Celebrate the 4th of July—Independence Day—with more than picnics and fireworks this year! Check out the Homeschool Classroom for some great ideas for teaching the history and meaning of Independence Day. Learn about the Declaration of Independence, explore our country’s symbols and traditions, and share the celebration with younger children with fun crafts, activities, and stories.

 

Declaration of Independence

Marilyn Boyer of Character Concepts reflects on Independence Day as an opportunity to teach our children about the godly foundations of our nation in this blog post.

Ducksters.com offers a history lesson about the Declaration of Independence, along with additional activities and interesting facts.

Test your knowledge of the history of the Declaration of Independence with this online quiz.

Improve retention skills, vocabulary, and understanding of the message itself by memorizing all—or even part—of the Declaration. Learn memorization tips and techniques and explore some helpful resources.

 

Symbols of Independence

Enchanted Learning offers a wide array of free lessons on various US symbols and monuments, including national and state birds, flags, and more.

Discover how our national flag earned the nickname “Old Glory.” You can use this lesson to introduce a discussion about what the name means and what the flag represents.

Learn the story of Francis Scott Key and the events that inspired him to write our national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner.

Do you know how to properly display and care for a flag? If you plan to display one over the Independence Day holiday or at any time of the year, there are rules of flag etiquette to follow.

Learn about the history of fireworks and the first time they were used as part of our country’s 4th of July celebration—this tradition is probably a lot older than you think!

Who chose the bald eagle as our national symbol and why?

 

Celebrating Independence

Try one of these simple crafty decorations for great ways to keep restless hands busy while listening to stories and histories of our country.

This star mobile from Enchanted Learning is simple and festive.

A star wreath like this one is a bright, festive way to welcome family and friends to your home.

This freedom bell craft uses old yogurt cups and tin foil to make an inexpensive “freedom bell” decoration.

These window stars make a lovely, patriotic window display that can be appreciated from inside and out.

Try a simple experiment with oil, water, and food coloring to achieve this cool “fireworks” effect. Bonus: They’re totally silent and completely safe for indoors!

Choose a patriotic poem such as the examples below and encourage children to appreciate its rhythm and language by reading the poem aloud. Bonus points for memorization!

“I Hear America Singing” by Walt Whitman

“The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus

“A Nation’s Strength” by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Try reading either of these picture books to your younger children while they work on one of the crafts mentioned above.

The Story of America’s Birthday by Patricia Pingry

The Journey of the One and Only Declaration of Independence by Judith St. George

The lovely anthology Celebrate America: In Poetry and Art, compiled by the Smithsonian American Art Museum, features over 50 poems and reproductions of works of art, all celebrating unique aspects of American life.