Next Monday is Memorial Day and whenever I do any patriotic posts I consult with my husband since he’s American and a former Air Force Officer. I on the other hand am Canadian. He explained to me that Memorial Day is really more about the start of summer but I can’t help but think that we as parents and educators should at least take some time out to honor those who served and lost their lives for us. My son is all about military history and as I explore this history with him I am reminded how much we all have to be thankful for. While you craft with your kids try to find ways to fit in some of those lessons at whatever level they are at… and then celebrate summer . Here are some of my favorite patriotic crafts .
Memorial Day Bracelets
Flag F Letter Craft
Easy Red White & Blue Wreath
Marching Flag Craft
Star Cookie Cutter Prints
Sponge Painted American Flag
American Flag Place Mat
American Flag Cupcakes
Red, White & Blue Collages
Star Rice Crispy Treats
Red White and Blue Sensory Bin
Crayon Resist Flag Craft
When you think of all the things the United States celebrates on the 4th of July independence and freedom are at the heart of it all. So as a fun but still oh so patriotic craft we made these freedom collages. The kids were free to use what they wanted with the only stipulation being that they use red, white and blue. For my kids they do well with fun exciting set ups. The term invitation to play is used in early childhood circles and I often think I set up invitations to create. This was hands off for me other than being a gopher for supplies. While my son created we talked about the revolutionary war ( he is a wee bit obsessed with military history) and while my daughter did I talked a little about what she was doing but really just observed. Here is how we did it.
- Gather your materials. You can use anything. I asked my son what he wanted me to put out and then I added a few more things. We had paint, a canvas, glue,scissors, pipe cleaners (love these sparkly ones ) , buttons, paper, plastic lids, and sticky back foam.
- Step everything up ready for your patriotic artist.
- Create. There are so many possible lessons in open art like this let your child direct the creation and the lessons will follow.
- They both started with paint. And we stumbled upon a lesson in color mixing with my daughter.
- Fine motor skills got a good work out while they peeled the back off the sticky back foam.
- Even though my kids did this project separately ( my son and I did it while my daughter was napping and when she woke she wanted to make one too). There wasn’t much difference other than putting the smaller buttons in the jar and leaving out only the larger ones she won’t try to eat.
- Let dry and display.
I stand by that title, this really is the easy and cheap too, but still a super cute 4th of July craft . We used felt but you could use fabric if you have it on hand. My son was busy playing knights with his grandparents visiting from Texas but I think he could have made this with me. It’s a great patterning lesson, though I would guess most 5 and under would tire of it after a few minutes so make this a group endeavor if need be.
This is the first Uncle Sam craft we’ve ever made. Being Canadian I don’t have a great reserve of creative ideas for 4th of July but after brainstorming with my mother in law and looking at my supplies available we settled on making an Uncle Sam paper bag puppet. It’s easy to adapt to many different ages and the end result was so awesome!Oh and if you want to sneak in some learning this craft is full of all sorts of shapes.
- Gather your materials, You will need a paper bag ( ours was a blue one so we also use some paper bag for his face), googly eyes, red, white and blue construction paper, glue, a circle, heart and star paper punches and scissors.
- Start by cutting out the following shapes. Depending on your child’s age and ability make fewer of these for little guys and for older ones have them cut out their own. We used 2 red triangles for the bow tie, a blue square and red rectangle for his hat, and circle for his face. I made smaller rectangles to make his hat striped but it was too much for my guy.
- Punch out the circles and stars from the white paper. My son loves using these punches but if you don’t have one or a child who is giddy to use it try cotton balls! If you are using paper punches if you put down a fabric place mat it helps stop runaway paper from getting loose.
- Punch out or cut a heart.
- Time to add glue. Make sure you are only gluing on the bottom so you can use the bag as a puppet.
- Add the face , hat, eyes and more glue for the beard. He was super fast and didn’t need my help so my step by step pictures are a wee bit garbled! This is the look he gave me when I begged him to pause for a picture.
- Use the circles to make the beard. Add the triangles for the bow tie and heart for a mouth.
- Add the brim of the hat and the stars!
- Let dry.
My Favorite Book About The 4th of July
Apple Pie Fourth of Julyby Janet S. Wong is an awesome book. I am always awed by authors who can tackle complicated “adult” issues in the pages of a children’s book successfully. In this case the issue is 1st generation identity and immigration, at least that’s my take. The little girl in this book is sulking around her parent’s store on the 4th of July. They are busy making Chinese food for customers she is sure won’t come, who would want Chinese food on such an American holiday is her rational. Of course there are layers about her connection to her ancestral culture and her own national pride. As a proud owner of a green card and a Canadian passport I relate to this story, sure the differences are as deep or as obvious to an outsider when this book ended with fireworks I got tingles of pride for my adopted country. Fantastic book- and my son liked it too.
We have lots of other 4th of July book reviews do you have a favorite?
Red, Blue and White play dough: we used our favorite play dough recipe. We also added glitter to the white after they played with it the first time. The recipe is super simple: 1 cup water, 1 cup salt, 1 cup flour, 2 TBSP oil and coloring( for this i used sugar free jello! smells so yummy! but you can use food paste or coloring, kool aid or paint.) stir all the ingredients till smooth,cook on med heat till it pulls away from the
pan, cool for a bit, knead still smooth and play!
Shannon blogs at Welcome To Our Wonderland where she share’s books and sometimes activities to go with the children’s books. She taught prek for 11 years and become a stay at home mom 10 years ago when her oldest was born.