A 4th of July Celebration
By Fran Wisniewski
Celebrate the 4th of July with your preschoolers!
The following historical information has been written in very simple story form with young children in mind. I hope your little one enjoys this brief story about the birth of America!
A Reason to Celebrate!
Two hundred years ago, before the United States was born, King George III of England, told the people who lived in the English colonies in America that they would have to pay taxes. That meant the people would have to pay money to the King of England.
The people living in the colonies didn't think this was fair. Some of them got together to help the king understand what was good for the people of the colonies and what they thought was fair.
Unfortunately, the king would hear none of it and sent soldiers to make the colonists pay taxes to England.
The people of the colonies didn't like this and got together again to talk a little more. They decided that they wouldn't listen to the English king any longer! Some of the colonists signed a very important piece of paper that would separate England from the Colonies forever. The name of that paper was "The Declaration of Independence" and it was adopted on July 4th 1776.
On July 4th we celebrate the birth of our country, the United States of America. So this July 4th say, "Happy Birthday America!"
Read our nation's Declaration of Independence
Celebrating our nation's independence is a terrific way to show our children that we are grateful for our freedom.
Hats Off For the Fourth of July!
Does your little one love parades? "Hats Off For the Fourth of July" written by Harriet Ziefert, will take you through one town's grand Fourth of July parade! Who will be in the parade? What will they do? When do the hats come off? What will happen when the parade is over? I hope you'll read this fun book and find out!
Before reading, "Hats Off For the Fourth of July," have your little one make a hat so that they can take it off at just the right time during the story!
It's easier to see how each fold is made then it is to explain, so please visit the following website for a diagram on how to make a, "Patriotic Newspaper Hat." Your little one can make this hat with a little help from an adult or older child.
Once your child has finished making their hat, let them decorate it any way they want. Don't forget the craft feathers!
Your child can wear his or her hat to a local 4th of July parade. Find a directory of Independence Day parades and firework displays here.
You can see a photo slideshow of America's Independence Day Parade that takes place annually in our nation's capital, Washington, D.C.
Let Freedom Ring!
Once your little one has heard some of the history behind the 4th of July, why not help them celebrate our nation's freedom with some fun activities and a yummy desert that they can make with a little help from a grown up!
Make the American Flag!
Young children can make this flag with a little help from an adult to measure and cut. A paper cutter will help cut the pieces needed faster but a ruler and scissor will work just as well.
- 5x5 Square of blue construction paper (star box)
- 7 ½ inch strips of red construction paper (stripes)
- 1 piece of white construction paper
Directions: First, have your child glue all the red strips to the white paper leaving a space between each strip to form red and white stripes (there should be 13 rows in all beginning and ending in red). Next, have them glue the 5x5 blue square to the upper left hand corner of the paper over the stripes. Decorate the blue square with 50 stars and hang it on a wall or door.
Note: Let your child know that each of the 13 stripes represent the original 13 colonies and the 50 stars represent each one of the 50 states in the USA. The color red in our flag represents vigor and bravery, the white represents purity and innocence, and the blue represents vigilance, perseverance and justice.
Happy Birthday America!
Mary Pope Osborne wrote a wonderful story titled, "Happy Birthday America" about a family of eight and their patriotic celebration of the Fourth of July at "Memorial Park." This is a great story to read to your little one before and after your own July 4th celebration!
Our National Anthem!
Did you know that our national anthem was first written as a poem? Francis Scott Key wrote a poem titled, "The Defense of Fort McHenry." The poem was later set to the religious hymn, "To Anacreon in Heaven." After the poem was set to music, it was renamed "The Star Spangled Banner"!
Sing the national anthem with your child! The words and music can be found by visiting: Star Spangled Banner
After listening to the "Star Spangled Banner," choose some of the following activities to help your little one realize how much fun the Fourth of July can be!
Make Fun Firecracker Decorations!
What you'll need:
Note: To stay with the patriotic theme, use red, white and blue materials for this project.
- Toilet paper roll
- Tissue paper cut into 2 ½ inch circles (grown-up's job)
- Pipe cleaners
- Construction paper cut into 4 ½ x 6 inch pieces (grown-up's job)
- Tape or glue
- Stars (stickers or foamies)
- Glitter, markers or crayons (optional)
Directions: Have your child take a tissue paper circle and place it over one opening of the paper tissue roll and tape it on. Next, take a piece of construction paper and tape or glue it around the tube. Use a pipe cleaner to poke a small hole in the top of tissue paper. Finally, insert the pipe cleaner for the "fuse".
