Birthdays of heroic leaders give us powerful opportunities to introduce our children to some of the wonderful men and women who helped make America great.
Abraham Lincoln was born in Kentucky on February 12th, 1809, 210 years ago today.
As a young boy he enjoyed walking, running, wrestling, reading, and doing math.
Rising from the humblest of beginnings, he was elected President of the United States at a time of extraordinary national turmoil and division. His leadership was a key factor in the eventual unity and restoration that took place. He was a man with a mission, and that made all the difference.
WARNING: For parents with young children, the History Channel video immediately below has a dramatic reenactment of President Lincoln's assassination between about 3:00 and 3:14. You might want to preview the video to see if it's appropriate for your children.
Abraham Lincoln’s Life
- Timeline of Lincoln’s Life
- Young Abe Lincoln
- Mini Biography (3:54)
- The Story of Abraham Lincoln
- Abraham Lincoln’s Autobiography
- Lincoln and Depression
- Quotations of Abraham Lincoln
- Lincoln and the Little Girl
- Training for the Presidency
- Honest Abe
- The Wisdom of Solomon
- George Pickett's Friend
- Lincoln the Lawyer
- Mr. Lincoln and the Bible
- The Springfield Farewell Address
- First Inaugural Address
- The Gettysburg Address (2:49, 2:32, 5:53)
- “House Divided” Speech
- Second Inaugural Address
- Lincoln's Most Important Speech (3:02)
Possible Activities to Enjoy on President Lincoln's Birthday
(Choose the activity, or activities, that you think could be fun and meaningful for your family.)
- Young Abe enjoyed wrestling, walking, running, and an early form of baseball. Spend some time enjoying one of these, or another sports activity your family enjoys. Talk about the importance of wholesome recreation.
- Abe loved cats. He adopted orphaned kittens, and enjoyed playing with them. He also enjoyed dogs and horses, and his family had two goats when they lived in the White House. You could spend some time enjoying your family pet(s), get a kitten for your family, spend some time with horses, or visit a local pet store.
- Abraham Lincoln loved collecting and telling jokes and stories. Each family member could find one or more stories or jokes to share with each other.
- Abe's favorite hobby was to read and learn. Have a family read-a-thon complete with fun snacks and soft pillows to relax. Abe loved to read so much that he sometimes borrowed books from others. You could go to the library and "borrow" some fun books to read -- maybe something about Lincoln -- or read some of the stories above.
- Abe's favorite foods were fruit salad, cheese, and crackers. You could enjoy these for a fun snack while you participate in your activities.
- Abraham Lincoln had more than his share of struggles and failures. You could watch "Famous Failures" and talk about how our failures can help teach us what we need to know to succeed. Or you could tell a couple of experiences Lincoln had when he struggled with depression, and discuss how our struggles can help us grow.
- When he was president, Abraham Lincoln wrote a number of speeches and addresses that expressed his feelings. You could memorize or recite one of his speeches, like The Gettysburg Address, or The Emancipation Proclamation, or you could write something that expresses your feelings about America.
- One of the great accomplishments of Abraham Lincoln's life was helping to bring freedom to the slaves. You could watch this short video and talk about why that was so important.
- As an adult, President Lincoln enjoyed going to plays. You could go to a play together, or enjoy a modern day variation -- go to a movie, or watch a good video at home. You could include this one minute summary of President Lincoln's life.
- Abe enjoyed people and loved to visit with friends and neighbors. You could visit some friends or invite them to join you for some activities in your home. You could even bake a birthday cake and have a birthday party for Abraham Lincoln where you tell a little about him (see above), enjoy a few activities, sing Happy Birthday, and have cake and ice cream.