Frosting Flags

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This craft-turned-snack is meant to let toddlers make “flags” in the run-up to the 4th of July. Will your toddler really be able to make a snack that looks like an American flag? Most likely not, but it’s never too early to introduce a little patriotism and show your child that our national colors are red, white, and blue!

Scoop vanilla frosting into three paper cups. Add a few drops of red food coloring to one cup, blue to the second, and leave the third as is. Stir and repeat with more food coloring until you have the desired hues of blue and red.

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I gave Veronika these cups along with craft sticks as “knives”. Ideally, have your child then paint the frosting onto graham cracker sheets. Because the store was all out of vegan graham crackers, we used saltine crackers instead!

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It turned out that Veronika was way more into snacking on the crackers than spreading the frosting!

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To capture her attention, I scooped the frosting out of the cups and let her spread the colors around this way. Now it became more like edible art!

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All in all, a delicious first lesson on our flag.

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Fourth of July Paper Pinwheels

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Just in time for a Fourth of July parade, we threw together these quick pinwheels! This is actually a project we’ve tried in the past but only had brads on hand to attach the paper to pencils. This time, I had proper straight pins on hand!

Draw patterns on paper with markers to start. For today, we knew we needed blue and red markers on white paper of course, but really you could tailor this craft for any holiday – or any day of the year!

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Older kids can concentrate on making their drawings and patterns symmetrical. Or even use patterned paper in a pinch! Make sure to also color in small circles on a separate sheet of scrap paper, which will be the center of the pinwheel.

Cut your paper into a 6-inch square; cut a 3-inch slit diagonally in toward the center from each corner, and cut out the scrap circle.

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Poke a straight pin through the paper circle, then begin folding in the corners of your square, alternating corners and poking the pin through each layer as you go. This was a mommy step!

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Poke the pin through the center of your square and down into the eraser of an unsharpened pencil.

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Your pinwheel is ready to twirl in the wind as the parade marchers go by! Baby sister loved it, too!

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In addition to this fun craft, we set the stage for the holiday with a few other activities. First we needed a playlist of Fourth of July tunes.

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Think of bandstand favorites like “You’re a Grand Old Flag”, then add anything with America or U.S.A. in the title! We made our own list, but relied on this one from Raddish Kids for inspiration.

Then we struck up some table talk, also suggested by Raddish Kids; we tackled intriguing questions like who is your favorite president (Travis chose Washington!), how many states can you name, and what is a favorite family 4th of July tradition?

Finally, I showed Travis a red, white, and blue flag quiz. For big kids, make it a true quiz or competition – winner gets a prize! For Travis, it was more of a teaching moment. He liked Great Britain’s flag best, and was intrigued to learn so many other countries use the same color trio as we do.

Happy 4th!

History of the Flag

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In anticipation of the 4th of July, Travis and I had a lesson about the American flag today, thanks to our Backyard BBQ unit from Raddish Kids. Recipes will follow soon, but for today, we had fun learning about the flag’s history and getting creative. Read on!

First I gave Travis a riddle: “I’m red, white, and blue, and starry too. What am I?” He had peeked (little cheater!) so knew I meant the flag. It’s fun at this point if you have a little flag that your child can examine and hold.

We made a chart known as a K/W/L graph with three columns: Things I Know; Things I Want to Know; What I Learned.

I asked him what he knew for starters, and he rattled off facts: the colors, the inclusion of stars and stripes, and that it’s our American flag, not another country’s.

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Then we discussed what he wanted to know. I encouraged him to go deeper: why are there thirteen stripes or fifty stars, for example; why do we fly the flag. Now it was time for videos suggested by Raddish!

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We looked through a few flag books, as well, for further facts. It was useful to have a world map handy so I could point out where other flags were from.

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Now he could fill in the final L column. I was so proud that Travis had learned about the thirteen colonies, for example, or nicknames for the flag like Old Glory.

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So now for the crafty part: designing his own country flag. Being only 5 years old, Travis’s grasp of the project was limited; his was a very fantastical flag for a “snake country.”

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We used cardstock as the background, and of course a coiled yarn snake needed to be in the center. Using stencils was an artistic way to add “symbols”. Big kids can go more in depth into which symbols exist on real flags, and why.

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A tin foil canton (vocab word)!) in the top corner added shine, though soon this was embellished with an old train ticket and construction paper.

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I loved watching his creativity even though his final result was quite busy for a flag. Please share about your own kids’ creations in the comments!

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