Constitution Day 2019: When Was the Constitution Written? Facts and Activities for Children

It's Constitution Day, a date which commemorates the formation and the signing of the U.S. constitution on September 17, 1787. The date also recognizes all who are born in the U.S. or by naturalization, have become citizens.

Despite the day being celebrated every year, many Americans still struggle to identify key components of the document governing the country. According to a survey conducted earlier this year by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, only 25 percent of Americans knew how many amendments there are to the U.S. Constitution.

Only 15 percent of those surveyed knew when the U.S. Constitution was written, even on a multiple-choice exam similar to the citizenship exam, with most incorrectly thinking it occurred in 1776. So here is all you need to know about the day:

What is the U.S. constitution?

The U.S. Constitution established America's national government and fundamental laws, and set out certain basic rights for its citizens.

The United States Constitution was written between May and September 1787. It was signed on September 17, 1787, by delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia.

Delegates put together a plan for a stronger federal government with three branches - executive, legislative and judicial - along with a system of checks and balances.

The Bill of Rights were ten amendments guaranteeing basic individual protections - such as the freedom of speech - that became part of the constitution in 1791.

Artist Junius Brutus Stearns's (1810–1885) imagined view of George Washington addressing the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia of 1787, where the U.S. Constitution was signed. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts/Public domain

Five facts about the U.S. Constitution

The original Constitution is on display at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Constitution was written in the same Pennsylvania State House where the Declaration of Independence was signed and where George Washington received his commission as Commander of the Continental Army.

The first national "Thanksgiving Day" was originally created by George Washington on November 26, 1789, as a way of "giving thanks" for the Constitution.

At 81, Benjamin Franklin was the oldest delegate at the Constitutional Convention.

The Constitution is comprised of a preamble, seven articles and 27 amendments.

How to celebrate Constitution Day with children

Head to the National Constitution Center

The National Constitution Center in Philadelphia hosts an annual Constitution Day celebration every year. Head to the museum for talks, discussions, craft projects, games, birthday cake and more.

There will also be historical character "meet and greets", where visitors can interact with famous figures from history, including from the reconstruction period, like Abraham Lincoln. Who said learning couldn't be fun?

Try the Constitution Day quiz

The U.S. Constitution was written in 1787 by a group of 55 men with one purpose and many different personalities. Discover which Founding Father you're most like at the Constitution Center's online quiz:

Try the voting game

Available on the National Constitution Center's website, kids can learn all about voting rights throughout history in this online game:

Get the app

The Interactive Constitution app is designed to help people learn all about the U.S. constitution and how it was created. It's available for free in the Apple and Android stores.

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