Happy Independence Day, America!

July 4th is America’s day to recognize when they became an independent country, and  no longer part of the British colonies. 

To help my American friends to celebrate, I have a couple of simple activities to do with  your kids – first, rock painting in red, white and blue, and, second, making fireworks pictures.

A. Rockin’ it in Red, White and Blue!

Materials: stones of various sizes, paint – 

red, white and blue; brushes, pencil  and/or chalk; optional: paper to make star stencils

1. Paint the stones you want to use white to give them a base. This will make the red and blue brighter than if you paint without the white base.

2. Paint the stones with designs like stripes and stars. You can make a stencil of a star using
the star shape or the cut-out star shape to trace the shape onto stones, or just draw a star
shape free hand.

3. Consider painting the American flag on a larger flat stone. Draw the basic shape of the flag on a stone then add the details, like the blue rectangle and the stripes. Depending on the size of the stone, the stars can just be white dots, made with the point of a pencil.

B. Fireworks

Material: paper, crayons, black paint, water, large brushes, paper plate or something to put a dab of paint on and add a little water.

1. Use bright coloured crayons to draw firework shapes on the paper. This could curved lines shooting out to all sides from a central point, dots of sparkles, or lines going up and then shooting out into sparkles, or however you think fireworks look. Make sure to draw firmly or to go over the crayon marks a second time.

2. Once you have the fireworks
drawn on the page, you want to wash the page in black paint. This is best done by either thinning some black paint, or having some water on the brush when you dip it into the paint. The paint must be thinned somewhat so the crayon will show.

3. Brush over the paper,including over the crayon fireworks. This will create the dark sky around the fireworks. You want to work quickly to wash the paint over the page to make the black as even as possible. (It will never be completely even).

What is Independence Day? It’s a day that recognizes the day the 13 British colonies agreed to become a single country, united in their desire to be independent from Britain. On July 4, 1776, the delegates from the 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence.

John Adams, one of the founding fathers wrote that he thought the day should be celebrated with parades, bells, games, sports, bonfires and fireworks.

Britain did not agree with this declaration of independence and attacked the colonists and the American Revolution began, ending eight years later with the defeat of the British.

In 1876, the people of France presented the United States with the Statue of Liberty as a sign of the friendship between the two countries and their desire for liberty. Though it wasn’t until 1884 that the statue was shipped to the United States and reconstructed.

In the United States, Independence Day is a federal holiday  traditionally observed with parades, concerts, picnics, and  fireworks.

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Elaine Hornung