Monday, June 30, 2014

Happy 238th Birthday America!

My Yankee Doodle baby
Our preschoolers celebrated the 4th of July a few days early this year. The group's founder pulled out all the stops, putting together a sparkless sparkler craft (pictured above), two patriotic stories, tricolored costume pieces, patriotic marching band music, a preschool parade around the park's picnic area, and a picnic potluck.

This book - Betsy Ross by Becky White - was one of ours. The text is minimal ("Betsy ripped. Rip, rip."), but it does have a few preschool-vocabulary-expanding-words such as crimson and indigo. The amazing illustrations by Megan Lloyd are made entirely from fabric! (I sew, so when I look at these illustrations, I see how much work went into them, and I have so much respect for Megan Lloyd's artistry.) The book is simple, but in its simplicity, it teaches concepts like the first American flag had 13 stars, 7 red stripes, and 6 white stripes, that the stars were originally in a circle, and that another name for the flag is Old Glory. (The reason I'm including this information is because I always question whether or not a book is useful & beautiful or twaddle. This book is useful & beautiful.)

(image from http://familycrafts.about.com/od/fireworks/ss/spsparkler.htm)
The sparkless sparkler craft is brilliant! It's festive and my three-year-old loves wands, so this is was a hit.

My daughter's sparkless sparker
You need a thin wooden dowel (you can even use a new unsharpened pencil for a shorter sparkler), red tape (wide), and items like sparkly garlands from Dollar Tree, a fake flower, and a styrofoam star on a stick. You can also use sparkly pipe cleaners and curling ribbon curls. You lay down a strip of red tape as long as your wooden dowel, put the dowel in the middle of the tape, and lay down your fun sparkly accoutrements at the top. Wrap the tape around the dowel and sparkly stuff. Finally, take a short piece of red tape and wrap it around the top to secure everything in place. You're done!

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