Instilling principles of gender equality and female empowerment in children of all ages is made possible by International Women’s Day, which falls on March 8. A generation of caring, progressive leaders can only be raised by devoting time to educating young people about women’s accomplishments, prejudice, and promoting inclusion. The impressionable childhood years shape attitudes and beliefs carried into adulthood. Schools, families, and communities can leverage International Women’s Day to make change through thoughtful activism and education.
There are many engaging ways for children to recognize and honour the contributions of women globally. The activities can be tailored to various age groups and settings. For young students, the day can be used to highlight the accomplishments of path-breaking women through books, crafts, music, and games. Older students can take on more in-depth research projects exploring women’s history and current inequitable barriers that still need to be dismantled. Volunteering with women’s organizations also gives youth exposure to empowerment initiatives. The goals are to bring awareness to the still very real gender discrimination and biases limiting potential, dismantle prejudices, foster inclusivity and allyship, and inspire youth to carry the torch for equality. International Women’s Day provides the perfect spark for dialogue and change.
When children are exposed to diverse role models and discussions about systemic inequality from early ages, it plants the seeds for compassion. If we educate our children, we can shift society. The various activities suggested provide impactful, hands-on ways for children of all ages to recognize women’s contributions, learn about ongoing limitations, and promote inclusivity and allyship. By honouring International Women’s Day with thoughtful activism tailored for youth, we can foster the next generation of progressive, enlightened leaders. To commemorate International Women’s Day, parents, teachers, and other carers can engage children of all ages in the following recommended activities:
- Read Aloud Inspirational Books:
- Make “Rosie the Riveter” Posters:
- Host a Purple Outfit Day:
- Decorate Inspiring Women Cups:
- Create a Role Model Gallery:
- Act Out Heroic Women:
Choose children’s picture books highlighting real trailblazing women who broke barriers as scientists, pilots, activists, artists, athletes, etc. Excellent options are “She Persisted” by Chelsea Clinton, “I Am Amelia Earhart” by Brad Meltzer, and “Mae Among the Stars” by Roda Ahmed. Discuss the amazing accomplishments of the women and what qualities the child admires.
Have children recreate the iconic Rosie the Riveter “We Can Do It!” poster by flexing their arms. Take photos of them holding their posters, showing strength.
Since purple represents International Women’s Day, have children wear purple clothing and accessories. Take a group photo of the purple outfits.
Provide paper cups and art supplies for children to decorate with drawings/photos of women who inspire them such as family, teachers, famous figures. Use at snack time.
Have children draw or collage pictures of women they find inspiring. Display the masterpieces in a special art gallery at their height level.
Use dramatic play to have children pretend to be barrier-breaking women. Provide costumes and props to enrich the experience.
The focus for this age is introducing the concept of women breaking boundaries through relatable books, hands-on poster making, wearing purple, and discussing positive influences. Activities aim to start building awareness and admiration for trailblazing women.
- Research Barrier Breaking Women:
- Write and Perform Skits:
- Engineer Day:
- Listen to empowering songs by female artists:
Have children work individually or in small groups to research an important woman from history using books or approved online sources. Possible topics are athletes, scientists, artists, world leaders, astronauts, etc. Have them create a poster or mini-presentation about the woman to share.
In small groups, have children create and act out skits portraying a scenario where stereotypes are overcome, such as girls excelling at math/science, boys expressing emotion, women in leadership roles. Discuss what was learned after the performances.
Provide craft materials and have children engineer useful tools or inventions that could help women and girls. They can draw diagrams, build prototypes from cardboard, Legos or other materials. Have them present their designs and uses.
Compile a playlist of uplifting female-focused songs to listen to together. Discuss messages in the lyrics. Make it an empowering dance party! Some kid-friendly options are “The Girl Song” by Monae, “Confident” by Demi Lovato, “Brave” by Sara Bareilles.
- Research Local Women’s History:
- Create Digital Timelines or Informational Videos:
- Engineer Solutions for Equality:
- Play Equality-Themed Games:
Have children interview older female family members about their lives and what major societal changes they lived through. Another idea is to visit local historical centres or museums and learn about notable women from your region and the roles they play.
Have children work individually or in pairs to create online digital timelines or informational videos profiling impactful women throughout history or in various career fields and industries.
Pose engineering challenges related to boosting equality, inclusion or opportunity for women and girls locally or globally. Provide craft supplies and have children design potential solutions through models, prototypes or drawings.
Play games like an equality-themed Jeopardy, charades/acting with equality vocabulary, Pictionary drawing equality concepts. Have game materials reference female empowerment facts, figures and history.
- Research and Reflect on Intersectionality:
- Create Advocacy Campaigns:
- Develop Podcasts or Zines:
- Volunteer with Women’s Organizations:
Discuss the concept of intersectionality – how gender intersects with race, class, etc. Have teens research issues through an intersectional lens and reflect on disadvantage/privilege in an essay or discussion.
Have teens work in teams to pick a gender-related issue they care about and create an advocacy campaign including informational flyers, videos, social media posts, etc. Campaign theme ideas: equal pay, girls’ education, stopping harassment, and women’s health.
Have teens create podcasts, zines, or newsletters focused on gender equity and promoting respect. They can profile barrier-breaking women, share inspirational stories, report on issues, and provide advice columns.
Have teens volunteer with local community organizations that empower women and girls. Possibilities include women’s shelters, mentorship programs, and girls’ clubs. Have them reflect on their experiences afterwards.
The wide range of thoughtful, hands-on activities suggested provide impactful ways for children of all ages to celebrate International Women’s Day by recognizing diverse contributions, fostering inclusivity, and promoting gender equality through books, crafts, research, volunteering, games, and critical discussions. Exposing youth to issues and role models’ plants seeds of empathy, compassion, and activism that blossom over their lives. International Women’s Day is an opportunity to educate children on breaking barriers, overcoming prejudices, and continuing advocacy needs, which shape their attitudes, beliefs, and actions towards equality as they grow. Celebrating this impactful cultural institution starts necessary conversations that accelerate change for generations to come. The earlier we intentionally teach children to respect all people regardless of gender; the more progress society will make towards true inclusivity and unity.
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