Philly Black History Month Events for Kids
From museum celebrations to storytimes, here's where to celebrate all month.
In February, Philadelphia institutions have special programming to celebrate and educate about the role that African-Americans have played and the innumerable contributions they have made to our nation. Despite the reality that many things have moved online, there is still so much to learn, see, and do. We will be updating this post as more places announce their plans, so be sure to check back throughout the month.
Art Museum Virtual Playdates: Say It Loud
February 5 and 19
Discover how artists use their work as a way to stand up for what’s right. Explore ideas of social justice through works from the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s collection, learn about the “craftivism” movement, ask big questions, and sketch dreams for the future. Best for ages 4-7 and their families. Free, but pre-registration is required (and spots are limited) to receive the Zoom link.
Smith Memorial Playground presents ‘Leaders and Legends of North Philadelphia’
February 6-28 (Opening Day Hooray on February 6)
3500 Reservoir Drive
Smith Memorial Playground may be closed for the winter, but it will be featuring a free, outdoor, socially-distanced exhibit that celebrates inspirational African American leaders who have made momentous, positive change in the fields of activism, arts, business, education, public service, and sports and have become a part of North Philadelphia’s history. Each display will include biographical information about the honorees as well as highlighted facts for families to “Quiz the Kids” and suggested Philadelphia landmarks, activities, and reading dedicated to or inspired by each honoree that families can explore after they leave Smith.
Plus, on February 6, Smith will celebrate opening day of the exhibit with a ribbon-cutting and by opening the playground from noon to 3 pm!
African American Children’s Book Fair
February 6, 11 am—4 pm
One of the oldest and largest single-day events for African-American children’s books in the country goes virtual this year. Authors and illustrators will make presentations and promote the power and joy of reading. Free; pre-register online.
Black History Month Mural Arts Tours
Walking Tours: February 7 and 21, 2 pm
Virtual Tour: February 24, 6 pm
Mural Arts Philadelphia is planning special tours featuring murals that represent iconic African American figures, civic heroes, and insightful social justice issues. A professional tour guide will take guests through Center City neighborhoods to view these stunning and impactful murals, hear the stories behind each work of art, learn about the artists, and the mural-making process. Advanced tickets are required, and are available online. Tour groups will be limited to 10 people or less, and masks are required.
And this year, in addition to switching from the trolley tour to the walking tour, Mural Arts is also adding a virtual option on February 24. With a live tour guide, over a Zoom webinar platform, guests will “travel” through different Philadelphia neighborhoods to view murals and hear the stories behind them.
Black History Month Storytelling Sundays in Historic Philadelphia
February 7, 14, 21, and 28
11 am–4 pm at Betsy Ross House courtyard; and noon–4 pm at Franklin Square
Storytellers from Historic Philadelphia’s “Once Upon A Nation” program will be in Franklin Square and on the Betsy Ross House courtyard stage sharing short, interactive tales highlighting the contributions that Black colonists and early Americans of color made during our nation’s early days. Free; social distancing and masks required.
Drag Queen Story Time Celebrates Black History Month with National Liberty Museum
February 9, 11 am
Philly Drag Queen Miss Brittany Lynn will read some of her favorite books written by black authors, including Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry. After the reading, join Miss Brittany Lynn’s friends as they talk about diversity, inclusion, and representation on a virtual visit to the National Liberty Museum to see Sandy Skoglund’s sculpture The Jellybean People. This event is free, but registration is required.
NLM’s Celebrating Black Voices Weekend
National Liberty Museum honors Black History Month with a virtual celebration of Black voices in music, words, and actions for liberty. Tune in for Drag Queen Story Time, music-making, and more. Free; pre-registration is required for some activities.
Read-Along with Misty Copeland
February 22, 10 am
Watch prima ballerina Misty Copeland read Firebird on YouTube, and then engage in Zoom chat with a librarian at Fishtown Community Library about this tale of Misty’s Firebird performance and what it takes to get there. To register for this event and get the Zoom link, email the librarian at DAmbruosoA@freelibrary.org
Craft and Learn: ‘Rent Party Jazz’ and Helping as a Community
Pickup at Blanche A. Nixon/Cobbs Creek Library, 5800 Cobbs Creek Parkway
From February 22 -26, free craft kits to support the book Rent Party Jazz will be available on the steps of the Blanche A. Nixon/Cobbs Creek Library (from 10 am to 4 pm). Watch a reading of the book with Viola Davis from Storyline Online, then enjoy making your own trumpet! The kit also includes resources and discussion questions about how communities help each other today, including information about local mutual aid groups. Geared towards children ages 5 and up.
History Explorers: Who Was Ona Judge?
February 27, 11:30 am
In this online event. the Museum of the American Revolution explores the story of Ona Judge, a woman who escaped enslavement from the home of President George Washington. Learn how she escaped, where she went, and discover what object in the museum might have been a part of her first steps to freedom. History Explorers Club playdates are best enjoyed by ages 7-11 but fun for all kids. Tickets available online.
Photograph courtesy of Mural Arts Philadelphia.