Educational Patriotic Activities

Written by Nicole Dean

Patriotism is more than being a proud citizen of a country. It is also knowing the history and respecting what others have done to make the present freedoms possible in the land in which you live. During the various patriotic days celebrated over the course of the year, teach your kids why they are important.

The patriotic day we most often think of is the fourth of July. This is the day that Americans celebrate their independence from British rule. The thirteen original colonies were now independent states that could govern themselves. Many people died in the quest for that independence. Explain to your children the history of the American flag and the song composed about it by Francis Scott Key. Instead of buying flags to wave at the local Fourth of July parade, let them make their own. Show them a picture of the current flag and the flag of the thirteen colonies. Explain to them what the stars and stripes represent. They can choose which flag to re-create and display at the parade. Choose a piece of fabric used to make flags from the craft store and some quarter inch dowels to use as the pole.

Take a trip to Washington, D.C. We did this one year during the summer. Visit the Smithsonian Institutions. In the Museum of American History, children will get an education in the events that have shaped this country. They will also be able to view the actual flag that Francis Scott Key wrote about. The flag spans the entire length of the room in which it is housed. A huge glass partition allows people to view it without disturbing the restoration going on. Children can also see various equipment, artillery, and uniforms worn by soldiers throughout American history in each war in which we fought. History lives again at the Smithsonian Institute.

Memorial Day is an occasion to celebrate those who fought and lived and those who lost their lives in foreign and domestic wars. People place flags and flowers on the graves of loved ones who served in the armed forces. Take your children to the gravesites of their relatives who fought at one time or another in a war. Tell them the story of that relative, so they in turn can tell their own children one day. This is an important family tradition worth starting.

Children can get creative with family history on Memorial Day. They can make a collage of old family photos to remember those loved ones who are no longer with them. Show them how to use care with fragile pictures. If the pictures are falling apart, they may need to be placed between self-laminating sheets to protect them before they are added to the collage. Have the children explain their handiwork to the family. Display the collages in a prominent place for all visitors to see.

On Arbor Day, show your children how to plant a tree and explain the significance. Without trees, we would have no oxygen to breathe. When forests are cleared for building new homes and other structures, we lose hundreds of valuable trees. The goal of the government and environmentalists is to get these companies to plant a new tree or two for each one that is lost. By planting trees of your own, you are helping the environment to continue to thrive.

Patriotic activities give kids a chance to learn about the history of their respective countries and their families. By helping them to remember those who have gone before, you give them a connection to the past. Their future will be brighter.

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