By Denise Morrison Yearian
Summer is a time when stars and stripes abound! Here are a few patriotic crafts and activities that double as decorations.
“STARS AND STRIPES FOREVER” GARLAND
Items needed: Star template; red and blue construction paper; scissors; white yarn; red and white striped peppermint candies (still in the wrapper); red, white and /or blue curling ribbon; stapler.
Cut a long piece of yarn for your garland. Set aside. Use a star template to create stars from the red and blue construction paper and then cut them out. Fold over the top point of one star and staple it to the string. Next to the star, staple a piece of hard candy. Cut a 12-inch strip of red, white or blue curling ribbon, strip it with scissors to make it curl (get a parent to help with this) and attach it to the yarn next to the candy. Repeat these steps until the string is full.
Items needed: Terracotta planter; red, white and blue non-toxic acrylic paint; paintbrushes; ruler; pencil; white star stickers; potting soil; plant; small American flag.
Paint the top rim of the planter blue and the lower portion white. Let it dry. Give both colors a second coat of paint then let it dry again. On the lower, white portion, use a pencil and ruler to draw vertical lines that are evenly spaced apart. Paint a red stripe between every other line so it looks like an American flag. On the upper, blue rim attach small, white star stickers over the blue paint. Fill the planter with potting soil, add a plant and push a small American flag into the soil.
“STAR SPANGLED” LUMINARIES
Items needed: Star stencil (several inches in diameter); paper lunch bags; red, white and blue tissue paper; glue stick; star stickers; sand; tealights.
Use the star stencil to trace and cut out stars on red, white and blue tissue paper. Glue the stars to the inside sides of an open paper bag using a glue stick. Add small star-shaped stickers to the inside too, if desired. Fill the bag with two inches of sand. Repeat these steps to make additional luminaries. Place luminaries outdoors where you can keep an eye on them. Press a tealight into the sand at the center of each bag. As the sun sets, light the luminaries and watch the stars glimmer and glow.
“THREE CHEERS FOR THE…” TABLECLOTH
Items needed: Red and blue crepe paper streamers; two bowls; lukewarm water; scissors; pen; flat sponges; various sized star stencils; heavy-duty white paper tablecloth.
Cut red and blue crepe paper into small pieces and place each color in its own bowl. Add just enough lukewarm water to each bowl to cover the paper. Let it stand for a few minutes to tint the water. Pull out the wet paper and discard. Using a pen and the star stencils, trace over flat sponges to create different sized stars. Cut them out. One by one, dip the sponges in colored water (they will expand) and then press randomly on the tablecloth until it is studded with stars. Let dry then use for your next patriotic picnic.
FUN FACTOID: GLORIOUS NICKNAME
In March of 1824, U.S. Sea Captain William Driver was given an American flag as a birthday and farewell gift from loved ones in his hometown of Salem, Massachusetts. So delighted was Driver by this gift, he named it “Old Glory,” and thereafter it accompanied him on voyages. When he retired in 1837, the old sea captain proudly displayed it from his then-Nashville home. But when Tennessee seceded from the Union in 1861, Driver put Old Glory into hiding for fear she would be stolen or destroyed. One year later Union soldiers came marching into town and the valiant patriot rushed to the Tennessee State Capitol, raised his flag and stood watch throughout the night to see it wasn’t taken. Just before his death in 1886, Driver gave Old Glory to his daughter with the admonition to love and cherish it as he had. The flag remained with the Drivers until 1922 when it was donated to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. where it still is today.
- The Flag We Love by Pam Munoz Ryan.
- The Impossible Patriotism Project by Linda Skeers.
- Fourth of July Mice! by Bethany Roberts.
- Happy Birthday, America! by Marsha Wilson Chall.
- Red, White, and Blue: The Story of the American Flag by John Herman.
Denise Morrison Yearian is the former editor of two parenting magazines and the mother of three children and four grandchildren.