These craft projects of patriotic symbols come to us from guest blogger Julie Kieras at HappyStrongHome.com.
America is a land of great variety – every state has its own bird, flag, tree, flower, and landmarks.
With our country’s rich history, we have many people, buildings, and symbols that express our nation’s heritage of freedom. In time for the national holiday of Labor Day, I took a weekend to let my kids explore some common patriotic symbols.
To help my son get a perspective on the size and diversity of the United States, we worked on a United States map puzzle that shows each state’s most significant features (including most of the patriotic symbols we were about to work on!).
Symbols are extremely memorable for younger children because they are visual. Kids who can’t understand words like “independence” and “freedom” quite yet, can understand how eagles are free to fly. Or how a bell is a joyful sound of celebration.
Teaching the patriotic symbols of America is a stepping stone for later comprehension of our nation’s history and the deeper meanings behind each symbol.
Before our craft, I asked my son why we ring bells – one of his answers was that bells warn people of an emergency. So true! I explained we also ring bells to celebrate – like when America became a nation!
We created our own Liberty Bells with simple household objects:
- Toilet Paper Roll
- Paper or Styrofoam Cup
- Aluminum foil
- Pipe Cleaner
- Craft Bell
DIRECTIONS: Fold foil over cup. Fold pipe cleaner in half, thread one or both ends through bell loop and twist to secure. Poke hole in top of cup and push doubled pipe cleaner through. Pull pipe cleaner open and insert cardboard roll. Tighten cleaner inside the cup.
As we assembled our bells, I told the boys about how happy Americans were to be free, so they wanted to ring a bell to celebrate. Unfortunately, that bell later cracked, so it could no longer be rung.
Lady Liberty, she stands in New York harbor, welcoming people to freedom!
To show how the statue turned from coppery brown to green through oxidation, we created a masked-off painted version of the statue. We even decorated with glitter glue with a sparkly golden torch!
- Brown Construction Paper
- Statue of Liberty Coloring Sheet
- Green Paint
- Glitter Glue – optional
DIRECTIONS: Cut out the picture from coloring sheet of Lady Liberty (easily available with Google search). Tape onto brown construction paper, Paint inside cut-out area with green paint. After the paint dries, remove the “mask” to reveal the green Lady Liberty!
THE BALD EAGLE
Our national bird, the bald eagle, is found throughout North America. My boys were never more enthusiastic to be running around the backyard than with these puppets!
- Paper lunch bag
- Brown construction paper
- Paint (white and yellow)
- Googly eyes (optional, you could paint or draw them in)
- Glitter Glue (optional)
DIRECTIONS: Paint the folded over bottom of the bag white (this is the head). Trace child’s hands on construction paper and cut out. Glue to sides of bag. With fingers, add talons and a beak. Glue on googly eyes. Decorate with additional paint and glitter glue if desired.
THE AMERICAN FLAG
Our flag has rich history… and a lot of guidelines! My boys are toddler and preschooler, so I kept it basic. We talked about 50 stars and 13 stripes on the flag, and the three colors: Red, White, and Blue.
DIRECTIONS: Finger paint a large rectangle for the “canton,” then paint 7 stripes of red onto the white paint paper. Allow to dry. Press white paint thumbprint stars into the blue field. Decorate with glitter glue if desired.
Four presidents carved out of granite stone is pretty impressive! I showed the kids our granite countertop and we talked about how difficult it would be to carve such hard stone.
Then we talked about the four presidents – Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Roosevelt and I showed them coins representing each president. (NOTE: The dime shows Franklin D. Roosevelt, not Theodore Roosevelt who is actually on Mount Rushmore, but… sometimes you have to improvise! There is a South Dakota state quarter that shows a partial view of Mount Rushmore if you can find one!).
For this craft, we colored mountains and added coin rubbings to create our own Mount Rushmore!
- Manila Paper
- Brown Crayon
DIRECTIONS: Tape the coins onto the tabletop in the order of their appearance on Mount Rushmore. Place paper on top. Rub with edge of crayon until president heads appear. Draw mountains around the heads.
Crafting the patriotic symbols of our nation as a hands-on learning experience helped my boys remember the details behind each icon. The craft items will keep the discussion of our nation’s symbols and history going throughout the coming weeks.
For more information about patriotic symbols, I compiled a FREE ebook: Exploring Patriotic Symbols of America. It includes facts and details about each symbol as a resource for caregivers of preschool to early elementary children.
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