International Theme Days
The United States/ Independence Day
If you live in the USA use this theme day prior to or after the Fourth of July activities in your community. If you don’t live in the United States use this theme day as a way to explore another country at any time of the year or on July 4th.
Print out the Family Theme Day Planner and decide which activities you’d like to do and in what order.
The United States has a huge Birthday celebration on July 4th for Independence Day which commemorates the adoption of the final draft of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 (declaring independence from Great Britain).
Here a few sites that offer the history of Independence Day:
http://www.history.com/videos/fourth-of-july-history#fourth-of-july-history – this one has a video
The American National Anthem is “The Star Spangled Banner.” Check here for the history behind the song and to listen to the tune (button is on the right hand side) and also for the lyrics: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Star-Spangled_Banner
For another song try “America the Beautiful.” Check here for the history and to listen to the song (button on the right hand side) and for the lyrics: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/America_the_Beautiful
A fun song for kids would be “Yankee Doodle.” Check here for the history behind the song as well as earlier version of the lyrics and to listen to the tune (button at the very bottom right hand side): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yankee_doodle
You can find many free colouring pages online by using your favourite search engine and typing in “Independence Day Coloring Pages” or “United States Coloring Pages” or print out my Eagle and Stars Colouring Page.
JOURNALING QUESTION PROMPT:
Write out one or more of the following questions in the family notebook or on a piece of paper to glue in your family scrapbook: How many states from the United States of America can you name? How many States have you been too? What cities in the United States have you travelled to? Where in the United States would you like to travel? What do you know about the United Sates?
Choose the level of your child:
¨ Toddler – discuss the answer(s) out loud first and have your child draw a picture of the answer
¨ Preschooler/Kindergartener – discuss the answer(s) out loud first and write the answer down for him/her leaving one word for him/her to write out himself/herself with your help. You could also encourage him/her to draw a picture as well.
¨ Early Grade School – have your child either write out the answer himself/herself (encourage phonetic spelling) without your help, or offer to help with spelling each word out loud one word at a time.
¨ Grade School – have your child write a sentence or two on his/her own and then read over and discuss the response. (You decide whether to correct the spelling or not)
¨ Older Child – have your child write a longer response (paragraph).
¨ As A Challenge – instead of a question ask your older child to write a story about the United States or Independence Day.
Print out a United States Word Search:
Check here for the answer keys:
Raid your child’s bookshelves to find any books about Independence Day or the United States.
Go to the library with your child to find some books about the United States.
Go to the library on your own to find books about Independence Day or the United States from both fiction and nonfiction to have already on hand for your theme day. Many libraries allow you to go online and search for titles based on subject. Reserve them if you can to save time.
Here are some titles to consider:
· ABC of America, by Kim Bellefontaine and illustrated by Per-Henrik Gürth, Kids Can Press, 2004 – This brightly illustrated alphabet book showcases America: E for Eagle, F for Fourth of July and G for Grand Canyon, etc..
· Coming To America: The Story of Immigration, by Betsy Maestro and illustrated by Susannah Ryan, Scholastic Inc., 1996—this is a beautifully illustrated book and explains immigration quite well for children, showing The United States diversity.
· Johnny Appleseed, a tall tale retold and Illustrated by Steven Kellogg, Morrow Junior Books, 1988—Kellogg’s wonderful illustrations make this retelling a fun read.
· Paul Bunyan, a tall tale retold and illustrated by Steven Kellogg, Morrow Junior Books, 1984—Another Kellogg book full of his action packed illustrations, this time about the legendary American giant Paul Bunyan and his giant blue ox Babe.
· The Scrambled States of America, by Laurie Keller, Henry Holt and Company, 1998—The states are all characterized in this humorous tale of Kansas deciding to host a party for all the states to attend because he is bored. The mingling at the party is so successful the states decided to switch places. The illustrations and little side comments of all the states make this an especially fun book.
· Wish You Were Here: Emily’s Guide to the 50 States, by Kathleen Krull and illustrated by Amy Schwartz, A Doubleday Book for Young Readers, 1997—Emily and her grandmother spend a whole summer travelling to each state. This book has lots of information about the 50 states along with illustrations.
· There are also great alphabet books from Sleeping Bear Press about each state like, A is for Aloha: A Hawaii Alphabet, B is for Badger: A Wisconsin Alphabet, C is for Cowboy: A Wyoming Alphabet...
NOTE: On Independence Day many American communities have special celebrations and end the day with fireworks. Make this craft to create your own fireworks for Independence Day.
Materials: Various colour of paint, small empty containers (like yogurt or baby food), water, straws, white paper, newspaper or plastic to cover table, art smock or old clothes to wear
Step 1: Put a few drops of paint in each container and add water to make a very runny paint.
Step 2: Drip the straws in the paint and show your child how to blow through the straw to splatter the paint across the paper (you can also dip the straw in water then cover it with your thumb to hold some paint in and then release it over the paper).
