As an educator and parent, it’s fun to celebrate holidays with our children in a traditional way, but I like to make sure children also understand the historical significance of each celebration. Here are four 4th of July activities to teach your kids about Independence Day.
1. Understand the National Anthem: They hear it sung before sporting events and at school functions, but do children really know the meaning behind the “Star Spangled Banner”? Practice singing the song with your children and then look at it in writing. You can visit the Smithsonian website to learn more about the historic significance of the “Star Spangled Banner”.
2. Patriotic crafts: Children of all ages enjoy craft activities that help them understand and celebrate the holidays. 4th of July is a time to embrace patriotism. Check out this collection of patriotic crafts, with ideas to make a American Flag Handprint, Craft Stick White House, Hands Together Flag, George Washington Craft, Barack Obama Puppet, President Masks, and Handprint Bald Eagle.
3. Share stories: Visit your local library or book store and search for books on all different topics related to Independence Day. You may want to search for books on former presidents, the history of the American flag, fireworks, or the different branches of the government. Try to find books that are both historically accurate and filled with engaging images to grab your child’s attention.
4. Visit historic locations: Do you live near a National Park? What about your city hall? A historic landmark? Veteran’s monument? A nice university or maybe even an older restaurant? Show your children the historical significance of locations near you. Understanding our country’s short yet rich history can lead to great discussions about America’s independence. And if you cannot visit a nearby location, take a virtual tour of places like Mt. Rushmore and the Statue of Liberty on the internet.
While you enjoy your hot dogs and fireworks this Independence Day, remember to celebrate America’s freedom from Great Britain by sharing our country’s history with your children. What 4th of July activities will your family be participating in this year?