Unfortunately, many kids today are not aware of the real meaning behind the 4th of July. Many celebrations on July 4th include fireworks, picnics, BBQs, and other celebrations. While celebrating the holiday is wonderful, we cannot allow our children to forget what this day is all about. It’s time that kids learn about the history that is behind all the festivities that occur on the 4th of July. If you are not sure where to begin teaching kids the real meaning of this important holiday in the United States, here are some tips that can help.
Tip #1 – Talk to Your Kids About the Meaning of the Day
The first place to start when you want to teach your kids about the 4th of July and its meaning is by talking to them. Talk to kids and find out what they already know about this national holiday. Chances are they have learned some information in school, and you can add to the education that they already have. Spend some time talking about the importance of this holiday, the history behind it, and make them realize it is more than just a day to have a BBQ. Encourage kids to ask questions as well. This is also a great time to talk to kids about how they can celebrate this day in a way that brings across the real meaning of the holiday.
Tip #2 – Find Books About the History
Another great tip to help kids understand the meaning behind July 4th is finding books about the history of our country. While you can purchase books, another option is to visit a library in your area. Check out books that relate to the time of the Revolutionary War and the fight for independence in this country. There are some wonderful books available for children on this topic, such as “The Story of America’s Birthday,” which is by Patricia A. Pringy.
Tip #3 – Study the Declaration of Independence with Your Child
It’s pretty easy to get a copy of the Declaration of Independence. You can get tourist versions or you could simply print it off from the internet. Take time to study the Declaration of Independence with your child. Try to explain what it means in a way that they can understand. Make them realize how important this document was in all the events that led up to what we now know as July 4th, or Independence Day.
Tip #4 – Take Time to Honor Soldiers
Take some time out to honor soldiers while you are teaching your children about the history of the country and Independence Day. Take some flowers or flags to a local cemetery and place them on soldier’s graves. As you do this, talk to your kids about the sacrifice that has been made for freedom and how important it is that we never forget about those sacrifices made in the past.
Tip #5 – Show Patriotic Movies
There are a variety of patriotic movies out there and there are many specifically about the Revolution and the birth of this country. Kids love watching movies, so rent a couple of these movies, making sure they are appropriate for your kids to watch, and have a family movie night. These movies can present some of the history in an exciting way. Spend some time talking about the movie when it is over as well.
Tip #6 – Teach Kids Patriotic Songs
You’ll find many patriotic songs out there. Teach some of the songs to your kids or allow them to listen to these patriotic songs. Try to explain to them the meanings of the songs that you listen too. This is a great time to teach kids about the National Anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” You can teach them the story behind our nation’s song and teach them the words to the song as well. Many children today are growing up never knowing the words to their own National Anthem. Work with kids and sing along with them until they know at least the first verse of the song.
Tip #7 – Visit Historical Sites
If you live in an area where there are historical sites from the Revolutionary War, visit those sites with your children. Going to the battlefields from the Revolutionary War is a wonderful idea. Valley Forge in Pennsylvania, Yorktown in Virginia, or even George Washington’s Estate at Mount Vernon make great historical sites that you can visit as you teach your children more about the real meaning behind the 4th of July.
Tip #8 – Discuss the Meaning of the Flag
This is a wonderful time to discuss the meaning of the flag to your child as well. Teach your child about the colors of the flag, what they mean, and why they are so important. Consider purchasing a flag that you can display. Talk to kids about the importance of the flag and teach them the proper way to handle a flag as well. Remind them that the flag stands for freedom and is an important part of the Independence Day celebration as well.
These are just a few ideas that can help you teach your kids more about the 4th of July and what it really means. We cannot afford to forget the history behind the country we live in. By passing down the real meaning of this holiday to our children, we can keep patriotism alive through the generations to come.
Happy 4th of July from all of us at More4kids!