Summertime is a time to think about and celebrate our country. Maybe you are planning a special event for July 4. Maybe you are looking to supplement your regular ministries. Here are a few activities that can celebrate the red, white, and blue!
Paint a Fireworks Display
What you need: washable glitter paint (gold, silver, yellow); black paper; shallow box; marbles; plastic bowls and spoons
What you do: Cut the paper to fit in the shallow box. Pour paint into bowls. Place a marble in each bowl of paint and lay a spoon beside each bowl.
What kids do: Guide a child to lay a piece of paper in the shallow box and scoop a marble from one color of paint and drop onto his paper. He can move the box gently so the marble rolls around on the paper, making streaks of paint. Remove the marble from the box and return to the paint. The child can repeat the process with the same or different colored marble. Talk about times when he has seen fireworks. Comment that we often celebrate July 4 and other important dates in our country with fireworks.
Make a Stars-and-Stripes Collage
What you need: white paper, red masking tape, star stickers, waxed paper or laminated piece of paper, child’s scissors
What you do: Tear lengths of the masking tape and place on waxed paper or a laminated piece of paper.
What kids do: Encourage children to use the masking tape strips and stars to create a collage. They may want to make a flag or create patterns and designs. Guide children to use the scissors to cut additional lengths of masking tape. Comment that the flag is a symbol of our country, the United States. Talk about the stars and stripes on the flag.
Option: Use red paper strips and small paper stars with glue sticks to create collages.
Paint with Koosh® Balls
What you need: large pieces of white or light blue paper, box with tall sides, bright colors of tempera paint, Koosh balls, shallow pans, paint smocks
What you do: Use a box with tall sides or plan to do this activity outside. Pour paint into the shallow pans. Place a ball in each pan. Place a piece of paper in the bottom of the box.
What kids do: Guide a child to drop (not throw) the Koosh ball onto the paper. The result will resemble fireworks. Help the child retrieve the ball and place it back in the appropriate pan. Allow the child to repeat, as desired, with the same or different colors. Talk about times the children see fireworks.
Build Parade Floats
What you need: shoe box lids, index cards, markers, scissors, glue sticks, masking tape (red and blue, if available), ribbon (red, white, blue), chenille stems, peg-type clothespins, fabric scraps (especially red, white, and blue), stickers, cars, wooden people figures, CD player, CD of patriotic music
What kids do: Talk about parades and times we have parades that celebrate our country. Guide them to create a parade with the materials. They may want to use the shoe box lids as bases for floats. They can create additional people with the clothespins. Encourage creativity. Play patriotic music as children line up their parade and weave it through the center.
Have a Parade
What you need: riding toys (wagons, bicycles, tricycles, cars, etc.); red, white, and blue crepe paper; tape; small flags; white paper; star stickers; rhythm instruments
What kids do: Guide kids to stick star stickers on white paper. They can use tape to decorate the riding toys with crepe paper streamers, starry paper, and flags. Guide kids to line up and drive the vehicles in a parade. Others can use the instruments to form a “band” to march in the parade, too.
Hunt for Flags
What you need: digital camera
What kids do: Walk through your neighborhood or drive through your city and find flags. Take pictures of the flags you find. Talk about the places you find flags.
Option: Gather small flags and place them around your neighborhood or inside around the building. Kids can search for the flags and take pictures with the flags they find.
Extend: Print and mount the flags on heavyweight paper. Punch holes in the pages and insert the pages in a binder to create a book.
Pose for Patriotic Pictures
What you need: patriotic bunting, pennants, and windsocks; masking tape; red, white, and blue streamers; variety of red, white, and blue clothing; clothing with stars and stripes; “Uncle Sam” hats; patriotic visors; small flags; digital camera
What you do: Hang the bunting, pennants, and windsocks against a wall (low enough for kids to reach).
What kids do: Kids can use the masking tape and streamers to add to the patriotic backdrop. Encourage children to dress in the red, white, and blue clothing and pose for pictures in front of the patriotic decor. Take individual or group pictures, as you choose.
Extend: Use the pictures to create a poster, bulletin board display, or book.
Make Red, White, and Blue Snacks
What you need: vanilla yogurt, blueberries, strawberries, small cups, plastic spoons, plastic knives
What kids do: Cut the strawberries into pieces. Spoon some yogurt into a small cup. Add blueberries and strawberry pieces. Stir and eat.
Write Letters to the President
What you need: paper, pencils or markers, star stamps, stamp pads, large envelope
What you do: Print the president’s address on the large envelope: The White House,
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W., Washington, DC 20500
What kids do: Talk about the President. Tell the children that he is the leader of our country. Children can use the star stamp and paper to make stationery. Guide them to write letters to the President. Or print their words as they dictate them to you. Place the letters in the large envelope. (Include a cover letter with information about your church and kids.)
Note: You can find out more about contacting the White House at http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/write-or-call.
What patriotic activities have you done with your kids?