Presidents Day {Holiday Helps}

Presidents Day {Holiday Helps}

In 1800, Congress declared February 22, George Washington’s birthday, a federal holiday.  In 1971, the holiday was switched to the third Monday in February, falling between the birthdays of Washington and Abraham Lincoln, which is the 12th of February.

It wasn’t until the mid-1980s that the term “Presidents Day” made its appearance reflecting an honoring of the office of president.  Officially?  It’s still “Washington’s Birthday.”


(You’ll find resources useful for completing the suggestions below.)

  • Create a presidential timeline.
  • Copy a favorite quote from your favorite president.
  • Read one of the books below or a favorite about Presidents Day or a president.
  • Narrate from what you read.
  • Learn more about Mt. Rushmore and each of the presidents featured.
  • Create a booklet showing the different things a president does.
  • Write a character study for a president of your choice.


Further Investigation

Presidents’ Day
Download from the United States Department of State explaining the holiday.

George Washington’s Birthday
The real story behind the holiday at the National Archives.

George Washington
Biography from

Abraham Lincoln
Biography from

The Presidents
Biographies for other presidents from

Quick facts for each president including political affiliation, cabinet, salary, notable events, historical documents, and other points of interest from the Internet Public Library.

Official Portraits of the U.S. Presidents
Every president has an official portrait.  Great for creating a presidents notebook.

The President of the United States
What does the president do?  Find out at Ben’s Guide.

Deconstructing History: The White House
A fast look at the president’s home from the History Channel. (You may want to install an ad blocker before viewing.)



Inside the White House
Take a tour of the White House.

Interactive Portrait of George Washington
Takes a symbolic, biographic, and artistic look at 12 elements in the painting by Gilbert Stuart. {Flash Required}

Rules of Civility
When he was about 16, George Washington copied 110 Rules of Civility — a good exercise to follow!

Abraham Lincoln for Young Readers
Timeline for younger students illustrated by younger students.  Cute!

Abraham Lincoln at the Crossroads
Very interesting interactive from the National Constitution Center where the student has to make the decisions Lincoln faced. {Flash Required}

Lincoln Hat Template
Print and assemble!

President for a Day
Interactive from PBS Kids investigating what it is like to be the President of the United States.

The American Presidency
Interactive from the National Museum of American History exploring the various roles of the president.

The White House
Print and assemble!



Presidents Day {Holiday Helps}

George Washington by d’Aulaire
One of our favorites from the d’Aulaire series of children’s biographies.

The Life of George Washington by Josephine Pollard
Written in words of one syllable, this early reader is available free online.

The Life of George Washington by Washington Irving
Older students might enjoy volume 1 of a 5-volume series by the well-known author.

The Writings of George Washington
The best way to get to know a man is to read primary source documents.  Here is George Washington in his own words.

Our American Holidays: Washington’s Birthday {Free eBook}
Includes a great deal of primary source information that will complement any Presidents Day study.

Our American Holidays: Lincoln’s Birthday {Free eBook}
Includes a great deal of primary source information that will complement any Presidents Day study.

d’Aulaire’s Abraham Lincoln {Review & Go-Alongs}

Abraham Lincoln by d’Aulaire
Caldecott Medal Winner and Children’s Book of the Year, this is another favorite from the d’Aulaires.  Read our review with go-alongs.

The Writings of Abraham Lincoln
There is really no other way to know this president than to read his own writings.
Volume 1: 1832–1843
Volume 2: 1843–1858
Volume 3: The Lincoln–Douglas debates
Volume 4: The Lincoln–Douglas debates
Volume 5: 1858–1862
Volume 6: 1862–1863
Volume 7: 1863–1865


Unit Studies & Lesson Plans

Presidents’ Day Lessons
Excellent resource from the Center for Civic Education.

Free Civics Studies Lesson 3: The President
A portion of our free civics unit, this one covering the office of the President.

Free History Studies: George Washington and the Cherry Tree
Part of one of our book studies covering young Washington and basic facts.

Free History Studies: George Washington
Part of one of our book studies covering Washington as military leader and president.

Abraham Lincoln: A Unit Study
Our own unit with many, many resources not listed here including printables, wonderful interactive media resources, and more!

Looking for Lincoln Throughout His Life
Lesson plan from PBS that includes video.

Abraham Lincoln on the American Union: A Word Fitly Spoken
Four very complete lesson plans from the National Endowment of the Humanities for older students analyzing primary source documents to get insight into Lincoln’s understanding of the Union.

If I Were President: 11 Presidents Day Activities
Quality ideas from Scholastic including making a White House Book and balancing the budget!


Printables & Notebooking Pages

U.S. Presidents: More Facts About the First 10
Great free download from includes flash cards with the facts for the first 10 U.S. presidents.

Presidents Coloring Pages
A coloring page for each president through George W. Bush at White House Kids that can be downloaded as one PDF.

U.S. Presidents Coloring Pages
Coloring pages for notebook from Crayola.

Famous People Notebooking Pages {Free}
This free download from Homeschool Helper Online includes a notebooking page for each president.