Thursday, July 3, 2014

Happy Fourth of July! Flags and Red, White, and Blue

Happy Summer!!  Happy July!  I hope you are enjoying some warm weather and time off.  I am Terri Izatt from Kinder Kapers and this is a favorite time of year for me.

In the United States July 4th is fireworks and picnics, families and flags.  That's what I wanted to share with you today....fostering patriotism in little ones through a love of history.

How can we get our little ones excited about ideas that are so abstract?

We can start with a flag....flags being a symbol of the country we live in.   Flags where colors are identifiable and easy for kids to see and remember.  Flags that kids like to create and wave.  Flags that tell stories.
This flag was drawn by the wonderful Melonheadz Illustrating.

The first American flag was officially adopted on June 14, 1777.  Of course there were flags before and there were even several different versions after.  But on June 14th, Continental Congress adopted the following: Resolved: that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.
Without specifics not all flags looked exactly the same.  Some stars had 5 points, some had six or eight.  The stars also were on that blue field in a variety of arrangements.

 Probably the most recognizable is the circle version, known as the Betsy Ross flag.

Did Betsy Ross sew the 1st American flag?  We do not know that for certain....but we do know that she and George Washington were friends (their family pews were next to each other in Christ's Church in Philadelphia).  We do know she was an excellent seamstress and we know that she did design and sew flags (among other things).   And we know that her grandchildren told of her recounting the family story of George Washington coming and asking her to make him a flag from a sketch that he had drawn.  Whether it be all true or part fiction, children remember things better when there is a story.
Don't forget Francis Hopkinson of New Jersey, he designed the 1777 flag (he sent a bill to congress for his work).
Flags were mostly used for navy ships and the battlefield.  Having a national flag was not a common practice at the time.  Many of our early flags were just loosely based on the resolution of 1777. 

There were several different ways to place the stars and until 1912 it was up to the flag-maker to decide exactly what that would be.

Originally it was thought that there would be a new star and a new stripe for every new state.  The flag that flew over Fort McHenry when our national anthem was written had 15 stars and 15 stripes.

Later it was realized that to continue to add stripes would create a flag whose proportions were all off.  It would be too cumbersome, so the flag code was changed in 1818.  We went back to 13 stripes for the 13 original colonies, and stars were to be added for each new state.   The new flags would become official on July 4th of the year after the state was added.

Most kids love a parade.  They love real things, so I like to get a small flag for each student, put on some great patriotic marching music and have a parade.  You can do this for the 4th of July in school or around the block.  You can also celebrate Flag Day, Memorial Day, Veteran's Day, or here in Nevada our statehood day, October 31st.

It is fun to have your students make their own flags too (counting practice, following directions, being observant, beginning to make the abstract concepts of patriotism and country more concrete).

If you use 9x12 white paper you need to cut these parts:
  *red stripes 1/2 or 3/4 inches wide
  *blue canton 6x5 inches
If you use 12x18 white paper you need to cut these parts:
  *red stripes 1 inch wide
  *blue canton 8x6 1/2 inches

1.  cut the red stripes and blue field.
2.  Glue 7 red stripes all the way across the flag (spacing won't be exact, but it will be close).

3.  glue the blue field in the upper left corner (gluing on top tof the stripes is so much easier than figuring out what needs to be short and exactly where they need to be).
4. will need 13.  There are several ways to do that.  You could use stickers, but there are also die cuts, painting, stamping, or just a white crayon or chalk.

If you don't want to make a flag, but you want something that flies in the wind, try this windsock.

You will need:
   *one piece of construction paper or cardstock. (I like the 12x18 size)
   *party streamers
   *decorations (stars, paints, flags, markers, and crayons)
   *a spinner/swivel (from the fishing isle at Wal~Mart)
   *clear fishing line (or any string)

Making a windsock is so easy!  Start by decorating your piece of paper.

Then, tape or glue streamers to the bottom inside of your paper.  I also added a strip of tape to the top for reinforcement. 

Next,  staple your paper into a cylinder.

Finally, punch 3 or 4 holes into the top and string the fishing line through the holes.  Tie the spinner to the center of the four strings

TaDa!!!  You have a windsock that spins in the breeze.
Don't forget to add some music and books to your celebration/learning.  This one, from our own Debbie Clement is so good.  You can read more about it here, and you can buy it for your own here.

Another favorite of mine is this book by Peter Spier

I love the inside covers...they are filled with flags!  The words are the words to our National Anthem with pictures to illustrate them.  LOVE his attention to detail!

Hope you will be having a ton of fun tomorrow.  Stop by my blog to see pictures from our friends and family celebration.  We will have all our historical flags up at our spot in the park.  You can't miss us!

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