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Growing Reader

Forward Into the Future: Stories and Activities to Celebrate Women’s History Month with Young Readers

by Melissa Taylor

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.


Watch this interview with Misty Copeland to hear about her coming-of-age in the ballet and see clips from some of her most incredible performances, including the one that inspired Firebird.

Misty is a fierce advocate for diverse representation in all mediums. Observe books, toys, and movies that 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?

Throw on some leggings or a tutu and choreograph your own ballet performance to your favorite song. Misty would be the first to tell you that ballet isn’t limited to any one type of music, so choose freely!


Despite contributions from women like Ada, women are still underrepresented in STEM fields. With a parent, go online to She Can STEM and read stories about real-life women with fascinating careers in STEM fields. Which career sounds most interesting to you? What activities from these women’s childhoods sound fun to try?

Taking a page from Math Geek Mama’s book, build a tower with conversation hearts or another favorite snack and try out estimating, measuring, and coming up with techniques to build sturdier towers.

Combine Ada’s love for the poetic and scientific by writing a poem about math, science, or computers. Look for inspiration in the picture books Count on Me and Science Verse


Sacagawea was a member of the Lemhi Shoshone. With your parents, visit and put in your address to learn about the Native tribes who first lived in your region.

Check out a foreign-language dictionary from your local library and use it to learn the names of different objects in your house. Translate the names of the objects for your parents or siblings.

Using your tools of choice, create a map of your street or neighborhood, noting as well the different types of flora that exist there.


Begin a diary in which you recount the experiences of your day-to-day life. Anne addressed many of her diary entries to her favorite imaginary friend, Kitty. Do you have an imaginary friend or favorite literary character that you might write to?

Visit the Anne Frank House YouTube channel to watch educational videos about Anne’s life, and learn more about the concepts of discrimination, prejudice, and antisemitism.

Many brave people helped Anne and her family during a time of great opposition and fear. Why is it important to do the right thing, even when we’re scared? How can you help others who might be subjected to prejudice and discrimination?


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

  • Rosa Parks

  • Rosa Parks, an African American woman, made history in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955 when she sat at the front of the bus, the area reserved for white people. Her actions helped spark a city-wide bus boycott and propelled the Civil Rights Movement that called for an end to racial segregation.


  • I am Rosa Parks

    by Brad Meltzer, illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos

    Also available from:

    Also available from:


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.

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.


Use fancy lettering and bright colors to create a poster of one of Malala’s famous quotes. Discuss what the quote means.

Malala grew up in Pakistan. Visit a Pakistani restaurant or make a Pakistani food dish.

Make a thank you card or drawing for a teacher to show gratitude that you and all children in this country can attend school.