We are feeling super patriotic this week as we gear up for the Fourth of July. We are topping it all off with our own, homemade, American flag! This might not be as simple of an art activity that I usually include, but with guidance from us, kids will really enjoy getting to put this together! They won’t even realize that they are getting a fine motor work out, gluing practice, and even some experience with patterning (an early math concept).
-I cut a piece of blue construction paper in half. This will be the background, and you will leave the top left corner open to be the blue area for the stars.
-Then I cut 6 white and 7 red, 1/2-inch stripes from construction paper. I did not measure the width of the stripes, I just eye balled it, but I did use the ruler to keep my lines straight.
-I drew in a box for reference in the left hand corner of the blue paper to know how much space to leave open for stars. (there are 7 stripes that go along the blue star area)
It looks like a more technical preparation, but it really took me about 5 minutes.
With your child:
Now it’s time to grab the glue and the star stickers and put it all together! Help your child with the first couple of stripes and give them an idea of where they are supposed to go. It might sound something like: “First the flag starts with a red stripe and it goes right along here at the top. Next is a white stripe. Which one do you think comes next?” If they don’t know, that’s ok, help them out. I helped guide the glue on where the next stripe would go, and then I let my son do his best at laying it down.
Once the stripes are on you can add stars. I’m going to be honest, this is a lot of fine motor work in this activity. So, if your child is not into the stars, save it for another time. They might be ready to move on to something else. That’s ok. I have also found my kids have a hard time getting stars off of the paper backing, so I take stars off and they stick them down.
Let’s talk about what’s going on here:
Art: This is a great opportunity to talk about colors in a natural way, because the entire craft really revolves around what color the stripes are, what color comes next, etc. It’s also a great time to get some experience with gluing. Keep in mind, for younger children especially, they don’t really have any concept of what glue is. Help as needed, but find the balance for some freedom too. Even with a little help from you, they will be very proud of their creation once it is finished!
Fine Motor: This involves tons of picking up of the stripes and stars as well as gluing in this activity. It’s a great fine motor work out to strengthen those little hand and forearm muscles that they will use in the future when holding a pencil or a marker.
Early Math: I like this craft because it is also introducing a simple pattern, which is an early math concept. Being able to see the differences between two objects, in this case the difference between a red stripe and a white stripe, is the beginning of being able to classify, sort, and pattern. We take this ability for granted as adults, because we can’t remember a time that we weren’t able to do this. So, don’t be frustrated if it’s not clicking with your child. It’s OK ! Just fill in the spots where they need help, maybe point out “Hey this goes red, white, red, white! Just like our flag outside!” Ask them if they know what comes next, and if they don’t you can say “White comes next, because we just did a red one,” or if they start to grab the wrong color say “Wait! Are you sure about that one? We just did that white, I think we need a red one now. Can you find a red one?” So, you are offering help, but letting them think it through and ultimately make the “decision” to switch, and grab the correct one.