The Fourth of July is a holiday that most children love. It is full of fireworks, parades, outdoor BBQ's, warm weather, and plenty of family time. But, does your child know what the 4th of July is REALLY for? Do they know that it is part of their American heritage? Do they understand that it is part of their history? Probably not. At least, I know my two little ones (6 and 3) have no clue. Could I explain it to them in terms they could understand? Absolutely.
Teaching your kids about this holiday is important. Independence Day is all about the early colonists and their set of ideals that they wanted to adopt as they established their independence from Great Britain. Every family usually has a set of ideals, principles, or morals that they try to follow in the home as well. Some families may even have a list of "rules" posted in their home somewhere. The signing of the Declaration of Independence is similar. If you don't have a list of "rules" posted in your home, think about creating a list with your children, and having everyone sign it. Or, think of creating a list of ideals, morals, or principles that the entire family wants to live by. Sometimes "rules" can have a negative connotation in a child's mind.
Then, explain to them that the early colonists were committed to becoming independent from Great Britain. Your list of family ideals will help your children to also grow up and become independent someday too. Explain that independence means they will not need so much help from Mom and Dad anymore. As they live the family principles, they will become better people. They will always be able to look back and remember those basic principles that they signed in the home that helped them become a strong member of the family, and ultimately independent.
As you talk about the importance of Independence Day, you can discuss other topics like:
The men who signed the declaration
The history of the flag
What is a colony?
What life was like before our Independence
Do you have a relative that lived during the time of the signing of the Declaration of Independence?
Last, think about doing a fun craft, puzzle, or making a special red, white, and blue treat as you discuss this important holiday with your children. Hands on learning is what will make a lesson stick! But, more importantly, have fun teaching your kids about their American roots.