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Naturally Educational » 0-3 (Babies and Toddlers), 3-5 (Preschool), 3-5 (Preschool), 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergartners), Summer » Patriotic Play!

Patriotic Play!

We had a “patriotic play date” today in anticipation of America’s Birthday.

We began by talking a little bit about the Fourth of July and Independence Day.  Most of the (verbal) kids associated the day with fireworks, parades, and summer foods like watermelon, corn on the cob, and ice cream.  Our six year old friend knew that it had something to do with the Revolutionary War.  For the younger kids I explained that we were once a part of another country and then declared our independence.  So, on July Fourth we celebrate the birthday of the United States of America.

We opened by singing “The Star Spangled Banner” and then “You’re a Grand Old Flag”.

Next, we read Henry’s Fourth of July–a cute little book about a possum who gets to stay up late to see the fireworks for the first time.  I couldn’t find this at Amazon but we picked up our copy at the local library.

We read a few other books while our crafts dried:

America the Beautiful is a gorgeous illustration of the Katherine Lee Bates poem was recommended by Allie at No Time for Flashcards (check out her other suggestions for books about the USA).  Both the kids and the moms enjoyed the striking images which evoke WPA posters while remaining fresh and inspiring.

Summer Beat, by Betsy Franco, is about summer in general but has a fun fireworks display at the end.  This book explores the rhythms of summer in onomatopoeic verse.  The kids really related to the breezy feeling of summer freedom.

I’ve noticed there is a dearth of books actually about Independence Day and its meaning for kids under six.  Any recommendations?

After our opening circle, we made a firework craft.

We use the “1812 Overture” for our inspiration music!

We tried two approaches:

Fireworks – Straw “Blow” Painting

I was struggling with this until Veronique at Little Elephants came to my rescue and pointed me to her Blow Painting tutorial.

  1. Take a piece of black or navy blue paper.
  2. Drop a blob of red, white or blue tempera paint onto the paper.
  3. Dribble a few drops of water onto the blob (the part I was missing).
  4. Blow the blob around the paper to make tendrils that look like fireworks. (My tip: Get really close with the straw and blow directly down into the blob of paint. Spin the paper around to get a good angle.)
  5. Sprinkle on glitter and/or use glitter paint pens to trace the fireworks. (Contrasting glitter or silver or gold glitter works really well)
  6. Repeat for the other colors.

Fireworks – Hand Print Paintings (adapted, in part, by this craft on No Time for Flashcards)

  1. Put out paper plates of red, white, and blue paint.
  2. Have kids place their hands in the paint and then make hand prints with their fingers splayed.
  3. Sprinkle on glitter and/or use glitter paint pens to trace the fireworks. (Contrasting glitter or silver or gold glitter works really well)
  4. Repeat for the other colors.

After our fireworks, we decorated maracas from Oriental Trading with wood markers and then marched in a parade to “Stars and Stripes Forever” and other marching selections.

We closed our circle with stories and a few more songs, including “This Land is Your Land, This Land is Our Land.”

Our family has had a difficult month so I didn’t pull red, white and blue snacks together–but if I had the time I think that strawberries, blueberries and whipped cream would have been a perfect healthy treat!

How are you celebrating Independence Day with your kids?

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Written by

Candace Lindemann, Yale, BA, Harvard Graduate School of Education, EdM, is an educational consultant and published writer. She enjoys new learning experiences with her children, ages 6 and 4 and 1.5.

Filed under: 0-3 (Babies and Toddlers), 3-5 (Preschool), 3-5 (Preschool), 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergartners), Summer · Tags: , ,

2 Responses to "Patriotic Play!"

  1. Tonya says:

    This is great. Easy, fun and I have all the supplies.