, TX under the leadership of General Gordon Granger, and he announced to the people of Texas that all enslaved African Americans were free.”
This event is monumental because although the Emancipation Proclamation was issued in January 1863 and the Civil War ended in 1865, the Union Army didn’t really enforce the freeing of slaves until June 19, 1865. It is important to note, however, that it was ultimately the 13th Amendment (ratified December 6, 1865) that ended slavery and made it illegal in the U.S.
Is Juneteenth a Federal Holiday?
Yes, Juneteenth is now a federal holiday in the United States. President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law on June 17, 2021.
Ideas to Celebrate Juneteenth With Kids
So now that we’ve discussed the origins of Juneteenth, let’s talk about some ways we can actually celebrate this holiday with children.
Read Juneteenth Books
An easy way to teach children about Juneteenth is through Juneteenth Children’s Books. Here are a few great books to start with.
- The Juneteenth Story: Celebrating the End of Slavery in the United States
- The Story of Juneteenth
- Juneteenth for Mazie
- What Is Juneteenth?
- Raven The Great: What is Juneteenth?
Attend a Local Juneteenth event
As communities begin to observe Juneteenth as a federal holiday, more Juneteenth events are popping up across the nation. From parades to carnivals and fireworks, there are lots of ways that the community is coming together to celebrate Juneteenth.
You can check your local newspaper or city websites to see what Juneteenth events are coming to your area.
Wear Matching Juneteenth Shirts
If you have been following Major League Mommy for some time, you may have noticed that I am a huge fan of buying matching outfits for the family to celebrate special events and holidays. Of course, Juneteenth is no exception. You can find a nice Juneteenth shirt on Etsy and even in many stores these days!
Try a New Red Food or Drink Recipe
Juneteenth celebrations commonly feature red food and drinks. This is the perfect opportunity to try out a new punch, whip out the red velvet cakes, or try out any other red food and drinks you may have in mind (hm, will these Flamin’ Hot Cheeto Mozarella Sticks make the list?).
Host a Cookout
In my opinion, a cookout is an absolute MUST on Juneteenth. In the black community, we love a good cookout so you already know I had to put this one on the list. As long as the weather permits, you better believe I am out there having a good old fashioned cookout with my family every year on Juneteenth, and the kids love it.
Even if you don’t host a traditional cookout, you can make a special family dinner including some of your family’s favorite dishes.
Support a Black-Owned Business
Another fantastic way to celebrate Juneteenth is to support a Black-Owned Business like one of these black-owned online clothing stores. You can also support a black author or any other type of black-owned business you may have in mind.
Create Your Own Juneteenth Flag
The Juneteenth flag boasts the same red, white, and blue colors as the American flag but with a unique design. Your family can create your own Juneteenth flag by following this easy Juneteenth flag craft.
Watch an Educational Video
Celebrate Juneteenth by watching one of these educational Juneteenth videos for kids.
Create a “Positive Impact” Bucket List
Here is a unique way to celebrate Juneteenth. You can create what I call a “Positive Impact” Bucket list as a family. On this bucket list, you outline all the things you wish to do that will have a positive impact on the community around you. Here are a few items that are on my family’s personal “Positive Impact” bucket list.
- Volunteer at a homeless shelter
- Publish more books on financial literacy
- Donate to children in need
- Start our own recycling project
Give Back to the Community
In line with the previous note on creating a “Positive Impact” Bucket List, another fantastic way to celebrate Juneteenth is by using your personal freedom to serve others and give back to your community. Usually, a quick Google search for local volunteer opportunities will be enough to find the perfect opportunity for your family to volunteer with a local organization.
What are some ways you plan to celebrate Juneteenth with your family this year? Feel free to share in the comments!