A great way to start talking about different flags and the meanings behind them is to incorporate them into arts and crafts projects. For our two- and four-year-olds, I create an F is for Flag project so they could make their own representation of the American flag.
The official flag of the United States of America was established through a resolution passed by the Continental Congress on June 14, 1777: "Resolved, that that flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation."
The origin of the flag is unknown but popular stories hold that it was designed by New Jersey Congressman Francis Hopkins and sewn by Philadelphia seamstress Betsy Ross. In fact, the Betsy Ross House is one of the top tourist attractions of Philadelphia.
Today the flag of the United States consists of 13 stripes, alternating red and white, and 50 stars on the blue background. The red symbolizes hardiness and valor, the white symbolizes purity and innocence, and the blue symbolizes perseverance and justice. The 13 stripes represent the 13 original colonies while the 50 stars represent the 50 states in the Union. One can find older flags with less stars on them as there were not always 50 states in the Union.
The American flag provided inspiration for the national anthem of the Untied States as it flew over Fort McHenry in the harbor of Baltimore, MD. During the night the British bombarded the fort (during the War of 1812) but in the morning the flag was still flying. Francis Scott Key was inspired by the sight of the flag flying, he wrote the "Star Spangled-Banner."
"O say can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight
O'er the ramparts we watch'd were so gallantly streaming?"
- White construction paper
- Red construction paper
- Blue construction paper
- Stars stickers
- Black construction paper
- Glue sticks
1. Gather all your materials. (I pre-cut the letter F and the pieces for the flag to make it easier.)
2. Glue the letter F onto your background piece.
3. Start gluing on the appropriate fitting red stripes. Leave space in between to create the white stripes.
4. Glue on the blue square piece.
5. Attach stickers for the stars.
6. Display your child's artwork!
PBS.org's History of the American Flag
Betsy Ross' House First American Flag History
Fort McHenry National Monument and Shrine