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 Kids Activity Booklets

The Joyful Kids ABCs Activity Booklets are a Series of Interactive Books Designed for Infants and Toddlers and Early Learners Ages 3 - 5.
A is for Amazing, booklet cover
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A is for Amazing

The Joyful Kids 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 and download our first activity booklet, A is for Amazing, for early learners ages 3 - 5 and infants and toddlers.
Learn More
B is for Brave booklet cover
02/02

B is for Brave

The Joyful Kids ABC Activity Book 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 and download our activity booklet, B is for Brave, for early learners ages 3 - 5 or infants and toddlers.
Learn More

Explore More

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.

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

Joyful Kids ABC Activity Booklets

The Museum's Joyful Kids 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 Kids books' section to learn more about our activity book series and download interactive booklets for infants and toddlers and early learners, ages 3 - 5 by visiting.

Explore 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 ABCs booklets by exploring the Museum's Learning Lab collections.

Explore More

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 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. 

Download

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.

Download

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.

Explore More

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.

Learn More

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