It’s time to celebrate the 4th of July with our families. Cookout plans have been made, the flags are up, patriotic recipes are planned for parties and even red, white and blue shirts are ready to wear. However, there is one key element that’s especially important for our kids – helping them to understand the history of this special day. Here are some ideas about how to teach kids about the 4th of July.
Talk with your Child About the Meaning of the 4th of July
Before and during this important holiday, take time to talk with your child about what Independence Day means to each of you. The 4th of July, or Independence Day, is a federal holiday that celebrates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. Ask your kids some questions before you begin the discussion to understand how much they already know. Consider discussing the following questions…
– What is Independence Day?
– Why do we celebrate freedom?
– What are ways we can show our patriotism?
Discuss the Meaning of the America Flag
Discuss with your child the meaning of the stars and stripes on the America Flag. Create a project with him or her about Old Glory. It’s fun to step back in history with kids and discover the various iterations of the flag that America has flown over the years. Depending on your child’s age, it might make an interesting research project for him or her during the summer.
Teach Patriotic Songs to your Child
Take some time this week to teach your child the words to patriotic songs like “The Star Spangled Banner,” “America the Beautiful,” “My Country Tis of Thee,” and “You’re a Grand Old Flag.” If you have older children, ask them to research what year the songs were written and under what circumstances. Ask them, “If you were to write a song today, what could it include to show patriotism?”
Independence Day is a great opportunity to find local ways to honor soldiers in your community and also to reach out to troops overseas to show your support and gratitude. Take a look at your local community support initiatives to see how you can get involved. Sending care packages, writing letters of support and placing flags all help to say “thank you” to the troops.
Read Books About American History
Recreate moments of importance in American history by reading stories about the Revolutionary War, the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the creation of the Constitution. Our children need to know about our important documents and how they’ve shaped the country throughout history and today.
Discuss the Declaration of Independence
Take the time to read and discuss the Declaration of Independence with your child. For younger kids, it’s a harder concept to comprehend, so find a personal way for them to connect to our history. You can even use examples in your own home to demonstrate.
Visit a Local Historical Museum or Historical Site
Take the opportunity to explore your local region for any sites that have historical meaning for the United States. If you don’t have something local, take a look to see what might be near any vacation destinations that you are headed to or on your route there.
Watch a Movie
Find movies and shows that highlight the celebration of patriotism and American history. One suggestion is to watch A Capitol Fourth on PBS. The program incorporates many elements of Independence Day into the presentation each year. From veterans being honored to treasured patriotic songs being played, it’s an event that shares patriotism with your child. Liberty Kids is another favorite to watch that helps to build a little background for kids to understand why we celebrate independence and freedom.
In summary, before firing up the BBQ and setting off the fireworks, let’s take time to teach our kids about the 4th of July! It’s a moment in time that encourages us to celebrate the United States of America and all of the privileges that come with our freedom.