by Deborah Gary
During the first week of summer vacation, young people can start right in their own neighborhoods. In their individual communities, youth can participate in walking tours with a neighborhood elder—a person familiar with the overall history and evolution of the local community. During these tours, young people can make special note of and ask questions about cultural and commercial establishments (past and present) owned and operated by African Americans. At the conclusion of this activity, various contests, word puzzles, etc. can be created that reienforces what everyone has learned
During the second week, our youth can be encouraged to pay special attention to the many African American inventions that they see or come into contact with during their daily activities. Some of these many inventions are: the traffic light, ironing board, egg beater, ice cream scoop, car gear shift, light bulb filament, fax machine, computer micro chip and street side mailbox.
Youngsters can find and draw pictures and/ of these inventions as well as read entertaining books about these innovations. As a ‘bonus’ activity, youngsters can be urged to find ten things invented by George Washington Carver.
After this is done, our youth can try to think of something special they may want to create or construct this summer. Puzzles are fun and challenging and help sharpen the brain’s cognitive thought processes that are essential for careers based on science, technology, and mathematics. Philadelphia native Ronald McNair, one of only a select number of African-American astronauts, flew on the space shuttle.
Young people could be encouraged to try building a 3D version of the shuttle. We should remind our youth that they are descendants of various ethnic groups from Africa who gave the world many cultural and scientific gifts. These are just a few ideas parents can use with their children this summer. Deborah Gary is the owner of Color Book Gallery, a multicultural children’s bookstore located at 6553 Germantown Avenue in Philadelphia. Our bookstore offers many African -American history exhibits targeted at both children and adults. For these and our other activities please call us at 215-844-4200 or visit or website at http://www.colorbookgallery.com