Presidents Day is coming up. For a lot of us this is just a day off of school or work, but I like to use it as an opportunity to teach some American history and make a Presidents Day craft with my class.
A lot of classes do American flag crafts, but how many of them learn to make an original thirteen colonies craft? This is an opportunity to teach kids about the first thirteen of our United States? I’ll bet they’ll be surprised to learn that we didn’t always have 50! And my students, proud New Yorkers, were excited to find out their state was one of the “originals.”
This Presidents Day activity gives you the opportunity to talk about so many things: how the country was formed, George Washington, the Declaration of Independence, the Revolutionary War and Betsy Ross. Of course, some of these themes are rather heavy, especially for younger kids, but it is interesting to note that the colonies used to belong to England and we had to fight to become our own country. Kids soak up any little bits of information you give them, and they will be fascinated to learn anything you share with them about our great nation.
To make this American flag craft, you will need a sheet of white paper, seven red paper strips (I like the pre-gummed kind because kids can just lick them and stick them with no messy glue), a rectangle of blue paper and thirteen star stickers. Have kids stick the red strips horizontally across the paper, leaving stripes of white showing in between. Seven red stripes and six white stripes add up to thirteen – just like the original thirteen colonies, which is still how our flag looks today! Now they will stick the blue rectangle into the upper left-hand corner of the flag and affix thirteen stars in a circle on the field of blue. If you’re making this Presidents Day craft with younger kids, you might want to outline a circle (trace a cup or small bowl) in pencil on the blue paper in advance so they can put the stickers on the line.
Make sure that in this Presidents Day activity you show your students what the American flag looks like today. Ask them why they think the original flag and today’s flag look different. Ask them where else they have seen the American flag besides flying in front of their school. (On postage stamps, on military uniforms and American astronauts’ uniforms.)
When making this American flag craft you can also teach your students some of the names the flag is known by: Stars and Stripes, Old Glory, and the Star-Spangled Banner. This is the perfect opportunity to teach the national anthem to your class, or review it with them if they already know it.
Make Presidents Day meaningful this by doing this or another Presidents Day craft with your class.
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Image: 3 STARS
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