This hands-on activity uses just a few ordinary supplies to create an extra-fun 4th of July craft. You and your child can celebrate our nation's heritage while also boosting skills in geometric thinking and following sequential directions. And while you're at it, you'll even demonstrate a little wind power in action!
Have your child color both sides of the 8" x 8” square of paper. On one side, use a pencil to draw five-pointed stars, and then color around them in blue crayon or pen. On the other side, use a ruler to mark out thick red stripes, alternating with white space. To reinforce the history behind these designs, pull out a small American flag, or a picture of one, and point to the “Stars and Stripes.” Then, remind your child that this flag was one of America's first symbols of independence. An easy-to-understand way to introduce the reasons for the colonists' rebellion against England is to compare it to an older sibling telling you what to do and demanding that you give him your allowance. The colonists wanted to make their own rules and provide for their own needs. They wanted to become an independent country. We celebrate the 4th of July because it's the anniversary of the birth of the United States of America.
Use the pencil and ruler to draw lines from corner to corner of your paper, and point out how this turns your square into four equal triangles. Then cut on the lines towards the middle, stopping about ½ an inch from the middle. You will have made four cuts across the square. If your child wants to “do the cutting,” make sure to draw horizontal “stop lines” on the corner lines to show him where to cease cutting!
Have your child draw a small “x” on the right corner of each of the four sections. With your child's help, bend the marked points of each section toward the middle and push a pin through them at the middle. If you find this step difficult to complete, here's another way to do this. Work with one corner at a time, pushing the needle through the paper to hold each section until you’ve bent over each of the four sections.
Slide a bead onto the pin and then push the pin into the eraser of the unsharpened pencil. Have your child blow on the pinwheel. Explain to him that the power of wind makes it spin. Happy 4th of July!
Sally is an experienced educator, with over 14 years of teaching experience. In addition to teaching, she has also created educational materials, including ancillary, textbook, and test items, for Grades K-8 for major educational publishers.