Happy Presidents Day! Here are some fun facts about our earliest US presidents, along with a free PDF download of Presidents Day activity sheets, to hopefully spark discussions in your family on this national holiday.
Fun Facts about Presidents Day
- The popular Lincoln Logs® toy is named after President Abraham Lincoln’s log cabin childhood home in Illinois.
- The White House in Washington, DC, was not always the president’s home. George Washington lived in New York and Philadelphia. John Adams, the second president, moved into the unfinished “white house” in 1800, and in 1801 Jefferson opened the house to public visitors. It wasn’t named the White House until 100 years later when Theodore Roosevelt named it due to—you guessed it—the white color it was painted!
- Thomas Jefferson learned and spoke six languages during his lifetime and was a dedicated writer, penning more than 19,000 letters! He also negotiated the purchase of the 529,000,000-acre Louisiana Territory from France and asked Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to explore this newly acquired land.
- John Adams’ son (John Quincy Adams) became the sixth president in 1824, after his father served as the second.
- Three past US presidents died on July 4, the historic day which celebrates the signing of the Declaration of Independence. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died on the same day: July 4, 1826 (the Declaration’s 50th anniversary), and James Monroe died five years after in 1831.
- James Madison was only 5 feet, 4 inches tall, a whole foot shorter than Lincoln. He also was the first student to attend Princeton for a “graduate” degree, which wasn’t even a formal program until nearly 100 years later!
- Ulysses S. Grant was caught speeding in Washington, DC, with his horse and buggy. This eighteenth president of the United States was arrested and given a $20 speeding ticket for the offense, a high charge in those days!
Why Do We Celebrate Presidents Day?
For many years, George Washington’s birthday (February 22, 1732) and Abraham Lincoln’s birthday (February 12, 1809) were celebrated as separate holidays to honor our first and sixteenth presidents, who many consider to be the most famous of all the presidents. However, with the passing of the Uniform Federal Holidays Act of 1971, the two holidays were combined into one Presidents Day.
Did you know that not all states celebrate Presidents Day? A quick internet search can help you find out if your state officially recognizes this federal holiday.
Many states recognize Presidents Day in honor of Washington, Lincoln and other presidents’ birthdays each February on the third Monday of the month. Some states choose to celebrate this national holiday in the later months of the year, near the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Others choose to honor Thomas Jefferson, the country’s third president and founding father from Virginia.
There are so many more fun facts to learn about the US presidents! These are just a few of the fascinating stories of our former leaders. Presidents Day is a time to remember the sacrifices and triumphs of those who came before us, as each contributed to building the country we know and love.
In honor of this special day, don’t forget to get our exclusive (and FREE!) PDF download with a variety of Presidents Day printable activities. Simply click this link to download yours now!