The American flag has a rich and symbolic history. The flag engenders feelings of pride and unity in Americans. It is important for children to learn about the history behind this national symbol. By learning some simple flag facts, children can gain a greater appreciation for the American flag. Teach children about the flag's original maker, the meaning of the stars and stripes, and the American flag's colour symbolism.
When starting to teach children flag facts, an easy introduction should begin with a discussion of Betsy Ross. Betsy Ross is credited with sewing the first American flag in 1776. Show children images of Betsy as she works diligently to sew the American flag.
Stars and Stripes
Another easy topic of discussion relates to the stars and stripes of the flag. Children can be told that the 50 stars on the flag refer to the 50 states. For older kids, you can use a map of the United States to actually point out and identify the 50 states. Kids should learn that the last star to be added represents Hawaii. You can also teach children that the 13 stripes on the flag represent the 13 original colonies. The focus of this discussion of flag facts should be on numbers -- 50 states and 13 colonies. If you wish to teach older children the names of the 13 original colonies, they are: Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Virginia.
Red, White, and Blue
Children should be taught that the three colours of the American flag are red, white, and blue. The colours were chosen specifically for the meanings that are attached to them. White has a meaning of innocence or purity. Red refers to the valour of our nation and its people. Finally, blue represents justice, perseverance, and vigilance. Children can discuss the meaning of each concept as they develop a deeper understanding for the American ideals that are represented by the flag.
Children may celebrate the flag's "birthday" on June 14. Give them gifts of small flags on flag day so they will be better able to remember that the flag and its design were approved on June 14, 1777, by the Continental Congress. Adults can help kids determine the age of the earliest American flag so that children can understand how long our nation has existed.