We are lucky to live in a nation where freedom and justice for all prevails. We as parents are the ones to teach our children the importance of patriotism. How much does your child know about the United States? When we understand our country’s history and events, we respect each other more and feel like we all belong to America. So put on your patriotic hat and teach your children the love of the red, white and blue with these fun activities. Here are a few examples to try.
Begin by talking about your roots
Unless your family is Native American, we all came from somewhere else. Take out a world map and show the kids where your ancestors originally came from. Discuss why your family decided to come to America. It’s fun to trace the family’s roots and how they embarked to this country and settled here. Get the grandparents involved in this discussion and the kids can interview them about what they did in this country long before your children were born.
Explore history through the media and famous places
Fascinating events have taken place all over the United States: pioneers moving west; famous battles; marches for civil rights and equality; 9/11 and the war on terrorism that haunts us to this day. Have you thought of taking the family on a historical vacation? My husband is so intrigued by the Civil War that we took our children on a trip to Georgia one year. We visited battlegrounds, historical museums, the Little White House where former President Roosevelt spent time, and cemeteries where many soldiers were laid to rest. Standing in a place where people died for our freedom made my children realize what the soldiers went through and why.
Let the children use the Internet to find sites that explain history and show photos
Then scour the library for some interesting books, both non-fiction and fiction, to entertain and present events to the kids. There are so many captivating books that will get your kids interested in patriotic topics like Christopher Columbus and his voyages, the Pilgrims, the American Revolution, famous men in history, and on and on. Think about children’s holiday books to explain to little ones why we celebrate the Fourth of July and our country’s birthday. Take time to discuss the meaning behind these stories, especially for the younger children who are just beginning to learn about our country and may not understand all the vocabulary.
Plan an All-American video night
Many libraries have videos to lend, as well as books. There are also video companies that host a large variety of history films to rent. Classic films like Yankee Doodle Dandy (James Cagney, 1942) or Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, where James Stewart plays a famous and idealistic congressman, show the importance of patriotism to the kids. Paul Revere: Midnight Ride is great for older elementary kids and middle schoolers. Or for the little kids, there is This is America, Charlie Brown or All Aboard America. The list is endless, so investigate titles where you do your video rental business. Grab a bowl of popcorn and spend a quality night together learning about patriotic events.
Get involved with all holidays
There’s more to patriotism that just celebrating July 4th. How about teaching the kids about the significance of Flag Day, Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day? Catch all the local parades, talk to veterans, and even take your kids with you when you vote. Get the children involved by reading stories about these events. And don’t forget about making crafts. What child doesn’t enjoy making a patriotic craft using our country’s colors of red, white and blue?
We adults sometimes take our everyday freedoms for granted. This year, make the importance of patriotism an essential part of your parenting lessons. Be proud to be an American and let your children follow in your footsteps!
Source: personal experience as an educator and parent
Text by Tania K Cowling, all rights reserved. Image by mintchipdesigns, public domain on pixabay.com