Early Childhood Education

At the National Museum of African American History and Culture we believe meaningful museum learning can, and should, happen at every age. Our dedicated team of early childhood educators design fun, age-appropriate experiences and resources for children from birth to 8 years old.

Early Childhood Education program participants

Discover the Museum’s many unique objects, big ideas, and important stories through our educational programs, learning materials and special object collections.

Have a question? Want information about future offerings in-person and online? Contact the Early Childhood Education Initiative team at NMAAHCearlychildhood@si.edu.

The Early Childhood Education Initiative is generously funded by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation.

Joyful ABC Activity Booklets

The Joyful ABC Activity Booklets are a Series of Interactive Books Designed for Infants and Toddlers and Early Learners Ages 3 - 5.
Joyful ABC Activity Booklets
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Download Our Joyful ABC Activity Booklets

The Joyful ABC Activity Booklet series invites caregivers and educators to support children’s positive identity development while also growing their language and literacy skills with activities, museum objects, and new words. Learn more about the series and download all our available activity booklets for early learners ages 3 - 5 and infants and toddlers.
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Use the tabs below to find upcoming programs, new booklets, and interactive online resources to share with the child in your life.

Two young children participating in an early childhood education program

Programs

Join us for engaging activities, educational programs and exciting events designed especially for young children! Register for our age-appropriate experiences, inspired by the Museum's collection, by checking out our calendar of events.

Upcoming Events

Please note, as a public health precaution due to COVID-19 (coronavirus), the Museum's early childhood programming will consist of virtual, online offerings to protect the safety and well-being of our participants, staff, and volunteers until further notice.

Joyful Fridays

Joyful Fridays

Join us each Friday for a joyful webinar-style Zoom class led by Museum educators! Designed for 4 to 8 year olds, each Joyful Fridays program features art projects and lessons inspired by the Joyful ABC Activity Book series and the Museum's collection.

Visit our Upcoming Events listings to register for more information.

Early childhood education program participants engaging with materials from the Joyful ABCs book.

Joyful ABC Activity Booklets

The Museum's Joyful ABC Activity Booklet series invites caregivers and educators to support children’s positive identity development while also growing their language and literacy skills with activities, museum objects and new words based on characteristics featured in the book, A is for All the Things You Are: A Joyful ABC Book.

Each activity booklet provides early childhood caregivers and educators with all this and more! 

  • Insight into children’s developmental stages
  • Age-appropriate play and art activities
  • Literacy and language development experiences 
  • Opportunities to look closely at museum objects 
  • Suggested books, videos, articles, and other resources

Visit our Joyful ABC booklets series to learn more and download interactive booklets for infants and toddlers and early learners, ages 3 - 5.

Learn More

Download our supplies list PDF and build an at-home creativity kit full of all the supplies and recycled materials you’ll need for future ABC art and play activities. Find the supplies list here!

Download

Take a closer look at Museum objects featured in the Joyful ABC booklets by exploring the Museum's Learning Lab collections.

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Early childhood education program participants tour the Museum's Visual Arts gallery

Activities and Resources

Engage with our Museum from home or in the classroom with activity sheets, learning plans and recommended resources inspired by objects and stories from the Museum's collection. Check back regularly for new materials!

Celebrate African American Poetry

Empower the children in your life with activities and lessons inspired by Maya Angelou's Life Doesn't Frighten Me and Useni Eugene Perkins' Hey Black Child.

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Understanding and Celebrating Juneteenth

For young children, the concept of freedom and the history of slavery can be challenging to grasp. Use our guide to start this important conversation, learn more about Juneteenth and enjoy a special activity and book collection together.

Download

Celebrate Kwanzaa with the Museum

Learn more about the Museum's collection and the 7 principles of Kwanzaa - Nguzo Saba - by downloading our PDF activity sheets for each day.

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Honoring Dr. King

Honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with an art project, recommended resources, and a Learning Lab collection inspired by his important activism. Download our interactive PDF to learn more.

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Explore Smithsonian Learning Lab

Bring the Museum's collection to your classroom or home with themed online collections of objects curated by the early childhood education team. Plus, discover additional discussion questions and suggested activities by visiting our Learning Lab.

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Talking About Race

Positive identity development, including racialized identity, begins at birth. Visit Talking About Race to guide your journey so you can support the child in your life to develop a healthy sense of self and understanding of others.

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It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.

Frederick Douglass Abolitionist, Author and Educator
  • Early Childhood Education program participants visit the Visual Arts gallery at the Museum
  • Early Childhood Education program participants visit the Musical Crossroads exhibition at the Museum
  • Early Childhood Education program participants gather for an activity outside the Museum
  • Early Childhood Education program participants during a music program at the Museum
  • Early Childhood Education program participants visit the Museum
  • Early Childhood Education program participants visit the Museum