The 4th of July has become a time of family and community celebrations. Unfortunately, despite all of the red, white and blue decorations, flags and fireworks, many kids don't fully comprehend that July 4th is Independence Day and that the holiday celebrates the American bid for freedom. However, you can show your kids what Independence Day is all about through history and facts as well as crafts and other July 4th ideas.
Independence Day celebrates the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. The Declaration of Independence was the document agreed upon by representatives from the thirteen colonies that enumerated the reasons for their desire for independence from British rule. This decision came after years of repression by the British homeland, oppressive taxes and treatment as second class citizens. Signing the Declaration of Independence July 4, 1776 signaled the beginning of America's fight for a free and independent nation.
The Declaration of Independence explained the reasons for the split with Britain and the principles behind the Revolutionary War. Drafted by Thomas Jefferson and revised by the representatives to the Continental Congress from all thirteen colonies, on July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was signed. Some of the signers included John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock and Thomas Jefferson. The fourth of July, the date of the signing, became Independence Day, the day to remember and celebrate America's birthday and freedom.
Independence Day Ideas
Have each student or family member choose one of the people involved in the signing of the Declaration of Independence and research that person's life, how that person came to support independence and what that person did during and after the Revolutionary War. Write a paper about that person to share with the class or family.
Create a collage about the history and facts behind the fourth of July celebration. Gather together information, illustrations, news stories and pictures about the principle people behind the move toward Independence.
Have a red, white and blue-themed picnic. At each place setting, include information on the Declaration of Independence. Before or after eating, go around the table and have everyone share what freedom means to them.
Make the Day Red, White and Blue
From cardstock or cardboard, cut out two 6-by-3-inch rectangles. On the first write “Independence Day.” On the second write, “Celebrate Freedom.” Punch three holes toward the bottom of the first rectangle and toward the top of the other about 1 inch in and centered across the rectangle. Cut out red, white and blue stars from construction paper. Make them 4 or so inches wide. In the center of each star, cut two slits 1 inch apart. Cut three 2-foot yarn lengths in white, red and blue. Take a star, and thread one yarn lace up through one slit and down through the other. Do this, alternating colors, until stars line the yarn's length, leaving enough on the top and bottom to tie to the rectangles. Make three strings, one with each yarn color. Tie one end of each yarn string to the “Independence Day” rectangle and the other to the “Celebrate Freedom” at the bottom. Hang your unique Independence Day craft. Think in terms of red, white and blue to create other crafts to help your students or family celebrate Independence Day.
- “The New American Desk Encyclopedia”; Concord Reference Books; 1989
- “American Heritage Talking Dictionary”; Houghton Mifflin Company; 1992
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