Holidays and Special Days in the Third Week of February

The Third Seven Days

February Calendar
February Calendar. Image credit: kilukilu / 123RF Stock Photo

What can you and your child learn about in the third seven days of February?  What activities can you and your child engage in?  What holidays can you celebrate?  In addition to Valentine's Day that everyone loves to celebrate one way or another, the special days listed here should be of interest to gifted children and their families.

All February Holidays

February 12

Lincoln's Birthday
Presidents' Day was originally Washington's birthday (February 22nd) and was meant to celebrate the life of the first president of the U.S. In 1971, it was changed to the third Monday of February and came to be known as "Presidents' Day." It now includes a celebration of Abraham Lincoln, who also was born in February (12th). Many now use the day to celebrate all presidents of the United States. My personal preference is to celebrate George Washington, a man who freely gave up power and declined to run for a third term in office, a precedent that held until FDR opted to run for a third term. Giving up power voluntarily was unheard of at the time, making it all the more remarkable. Because the day is still officially "George Washington's Birthday, it's a good day to learn about the first POTUS!

February 15

Presidents' Day
Presidents' Day was originally Washington's birthday (February 22nd) and was meant to celebrate the life of the first president of the U.S. In 1971, it was changed to the third Monday of February and came to be known as "Presidents' Day." It now includes a celebration of Abraham Lincoln, who also was born in February (12th). Many now use the day to celebrate all presidents of the United States. My personal preference is to celebrate George Washington, a man who freely gave up power and declined to run for a third term in office, a precedent that held until FDR opted to run for a third term. Giving up power voluntarily was unheard of at the time, making it all the more remarkable. Because the day is still officially "George Washington's Birthday, it's a good day to learn about the first POTUS!

February 16

Do a Grouch a Favor Day
This is a fun day - with a slightly serious tone. Everyone is grouchy sometimes. We just get in a bad mood and lose our patience and get grouchy. Some people are more grouchy than others and are grouchy more often than others. Sometimes there is a reason behind their grouchiness. They may feel left out or even unloved. This is a good day to talk to your child about why people, including kids, may be grouchy, and how a simple act of kindness can make a difference in the grouch's life. It won't magically transform anyone, but it's still a good idea to do something nice for a grouch. What can your child do for a grouch in the family, in the neighborhood, or at school?

February 17

  1. Kid Inventors Day
    This date was chosen for Kid Inventors Day because it is the birthday of Benjamin Franklin. Most people know that Ben Franklin was quite an inventor. What they don't know is that he invented the first swim flippers when he was just twelve years old!
  2. Digital Learning Day
    Digital Learning Day is about the idea of providing all children with a digital environment that prepares them for success both in school and in a career. Teachers (and that includes homeschoolers) are asked to use technology effectively in order to improve education. I adore digital technology and use it for nearly everything, but I have seen teachers use technology for the sake of using technology. I like the idea of supporting the *effective* use of technology in our schools.
  3. Random Acts of Kindness Day
    Grouches need acts of kindness, but so do others - even if they aren't grouchy. Being kind of others can brighten up the day, and not just for the recipient of the act of kindness. It can also make the person passing on that act of kindness feel good. That's a win-win deal! Acts of kindness don't have to be huge, either. A smile, a compliment, a cheerful hello, opening the door for someone -- those acts of kindness take no effort and can brighten someone's day. It's contagious, too! Those who receive an act of kindness are likely to do something kind for someone else.

    February 18

    Pluto Day Poor Pluto. Since it is no longer a planet, the least we could do for it is make a day in its honor. February 18th is Pluto Day because on that day in 1930, the planet - I mean the dwarf planet - was discovered at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, by Clyde Tombaugh. In 2006, Pluto was downgraded from planet to dwarf planet by the International Astronomical Union. Although it is no longer considered to be a planet, kids still like it and like learning about it.

    February 20

    Clean Out Your Bookcase Day I have mixed feelings about this day. Clean out my bookcase? Like get rid of some books? I love books. I'm constantly looking for more room for them. Eventually, though, I have come to realize that all books are not equal. Some are "keepers," while others are "for the moment." What puts one book in one category and another book in another category really depends on individual preferences. For me, mystery books are "for the moment" books. I enjoy reading them, but once I'm done, I don't need to keep them. History books, on the other hand, tend to be in my "keepers" category. For my mother, however, the reverse is true. So periodically, I go through my bookcase and get rid of any "for the moment" books that are taking up space. E-books have made this all easier for me. I can read a book and keep it on my e-reader, but if I really like it, I buy a hard copy and place it on my shelves. (There really isn't anything like hard book you can touch and write in!) You and your child can go through your bookcases and decide which books you want to keep and which you'd like to donate to your library or to a women's shelter or to any other organization that can make good use of them.

    February 21

    International Mother Language Day Many people around the world speak more than one language. The first language they learn is their mother tongue. Those who speak only their mother tongue don't always realize how difficult it is to speak another language, especially to speak it well. This can be a real hardship for kids who move from one country to another and have to go to school where an unfamiliar language is spoken. Today is a day to be aware of the many languages spoken around the world and to appreciate its diversity. It is also a day to contemplate the issues non-native language users face.

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