Today we pulled out all of our red, white, and blue paper, stars & stripes, and glittery stickers! It’s time to celebrate the USA! I love the Fourth of July and I love incorporating patriotic activities into our day this time of year.
We just started out by decorating a blank piece of red or blue construction paper. My kids picked stickers (they’ve been on a sticker craze lately), and cut out paper stars, and stripes that I had cut for them. Quick side note, I usually try to keep materials to things that most people already have around the house, or things that are easy to grab at the grocery store or local department stores. But, we received these shape paper punches as a gift a while back and they are great for my kids! They are something that isn’t always out to play with, something they have to problem solve with, a fine motor process, and something that gives them a fun outcome! So, if you see some of these on sale sometime at the craft store, I think they are worth getting a few! My kids pull them out a lot to use even when we aren’t doing a specific craft.
We have a star punch and a heart punch, and the star got used a lot today! We did a lot of gluing, sticking on stickers, some coloring with glitter crayons. This is another art activity that the sky is the limit. Have some glitter, have some paint, stars, stripes, markers, crayons, whatever you have on hand will make a rich but fun learning experience.
Once their piece of paper was decorated and the glue had dried some, I rolled it into a “tube” and stapled it. I was going to glue it, but it just worked better to staple the edges closed. Then, to make it more stable I stapled it to a clear plastic cup with elastic already stapled to it for a chin strap. You could do this, or you could just skip it and attach the elastic to the construction paper, it just might not be quite as stable. Now with the finished product you have a craft that your child will be proud of, as well as a prop for pretend play to continue the fun!
Let’s talk about what’s happening in this activity:
Art: Of course this is a great opportunity for practice with art materials and getting to use their independence to make their own creation. Your younger toddler may need more suggestions and help putting decorations on the paper. Give a little help, and then give them a little space to try some things. For your older toddler, try to let them take the reigns a little more on deciding what they use, how they use it, where it goes etc. It’s a great chance to allow freedom, but I still capitalized on opportunities to offer suggestions too. Like, “do you want to try some red stars?” “You have a bunch of glue already on the paper, use that before you add any more,” or, “Here are red stripes, just like on our flag on the house! Do you want some stripes?”
Fine Motor: Picking up stickers and decorations, squeezing glue or using a glue stick, coloring or painting… this activity is full of fine motor experiences!
Communication: Just like any other activity, take these chances to talk and talk some more. Talk about colors, talk
about materials, be encouraging, talk about what they are making, describe what you see them doing, and ask questions along the way. Remember that they hear and understand words they hear before they are able to express things
themselves, so even if your toddler isn’t talking back, they hear you and you are constantly adding labels to the things in their world by talking to them.