By Donna Erickson
Signal Contributing Editor
I eagerly count down the days to the Fourth of July. It’s a special time when Americans gather to celebrate our independence. In my extended family gathering, we even toss in a birthday song to my cousin who was born on the fourth. When she blows out the candles on her cake decorated with mini American flags, it’s a tradition to tease her for being born with a “firecracker” personality.
Fly the flag! Whether it’s prepping for a mini-parade and decorating bikes, helmets and pets, or planning a menu, let the flag be your inspiration. Whatever patriotic activity you choose, there’s something red, white, and blue to do.
Paint and learn
Use a photo or actual flag as a reference and paint a picture of the flag on construction paper. As your child draws, read the Pledge of Allegiance together. Divide the pledge into short phrases and talk about what the words mean to you and your family. For example, what is “liberty,” and what does “justice for all” mean in your daily lives and in your own community?
Collect several medium to large rocks with flat sides. Wash and let dry. Paint a flag design on them with red, white and blue acrylic paints. Use small rocks as a napkin weight at your outdoor meal. Use a large rock as a sign to direct people along a walkway to your picnic location by painting a large arrow next to the flag. Set on the ground or on a small table.
Stars and Stripes dessert
The Fourth of July calls for a special dessert. Decorate a homemade or store-bought sheet cake with white frosting. Rinse and hull a pint or more (depending on size of cake) of fresh strawberries. Slice them in half. Let dry. Rinse and dry a small carton of blueberries. Using a flag for reference, let kids employ their artistic flair by setting the strawberries in rows to resemble the stripes of the flag. Save a quadrant in the top left corner to fill with the blueberry “stars.”
Wave the flag
For post-dusk fireworks fun, plan a sing-along fest. Encourage those who play an instrument like a guitar or ukulele to accompany the group as everyone waves small flags in their hands while singing. Choose contemporary and traditional patriotic songs such as “The Star-Spangled Banner,” “America the Beautiful” and “This Land is Your Land.”
Donna Erickson’s award-winning series “Donna’s Day” is airing on public television nationwide. To find more of her creative family recipes and activities, visit www.donnasday.com and link to the NEW Donna’s Day Facebook fan page. Her latest book is “Donna Erickson’s Fabulous Funstuff for Families.”
© 2020 Donna Erickson
Distributed by King Features Synd.