Have your child decorate it any way they like with glitter, crayons, markers and stars. Help them make a whole bunch to put around the house or yard!
Let's Make Some Noise!
Caution: This project contains small parts. Adult supervision required.
Paper Plate Shaker
Note: To stay with the patriotic theme, use red, white and blue materials for this project.
- Paper plate
- Streamers or wide ribbon cut into 9 inch lengths
- Crayons, markers or stickers
Directions: Have your little one decorate the bottom of a paper plate any way they want to. When they're finished, fold the plate in half and allow them to staple the end of the streamers between the outer-edges of the folded paper plate. Before the last few streamers are attached and the two ends are completely closed, add a handful of beans. (Be sure that the staples are close enough together so that the beans won't come out.) When completed, encourage your child to dance around to their own beat as they shake their noisemakers!
For another fun and noisy activity visit: Fourth of July Noisemakers
Make a Nighttime Fireworks Display!
This simple craft is a great way to allow your little one's creativity to flow and the end results really sparkle! ;)
- Black or blue construction paper
- Glitter glue in various colors
- Toothpick or Q-tip
Directions: Allow your little one to put various size spots (globs) of glitter glue on top of dark construction paper and spread it out with a toothpick/Q-tip to make long thin lines coming out of the glue (it should look like a firework burst). After doing a few of the bursts, set aside to dry. When completed, it should look like a nighttime firework display on paper!
Variation: Use regular white glue and glitter for this project instead of glitter glue.
Celebrating Independence Day!
The 4th of July takes place during the summer when it is hot outside. Cool down with this delicious and nutritious holiday shake!
Make a Berry Patriotic Shake!
Here is what you'll need:
- ½ C. Milk
- ½ C. Yogurt
- 7 large Strawberries
- 2 T Sugar or honey (or sweeten to taste)
- 1 tsp vanilla (optional)
- 1 C, Ice
- Clear glass or plastic cups
- 2-3 Blueberries
- Whipped cream
Directions: Help your child to measure and count out all the ingredients and then let them add the milk, yogurt, strawberries, vanilla, and ice to the blender. Mix until smooth. Pour into clear glasses (or cups) and garnish with whipped cream and a sprinkle of blueberries. Serve with a straw and enjoy. This recipe makes a little over 3 healthy 1-cup servings. For a more frozen desert, freeze the strawberries ahead of time!
Note: This can be made with any kind of fruit but for a patriotic feel, use red fruits such as strawberries, raspberries or cherries, blue fruit such as blueberries or blackberries or white fruit such as bananas or pears for the shake. Garnish with alternate fruit colors to keep the red, white and blue theme going!
For a non-dairy version of this delicious shake, please use soymilk instead of cow's milk, soft tofu in place of yogurt and a non-dairy topping instead of whipped cream. Adjust sweetness to personal taste.
Caution: Please be aware of food allergies and note that honey is not recommended for children 2 and under!
I hope everyone has a fun and safe 4th of July!
If you are looking for more fun activities to do with your children this 4th of July, please visits the following sites:
- DLTK - This site has some really wonderful patriotic craft ideas for children. You'll also find some coloring pages.
- Family Fun - If you are looking for craft ideas, recipes, game ideas or party ideas check this site out!
- Enchanted Learning - Enchanted Learning always has great craft ideas for any holiday and Independence Day is no different! You'll find a wind sock, pinwheel, 3-D star and much more!
Happy 4th of July!
Independence Day Resources:
- History of the 4th
- Learn more about the American Flag
- Fourth of July Music & Songs
- Fourth of July Coloring Pictures and Reading Activities
- Children's Patriotic Poems
About Fran Wisniewski
Frances Wisniewski is a self-educated researcher, writer, author, curriculum developer, and homeschool mom of three wonderful children. She believes that childhood is the best time for exploring the world and that parents make the best guides. Fran's website, http://www.franw.com/ offers resources for those who enjoy learning through interest-initiated, hands-on experiences utilizing whatever is in the natural environment.