Patriotism means love and devotion for one’s country. It can be shown in a variety of ways, including thoughts, words, and actions. Here are some activities and conversations to help kids learn about patriotism and the different ways people can demonstrate it:
- Discuss the meaning of the stars, stripes, and colors of the flag. When walking through your neighborhood or on a family trip, see how many flags you can find.
- Show children the correct way to display and fold a flag. Guidance may be available from local scout troop, military installation, or veteran’s organization. (Can you spot the problem with the flag shown in the photo above? See ANSWER below.)
- Volunteer at a local veterans hospital. Talk to patients about their lives and experiences. Include children in the conversation. Prepare children for the experience. Suggest questions for them to ask. Talk about other ways to honor veterans.
- Read the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. Talk about why the writers decided to write what they did. Let your children pretend they are staring their own country and create their own framework of rights and responsibilities.
- Take children with you when you vote and talk about why the process is important.
- Make a family tree. Talk about relatives who serve in the armed forces, past and present. Talk about ancestors and why they chose to immigrate to the United States. Personalizing history makes it more relevant.
- Learn the Pledge of Allegiance. Talk about the meaning of the words.
- On patriotic holidays, like Independence Day, discuss the reasons for the celebrations or observances. Learn the differences between Veterans Day and Memorial Day.
Adapted from “Simple Patriotism for Kids” by Rachel Robertson. Rachel is an educator and the author of Deployment Journal for Kids, a special place for military kids to record their feelings and events when a loved one is deployed.
ANSWER: When the flag is displayed on a flat surface like a wall, whether horizontally or vertically, the union (blue field and stars) should be at the top left. Source: USA.gov.
More about actions and observances honoring military service: