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Preschool Activities - Patriotic Activities

 
 

U.S. Patriot's Day, Sept. 11

*Parent/Teacher Note:  This is an abstract topic for preschoolers to grasp as they can hardly think beyond their neighborhoods!  However, children build onto their base understanding each time they learn something.  If nothing else, this will prepare them to learn and understand more next time.  This theme is built using patriotic songs, the pledge, chants and pictures as an introduction to the idea of patriotism.  I've listed all the activities we are hoping to do during our Patriotic Celebration Week.  There are purposely more activities for each day than we probably have time for.  Mix and match them to your child's/children's interests, offering a balanced mix throughout each day.  For instance, choose some active and some quiet activities each day and be sure to read every day!  Tailor each activity to your child's specific interests and abilities.
 

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Main Idea:   Recognizing American symbols; developing pride in cultural heritage

materials list/Resources:

Books (book links available in right sidebar menu):  Meet Our Flag, Old Glory, The Pledge of Allegiance, The Star Spangled Banner, Benny's Pennies, The Story of Abraham Lincoln, This Land is Your Land, America the Beautiful, Yankee Doodle
Optional: 
You're a Grand Old Flag,  America, a Patriotic Primer, We Sign Patriotic, Kid's Statehood Quarters Collector's Folders, The Story of Abraham Lincoln or any of Patricia Pingry's other patriotic books, Reading Rainbow Shining Stories America

Social/Emotional Development:
Show & Tell Thursdays: 
Children are to bring something that symbolizes patriotism.
Morning Meeting/Circle Time (daily skill work including:  weather, calendar, counting, ABCs, patterning, colors, shapes, songs, music, finger plays, rhymes, creative Movement) (outside links) Star Spangled Banner, Yankee Doodle Dandy, The Pledge of Allegiance (audio) - by Red Skelton, The Pledge of Allegiance (audio) - by John Wayne, You're a Grand Old Flag, many patriotic midis here!
A Patriotic Party:  "Sam Adams" sends invitations to the children to attend a "Boston Tea Party". The activity begins with a general discussion and a story about this historical event and how it relates to patriotism. "Tea Party" snack wraps things up.

Creative Activities/Art/Music/Drama/Aesthetic Learning (including Fine / Large Motor Activities):
  
I've been creating playlists on my iPod with my thousands of songs.  I'm not affiliated in any way with iPod, Apple, etc.  I'm just a happy customer that highly advises creating a playlist!  I'm trying to figure out how to share the playlists that I create with you (if you are of the iPod mentality!).
Make a Patriotic Windsock, Make a Piggy Bank,
Theme Center:  Patriotism 
Set out several of the optional books for children to look through.  They will gain a sense of patriotism, symbols of our country and pride of their heritage by discovering the running theme through each book.  Include flags, a listening center of patriotic songs and pictures of presidents also.  A fun addition would be a flannel-board flag (black rectangle for the base, 7 red stripes, 6 white stripes, 1 blue rectangle, 50 stars - consider using yellow/gold fabric paint and painting them all on the blue rectangle) so children can reconstruct it.  If you need a pattern for this, try here.

Cognitive/Intellectual Learning:
Language Arts/Literacy Activities/Social Studies: 
Pledge of Allegiance, The Star Spangled Banner,
Science/Math/Social Studies: 
Coin Book, Coin Cubes, Patriotic Symbols Cube

Internet Links - supplementary (outside links):  Depending on your child(ren), consider creating a favorites folder based on patriotism so you can find the sites quickly for your child to peruse.  The United States Mint's Site for Kids, Pledge of Allegiance in sign language, Flag Etiquette

Vocabulary Words:  (Spanish and sign language - Each English word links to the word specific link for how to sign that word.  For the home page with links to nearly any word in the ASL browser, click here.):  symbol, America, patriotism / Patriot, pledge, "Old Glory", flag, banner, allegiance, president (Lincoln, Washington), penny, nickel, dime, quarter, red, white, blue, star

Motivation/Introduction ~ First Day of Theme:  Meet Our Flag, Old Glory / Patriot's Day

Benchmark Skills:
3.28 Shows pride in heritage and background

Intro - Old Glory:  Introducing the American Flag and the Pledge of Allegiance
Show the American Flag.  Have the children describe it to you and tell you what they think it stand for.  Write down what they say.  Explain that it is a symbol of America, the country where they live. 
 
Lessons (one main lesson a day which can be broken into parts as needed throughout the day):

1. Story:  The Pledge of Allegiance - Learning how to say the Pledge of Allegiance (Pledge of Allegiance in sign language)

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Benchmark Skills:
2.12 Preplans art project and then works with care
5.3 Expands vocabulary
3.12 Recognizes patterns and can repeat them

Pledge of Allegiance:  Have the pledge printed on poster paper to leave posted.  Give children their own copy of the pledge.  After reading the book, have your children add this pledge to the beginning of each morning meeting.  Through role-modeling and consistency, they will learn it!  Teach them to:
stand quietly (and remove hats, if worn)
place the right hand over the heart
face the flag
recite the pledge

Enjoy listening to/singing a patriotic song after the pledge.  There are so many of these, you can change it up daily, once a week, or whatever!

Make a Flag Windsock / Kite:  Find instructions here on how to make a patriotic windsock from oatmeal, formula, Ovaltine containers, etc.  (Although I'm a big proponent of breastfeeding, I like the formula and Ovaltine containers for this project, because the container itself is silver which gives a great background.  I'm sure there are others, as well.)  Print out your stars here.  Here are some patriotic pictures.  (Print them on sticker paper for instant stickers!)
Take the time to count out the stars and talk about the red / white pattern of crepe paper as you glue them on.  This is a representation of the flag, not the flag itself, so allow your child freedom to experiment with the mediums provided to design his/her patriotic windsock, like where to put the stars as you count.  Once dry, go outside and enjoy watching the windsocks fly!


2. Story:  The Star Spangled Banner or The Star Spangled Banner- Learn how to sing the Star Spangled Banner

Benchmark Skills:
2.6 Expresses through movement what is felt and heard in various musical tempos and styles
4.12 Shows balance and coordination
3.27 Identifies self as a member of a specific family and cultural group

Build background:  Play The Star Spangled Banner.  Give each child his/her own copy of the song, in its entirety.  Give each child a small flag - print or make one here or here.  Enjoy singing The Star Spangled Banner "with" the children a couple of times while letting them each wave a small flag and marching in a line around the room.  Are you brave enough to pass out instruments to a few children for an impromptu parade?  Gather them together when finished and read the book to them, allowing them to talk about what they see.

Read the story, talking about the various symbols in the pictures.  List the symbols.  Consider making a booklet for the children to color or to post in the room.


3.  Story:  Benny's Pennies - Coin Recognition

Benchmark Skills: 
3.21 Uses words to describe characteristics of objects
2.10 Explores and manipulates art media
3.29 Shows awareness of the roles people play in society
3.14 Demonstrates the ability to order and sequence

Background Building - Show a piggy bank.  Ask the children what it is, why people have one, etc.  Empty a little money out to show what's inside. Talk about the money.  Do any of the children know the names of the coins or the pictures of the men on them?  Read Benny's Pennies.  After a discussion of Benny's Pennies, give each child a penny of their own to examine and discuss.  Tell them that the man's name is Abraham Lincoln.  Make a rubbing.  (This may work better if you glue/tape each coin on an index card using two of each coin to show both sides.  Now, lay paper over the coin, rub a crayon or pencil tip over the coin until you see the coin's image on the paper.  Save for later to glue on the piggy bank.)

Story:  The Story of Abraham Lincoln (This author, Patricia Pingry, has several books along this theme, including The Story of George Washington, The Story of Thomas Jefferson, The Story of Ronald Reagan, etc.)

Coin Book:  Print a copy of each coin, front and back, for the children to color with appropriate crayon and assemble into a book.  Write the name of the appropriate president on the pages and the value of the coin (1, 5, 10, 25)Have the children put the pages in order from lowest value to highest.

Coin Cubes:  Print, laminate, cut out these informational coin cubes.  Roll, read and discuss or make up a game to go with them!  Then leave them in the theme center for free exploration!
Penny Coin Cube
Nickel Coin Cube
Dime Coin Cube
Quarter Coin Cube

Make a Piggy Bank (a fun take-home learning activity!)Use a cylinder chip container, cover with red, white or blue construction paper, decorate with pictures of coins and their values (1, 5, 10, 25), names and pictures of presidents, star stickers or print some stars here.  Cut a slit in the top for a coin slot.  Let the children put their penny in and take it home.
 


4.  Story:  Joining the Boston Tea Party

Show & Tell Thursday:  (Anybody out there know a cute Show & Tell song or chant?  I'm about ready to make up my own because I can't find one I like.)  Children are to bring something that symbolizes patriotism (a picture of them at a fireworks show, a patriotic teddy bear, a flag, a book, even a picture they have drawn, etc.)  Parents help them finish the sentence, "This ________ is patriotic because ________."  Teacher can help them "read" it to the class. 

Build Background:  Teacher shows tea bags for her show & tell.  Use this as introduction to discussing the Boston Tea Party.  Find Boston and England on a map or globe. 

Story:  Read and discuss Joining the Boston Tea Party.

A Patriotic Party:  Have "Sam Adams" send invitations to your students inviting them to attend a "Boston Tea Party".  Activity continues the discussion about this historical event and how it relates to patriotism.  "Tea Party" snack wraps things up.

Benchmark Skills: 
5.3 Expands vocabulary
 

5Closure ~ Last Day of Theme Story:   This Land is Your Land or America the Beautiful and

Build Background:  Both of these stories (This Land is Your Land or America the Beautiful ) pull together all the symbols of America into rhythmic verse.  Read and let the children tell you what they see, what's familiar to them.  Ask if they have been anywhere that looks like the pictures in the book.  Play a search and find to count how many flags are in the book(s).

Patriotic Symbols:  Review the patriotic symbols the children have learned to recognize this week.  Print the Patriotic Symbols Cube for them to take home and share with parents.

American Parade:  Sing Yankee Doodle while playing the midi.  Then, play some patriotic music, let the children pick an instrument, and have a patriotic parade around the classroom, school yard, or neighborhood!

Show Time Friday: Reading Rainbow Shining Stories America

See other Preschool Activities Lessons and Themes Preschool Activities, Lessons, and Themes! Preschool Activities, Lessons, Themes

 

Checking for Student Understanding:
Referring to our Main Idea and Benchmarks, do the children...
recognize the American Flag?
recite the Pledge of Allegiance with reasonable accuracy?
associate red, white and blue with American symbolism?
express pride in their cultural heritage?
If the children show some of these traits, you can move on knowing that the exposure has laid the groundwork for more in-depth learning (of such an abstract subject) as they get older.
Teacher/Parent Self-Evaluation:  Let's grow together!  If you have additional ideas, comments or suggestions, let me know!  (Gina@MommyNature.com)

There are many benchmarks that will be taught nearly every day, like "Demonstrates willingness to try new things" or "Shows enjoyment of books and stories and discussion of them".  Throughout the range of activities offered here, there will be a focus on one or two, although there are usually many covered in one simple activity.  Repetition is the key with learning - especially in early childhood.  However, even though you may do the same basic activity, it can be adapted to your child's level, interests, and theme.

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