This week’s theme is Independence Day in honor of Fourth of July. Through activities, field trips, crafts, and reading we will explore what Independence Day means and how it first became America’s birthday.
Each summer thousands of children head to different summer camps throughout the country. This year create your own summer camp at home through themed weeks that include learning, projects and just plain fun. Each week I will showcase a few ideas for educational and fun projects along with great reading material and great activities for your family all based on a theme each week. So save a little money this year and create your very own summer camp and have fun! Check out the entire Summer Camp at Home series for more ideas.
Activities and Field Trips
Visit The Museum
If you are lucky to be close to a historical museum this is a perfect time to bring the kids to learn about history. Whether the museum pertains to Independence Day or local history the kids will learn about something and expand this week’s lesson. Check with your local library as they may have free or discounted passes to your local museums to save you money. Also check online to see if there are any specials for local residents to visit the museums.
Research Your Historical Markers
Your area may not have a museum dedicated to history but you can research any local historical markers in the area and go and visit them. You can search the National Historical Markers Database for local markers near you and learn more about the unique history of your area.
View The Fireworks
Look online for a listing of the closest fireworks in your area and allow the kids to stay up late (tip – put them in their pajamas before you leave) to enjoy a beautiful display of fireworks.
Independence Day Crafts
The are many ways kids can learn about Independence Day including fun crafts like the ones below and by creating fun projects they can learn more about what they mean and it’s an excellent time to ask questions about history, science, etc.
This is a fun and safe way for the kids to celebrate Independence Day without the use of real fireworks/sparklers. Each child can select 6 or more sparkly pipe cleaners and lay them flat on the table with the ends even together.
Then taking one each of red, white and blue pipe cleaners carefully wrap them from the tip of the sparkly pipe cleaners until they can no longer wrap around the stack. Be sure to check for any sharp edges and wrap a second time if needed. Make two for each child and this July 4th they can wave them in the air to celebrate their independence!
Questions to Ask:
- When were fireworks invented?
- When was the first time they were used to celebrate July 4th?
Toilet Paper Fireworks
This project can be done with either a toilet paper roll or by using pipe cleaners wrapped together to create a web-like stamp. For a toilet paper roll simply cut one end of the tube into small sections and then gently press them to create a fan. This will be your stamp. Next pour red, white and blue paint in a triangle on a paper dish and place a large piece of paper on the table. The kids can dab at the paint, swirl it around or mix them all together. The point is to have fun and stamp your own fireworks. You can also use this as a sign for their bikes for a mini-parade around the neighborhood. They can add glitter and write Happy Fourth of July! and hang them on the front of their bikes.
Questions to Ask:
- How are fireworks created?
- Why must we be careful with fireworks?
Popsicle Stick Flag
There are many ways for the kids to create a flag and for this project you can either purchase pre-painted Popsicle sticks or just paint plain ones like we did. You can use regular size or jumbo size sticks as well.
1. Take your Popsicle sticks and using any of the leftover paint from the previous project paint the sticks and let dry overnight. If you are using pre-painted sticks you can ignore this step.
2. Once the Popsicle sticks are dry organize them red, white, red, white, etc. making sure there is a red at the top and bottom of the flag. Flip them over and either secure them together with another stick (you can use a glue gun or regular glue) or glue them onto a piece of construction paper.3. Take a small section of blue construction paper and create a square or rectangle to place at the top of the flag. Glue to the Popsicle sticks and let dry.
5. Once the flag is finished you can create a hanger using a pipe cleaner and a glue gun or simply display on the mantle.
Questions to Ask:
- Why does the flag have 50 stars?
- What do the white and red stripes mean?
Red, White and Blue Recipes
What better way to celebrate Fourth of July then with Red, White and Blue food! Create your own party or add to your family event with these delicious and wonderful recipes!
Patriotic Popcorn Crunch via This Mama Loves
Berry American Flag via The Coupon Challenge
Want to know how to make “fireworks” with soda and learn about science? Then try this experiment with the kids (only an adult show perform this experiment).
- 2-liter of soda (cola or any flavor…you can even look for red, white and blue soda)
- 1 roll of mint mentos
Only perform this experiment outdoors and have the kids stand back at a safe distance from the soda
- Remove the mentos from the wrapping. This part the kids can help with.
- Have an adult drop the entire package of mentos into the opened 2-liter of soda at the same time. You can use your hands or use a funnel to drop them in. Either way be prepared to step back as the mentos and soda start to interact.
- Watch the soda explosion!
Questions to Ask:
- Why did the soda explode?
- Do you think any candy could do this? If so try and experiment with different candies and color sodas to see which might interact the best.
Books To Read This Week
Each night this week instead of reading your normal nighttime story read something on this week’s topic. There are great resources at your local library where you can sit and read to your child or even bring home a collection of books you both picked out. These are great examples of books to look for at your library this week.
- The Story of America’s Birthday
- Francis Scott Key’s Star-Spangled Banner (Step into Reading)
- The Fourth of July Story
- Happy 4th of July, Jenny Sweeney!
Music and Independence Day
There are so many songs that pertain to Independence Day that this week is a prime week for exploring music. Teach your kids the words to the national anthem The Star Spangled Banner and sing it together and discuss why we sing this at major events like baseball games, road races and more. Other patriotic songs to explorer include America the Beautiful, God Bless America, I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy or This Land is Your Land. You can usually find YouTube videos or the song’s lyrics online and you might be able to find some at your local library as well.
Pipe Cleaner Spraklers: Make and Takes
Toilet Paper Fireworks Craft: Mom On Dealz
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