Fostering Patriotism on the Fourth of July
What does it mean to love America, and how can parents instill national pride in their kids? Learn how to make Independence Day fun and festive while teaching a little history along the way!
Many neighborhoods and towns have Fourth of July celebrations. Sharing the day with other families helps build a sense of community around the holiday. Lisa Kaeser says that in Garrett Park, Maryland, where she and her family live, Independence Day is the single biggest celebration of the year. “The whole day is devoted to family-friendly activities, from a fun run in the morning, a big, old-fashioned parade with floats and other costumes in the afternoon, and a town picnic with a band in the evening,” she explains. “The entire town is decorated in red, white, and blue, and the whole community gathers together which makes it a pretty big deal.”
Festive Fun with Arts and Crafts
Jodi Dzuray of Columbia, Maryland, gets crafty with her four-year-old son, Jon, to get him excited about upcoming holidays. In the past, she has made American flags (glue red strips onto white construction paper, add a blue square to the upper left corner, finish with small bits of white tissue paper crumpled up to make the starts or just use star stickers) and Liberty Bells (let the child decorate a paper cup, have him add a “crack” to it, tie a small jingle bell to a string and secure to bottom of cup). “Jon loves to decorate the house with the crafts he has made, and it’s a great way for us to spend the morning together while his older sister is in school,” Dzuray says.
Sing Patriotic Songs
Music teachers know that lyrics help teach children without them even realizing that they are learning. Just before the holiday is a good time to bring out some of your favorite patriotic songs like “America the Beautiful,” “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” “God Bless America,” “The Star Spangled Banner,” and “Stars and Stripes Forever.” Even if your child is too young to sing along or doesn’t understand the lyrics, you’ll be exposing her to a very important part of the United States’ history. For younger children, try changing the words to some of their favorite “kiddie songs” to reflect the upcoming holiday. For example:
On the Fourth of July
(sung to the tune of London Bridge)
It’s our country’s birthday,
It’s our country’s birthday,
On the Fourth of July!
On Independence Day
(sung to the tune of Mary Had a Little Lamb)
Fireworks go snap, snap, snap!
Crack, crack, crack!
Zap, zap, zap!
Fireworks make me clap, clap, clap
On Independence Day!
By taking an active role in educating our children about patriotic holidays, we can foster their excitement over celebrating the red, white and blue. This year, I’m hoping that by using some of these techniques, Abigail will have as much enthusiasm for the Fourth of July as she does for all the other holidays.
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