Step 3: Show your child how to tilt the straw and blow the paint that is already on the paper to make it stretch out and colour the paper in streaks that look like fireworks.
Step 4: Let your child add more paint and blow to make watery streaks.
Step 5: Let it dry then display or glue in your Family Theme Day Scrapbook.
USA PAPER FLAG CRAFT:
Materials: White paper, red paper, blue paper, glue-stick, child-safe scissors, star stickers (50 in total).
Step 1: Cut out seven red stripes to fit across the white piece of paper.
Step 2: Have your child glue the seven stripes down the page leaving 6 white spaces in between.
Step 3: Cut out a blue rectangle to fit in the corner of the flag.
Step 4: Have your child glue the blue rectangle on the top left corner of the flag picture.
Step 5: Give your child 50 star stickers to stick onto the blue rectangle.
Step 6: Display or glue into your Family Theme Day Scrapbook.
Materials: Two paper bags, white crayon, white paper, orange paper, child safe scissors, black marker or crayon, glue stick, damp cloth for sticky fingers.
Step 1: Have your child draw two eyes using the black marker or crayons on white paper. Help your child to cut them out.
Step 2: Help your child cut out a triangle from the orange paper to use as the eagle’s beak.
Step 3: Help your child cut out two claws from the orange paper for the eagle’s talons.
Step 4: With the fold of one paper bag facing you have your child colour the fold with the white crayon.
Step 5: Have your child glue the two eyes and beak onto the now white fold.
Step 5: Have your child glue the two eyes and the beak onto the now white fold.
Step 6: Cut out two wing shapes (curved triangles work) from the other paper bag.
Step 7: have your child glue the two wings to the side of the paper bag.
Step 8: have your child glue the two orange talons to the bottom of the paper bag.
Step 9: Let it dry then use it as a puppet.
USA FRUIT PLATTER or STAR SPANGLED FRUIT:
Ingredients: Banana sliced, strawberries, sliced, blueberries or blueberries and watermelon.
Step 1: For the flag arrange the strawberries and bananas along a platter as the red and white stripes of the American Flag and arrange the blueberries (star side up) in the upper left corner of the fruit platter.
Step 2: For the Star Spangled Fruit use small star cutters (for cookies or fondant) to cut slices of watermelon into stars and scatter for blueberries.
Ingredients: Slices of bread, butter or margarine , shredded cheese (mozzarella, parmesan or cheddar), star cookie cutter.
Step 1: Cut out the bread slices into star shapes using a star cookie cutter and set on a baking sheet.
Step 2: Spread butter or margarine on the bread.
Step 3: Sprinkle cheese onto the bread.
Step 4: Put the baking sheet into the oven and broil for 1 or 2 minutes or until the cheese melts.
Step 5: Enjoy!
Many American families have barbeques for Independence day. Have your own barbeque and serve up your family’s favourites like hot dogs or hamburgers.
Independence Day Cup Cakes: Bake your favourite cupcakes and decorate with white icing and red and blue candies or decorate with red, white and blue icing and arrange as a flag. Yum!
UNITED STATES FLAG:
For some history on the American Flag check here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_flag
Print out a copy of my United States of America Flag Worksheet and have your child colour it the appropriate colours.
UNITED STATES GEOGRAPHY:
Print out a copy of my United States Geography Worksheet Page One (my apologies for any missing islands and misshapen states in my drawing) and have your child color the map and then as a family try to name the various states and territories of the USA. Print out a copy of Page two: State Names to check your answers.
UNITED STATES CAPITALS:
Thanks to Karen and her 8 year old niece Violet from Massachusetts for this list of landmarks in the United States and links to some other fun sights to explore these : http://www.vacationhomerentals.com/resources/visit-landmarks-of-the-us-on-your-vacation.html
The official travel and tourism site of the Unites States:
Check here for famous American Landmarks:
Find out why the eagle is the United States national bird: http://www.homeofheroes.com/hallofheroes/1st_floor/flag/1bfc_eagle.html
Q: What do patriotic monkey's wave on Flag Day?
A: Star Spangled Bananas.
Search through your child’s DVD/ video collection (or visit your local library before hand or the Video Store) to find your child’s favourite shows with about American History or Independence Day.
Here are some titles to try to find:
· This is America Charlie Brown
· Schoolhouse rocks: The election collection
Here are some titles about classic American tales:
· The Adventures of Brer Rabbit, 2006
· Disney’s American Legends! - features cartoon stories about John Henry, Paul Bunyan, Johnny Appleseed and Casey Jones.
Have your own Independence Day celebration and go on a family picnic or parade around your backyard waving the flag from the above crafts and using the American eagle puppet.
If you live in the United States attend any local festivals or celebrations for Independence day, watch a parade or the fireworks.
Photo: C Wright
Cathedral City, California
Where in the USA have you travelled?
(Photo: Pearl Harbor, Honolulu, Hawaii)