Some fun and interesting Teddy Roosevelt facts for kids are: as a kid, he was skinny and sick all the time, thanks to his asthma. Being so sick, he wasn’t able to go to school with the other kids, so he had to learn from tutors who came to his house. When he was only nine years old, he brought home the head of a seal to study it, and made his own ‘Roosevelt Natural History Museum’ in his parents’ house. He kept adding to his museum until he graduated from college, when he donated it to the Smithsonian. When he was a young man, his dad told him he should exercise to make his body strong. After a gym was installed at their house, young Teddy did pushups and sit-ups, ran, and did other exercises every single day. One day, when he was 13, his dad was teaching him to shoot a rifle, but Teddy was having trouble. Finally, his dad realized Teddy needed glasses! They had his glasses made – they were very thick glasses, which made Teddy feel embarrassed – but now he could shoot his rifle, and became an expert shot!
To best describe Theodore Roosevelt for kids, it’s important to start with some facts about him as an adult. When he was fully grown, Theodore wore a size 4 or 5 men’s shoe, which is pretty small for a man. He was only 5 feet 9 inches tall, which is just a little shorter than average. Weighing in around 220 pounds as an adult, he wasn’t a skinny, sick kid anymore! He liked to spend time with his six kids, rowing, hunting, swimming, and canoeing. They also liked sports such as tennis, boxing, and judo. No sitting around watching TV for the Roosevelt family. One time, in November 1902, Teddy went on a bear hunting trip in Mississippi. After hours of hunting, he was the only one who hadn’t shot anything, so some helpers caught a baby bear and tied it to a tree so he could shoot it and take it home as a trophy. But Theodore said ‘no way’ would he shoot the poor bear, who was already hurt and scared. When reporters heard about this, they drew a cartoon of him refusing to shoot the little bear, and a man named Morris Michtom made a little stuffed toy bear for children, calling it “Teddy’s Bear”. And that’s where the teddy bear so many kids sleep with at night came from.
A good Theodore Roosevelt biography for kids is Theodore Roosevelt for Kids: His Life and Times, 21 Activities by Kerrie Logan Hollihan. Published in 2010, it was named a Smithsonian Notable Book for Children for its interesting and accurate portrayal of the great 26th President. The age range for the book is nine years and up, and includes 21 hands-on activities to further involve children in the discovery of American history, such as seeing the effects erosion can create, using a camera to go on a ‘big game hunt’ and making teddy bears. There is also a timeline and reading list, as well as plenty of facts and pictures.