Ben Franklin Illustration

Ben Franklin
For Kids & Teachers

For Kids: Ben Franklin had a huge personality. He was a writer, publisher, scientist, inventor, musician, diplomat, and greatly respected by just about everybody.

He wrote Poor Richard's Almanac, which made him rich. The only book that outsold Poor Richard's Almanac in the colonies was the Bible.

He used pseudonyms (pen names) to write humorous letters that expressed his point of view on many subjects. These letters were published in various newspapers, including his own newspaper, the Pennsylvania Gazette. Some of the names he used were Silence Dogood, Alice Addertongue, Anthony Afterwit, Martha Careful, Miss Body (for the Busy Body letters), and Benevolous.

He was Deputy Postmaster General for North American under the British for over 20 years. He created new and more efficient routes that greatly reduced the time it took to received a letter.

He taught himself German, French, and Italian. He played the violin, the harp, and the guitar. He also composed music.

He served as ambassador to several countries including England, France, and Canada. The English were not that fond of him. Most Englishmen thought of American colonists as rude and coarse. Ben Franklin did not appreciate their attitude at all. But the French loved him!

Ben Franklin was also a scientist. He discovered many laws about electricity, and invented many things including the lightening rod, bifocals, street lights, swim fins, and the Franklin stove. He never patented any of his inventions. He believed that inventions should be freely shared.

Shortly after the conclusion of the Revolutionary War, Benjamin Franklin created the first United States coin in 1787. One side had a design of 13 linked circles and the statement "We Are One". On the other side, the coin said, "Mind Your Own Business".

He created the first lending library, the first hospital, the first volunteer fire department, and was the driving force behind the establishment of fire insurance.

One of the most interesting things about Franklin was his willingness to change his mind when faced with new facts. Franklin was incredibly curious and always sought new information, a personality trait that contributed greatly to his success as a spy on the side of the colonists (when he served on the committee of Secret Correspondence in 1775.)

And somehow, in his busy life, he found time to help write and sign the Declaration of Independence at the age of 70, and later, to sign the Constitution of the United States of America.

What is a founding father?

Liberty's Kids - An American in Paris (video, animated)

Liberty's Kids - Allies at Last (video, animated)

Games, Interactives, Sites for Kids about Ben Franklin

For Teachers

Ben Franklin's Many Hats

Ben Franklin - teacher's guide

See Also: Road to Revolution,
, Continental Congress