Black History month is in February. This is a time to celebrate the contributions of black people to our world. In our household, my son and I learn black history year round. I am fortunate to be able to teach him black history because it is not taught within many our school districts. Today we will focus on black history inventors.
My son, Cory, loves doing science experiments and wanted to learn about black history inventors and their inventions. For example, it was fascinating for him to learn that Lewis Latimer invented the carbon filament for the light bulb. This invention made the light bulb shine longer and brighter. Mr. Lewis worked very closely with Thomas Edison.
I try to think of hands-on projects to help my son remember black history facts. Therefore, we decided to make replicas of the inventions we read about through art. Below are some of the art projects my son completed.
Black History Inventors Art Projects
One of the first black history inventors we learned about was Benjamin Banneker. At the age of 20, he took a watch apart to study the pieces and to find out how it works. In 1753, at the age of 22, he built a wooden clock from his discoveries. Many people came all over to see his clock, as it kept perfect time for more than 50 years.
To celebrate Mr. Banneker, we decided to make our own clock. Below is how we did it…
Build Your Own Clock
- Paper Plate
- Black Marker
- Construction paper (2 different colors)
- Paper Brad
- Have your child build their own clock like Mr. Banneker.
- Have your child paint the paper plate.
- Draw a long and short clock handle on the construction paper.
- This will represent the hour and minute hands.
- Cut the handles out of the construction paper
- On another piece of construction paper, write numbers 1-12
- Cut the numbers out individually and paste them on the clock
- Poke a hole in the center of the paper plate
- Insert the paper brad through the hour hand, minute hand, and the hole in the center of the paper plate.
- Secure the paper brad by separating the tines of the legs and bend them over to secure the paper.
Another inventor we learned about was Phillip Downing. He created the street letter box, which was a tall metal box with a secure hinged door to drop letters. Before his invention, people who wanted to send mail had to go to the Post Office. The hinged door on the metal box prevented rain and snow from entering and damaging the mail. His invention allowed for people to drop their mail off near their home and to be picked-up by a mail carrier.
Our project below honors Mr. Downing’s contributions to our world…
Make Your Own Letter Box
- Small or Medium sized cardboard box
- Blue sheets of construction paper.
- Glue or Tape
- Explain to your child that Philip Downing created the street letter box to save us a trip to the Post Office and to prevent our mail from becoming damaged.
- Tape the cardboard box shut.
- With adult supervision, cut a rectangle hole on the box.
- Tape any parts of the box that may have come apart.
- Glue or tape the construction paper on the box so that it is fully covered.
- Write the world “Mailbox” on the cardboard box and tape it to the front.
- Optional: Have your children write a short letter and put it in your newly created mailbox.
Our Bonus Project
This year we decided to take it a step further and create something more memorable. We made a t-shirt to honor a few of the black inventors we learned about.
Below my brother and a kid model are wearing the shirts. If you want one, adult and kid T-shirts are available on Amazon.
Kids only hoodies, sweatshirts, onesies and t-shirts are available here. Just wanted to share our project.
Enjoy these activities!
Our books are available on Amazon, “Teach Your Toddler to Read Through Play,” “Fun Easy Ways to Teach Your Toddler to Write, and “Teach Your Child About Money Through Play.“