Let Them Grow: Arts & Crafts for Presidents’ Day

Let Them Grow by Candice Chouinard

Presidents’ Day

Certain holidays are hard for small children to grasp. A great example of this is Presidents’ Day. It’s a vague concept for young preschoolers and toddlers to understand there is a hierarchy in government. Instead, I have found that by focusing on a theme in the holiday children can learn and explore the idea open ended. Collages are a fun way to explore art with limited restrictions and open a dialog about complex concepts.  Here are two fun President-themed activities.

The Colorful US

We live in an extra ordinary country, lets make it look that way. Talk about the United States as one big neighborhood.  For older children you can open the dialog further.

Cut out a big map of the United States as a base to work on.

Cut hundreds of strips of paper. Cut short, long, wide and thin ones; red, white, and blue – or rainbow ones! Cover the map with the strips. Offer glue sticks to older children and help your younger toddler apply the glue and apply the paper. Count or sing while holding down the strips of paper as they dry.  You can add to the collage with extras:

  • Stars
  • Glitter shakers
  • Magazine clippings

Fine motor skills are key to early development. Using scissors and applying glue should be a two- to three-year-old milestone in the art room.  These are tough skills to master and take a lot of practice.

Presidential Painting

Rewriting history is not something we can do as adults, but children can change anything in their world, with their imagination. Using photocopies of the current or ex-presidents’ faces, let your child go crazy painting and re-creating the faces of history.

Using chalk pastels, smear and smudge on rosy cheeks, lipstick or a mustache. Give Lincoln a purple beard or Roosevelt blue glasses.  Chalk pastels are fun to use and are even more tempting to eat, so watch your tasters carefully.

After the chalk is put away, you can add your 3-D extras to the collage:

  • Bottle caps
  • Felt
  • Glitter
  • Foam shapes
  • Stickers

Multi-step collages are a way for even young toddlers to have a long-term project. You can put this one away after the pastels and then pick it up after nap time on Presidents’ Day!


Candice Chouinard has worked with youth of all ages and backgrounds, creating and implementing programing for children. She revels in hand-on, long-term, messy projects that are both fun and educational. Candice comes from a background in creative writing, as well as, child development and psychology. She owns and operates a day care in Northampton, MA.

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