My earliest Fourth of July memory is a celebratory parade my family and I attended. While my brother and I stood on the sidelines and waved to everyone marching by, we caught candy thrown from the floats, saving it to eat later. After the parade, we grabbed slices of watermelon provided by our small town. With watermelon juice dribbling down our chins, we chatted with our neighbors of all ages and colors.
I remember, even as a four-year-old, feeling like this time of year was special. That our country was special. I remember being proud to be an American, my love for country ignited. It is this same feeling of patriotism and hope that I desire to instill in my children. These 10 resources are a great way to prepare for Fourth of July celebrations and spark patriotism in your own children.
- Blue Sky, White Stars by Sarvinder Naberhaus
As a poetic look at the parallels between America and its flag, this book takes readers on a journey around the country, from Civil Rights marches to the first steps on the moon. This is a great tool for sparking patriotism in preschoolers and demonstrating the strength of our nation when we are united as one.
- How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World by Marjorie Priceman
My preschooler loves this tale of a young girl’s journey around the world to collect ingredients for an apple pie. From the orchards of Vermont to the rain forests of Sri Lanka, this is a fun way to learn more about places around the world and the ingredients in an apple pie.
- Independence Cake by Deborah Hopkinson & Giselle Potter
Inspired by the life of Amelia Simmons, the author of the first American cookbook, this is a fictitious account of her life during the Revolutionary War era and her preparation of 13 “independence cakes,” one for each of the 13 colonies. It introduces preschoolers to life during the 18th century and notable figures such as George Washington. My preschooler particularly loves this because her name is Amelia, just like the main character in this book.
- Corgiville Fair by Tasha Tudor
If your preschoolers are anything like mine, then I know they love the fair as much as mine does. This is a beautiful ode to small-town fairs, friendly (and not-so-friendly) neighbors, the Virginia Reel, and fireworks that light up the sky with shades of red, white, and blue.
- Patriotic Kids’ Songs by Cooltime Kids
This isn’t a book, but I still wanted to include it on this list. This album is full of songs to instill a love of country in your preschoolers. It includes timeless classics such as “Yankee Doodle,” “America the Beautiful,” “Home on the Range,” and “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” We listen to it while we drive in the car, and it has opened the door to many conversations about our country.
- Pie is for Sharing by Stephanie Parlsey Ledyard
What does it look like to share summertime with friends? Watching fireworks, eating pie, splashing in the river, picking fresh berries, collecting stones and storing them in your pocket. This is an ode to innocent childhood days and memories treasured with friends.
- Fourth of July Mice! by Bethany Roberts
I’ll be honest: I would have skipped over this book, but my preschooler loves it. (And she has enjoyed this entire series featuring other holidays.) The Fourth of July story is written in poem-style and explores a Fourth of July parade, picnic lunch, baseball game, burlap sack race, river play, and fireworks—an all-American day.
- A Fourth of July on the Plains by Jean Van Leeuwen
On their journey west, a group of pioneers celebrate the Fourth of July with a makeshift parade, a feast, and chorus of the “The Star-Spangled Banner.” This is a fictitious account of an Independence Day celebration and a cheerful look at what it means to be patriotic, even in the midst of less-than-desirable circumstances.
- Hats Off for the Fourth of July by Harriet Ziefert
Another favorite for my preschooler, this is a melodic poem about a Fourth of July parade. Filled with bright colors and nostalgic memories of parades past, this is a fun one to read aloud.
- This Land is Your Land by Woody Guthrie
Follow Woody Guthrie across America in this book inspired by his famous song. From the Coney Island Amusement Park to Iowa’s cornfields, Honolulu’s Waikiki Beach to a New Orleans’ Mardi Gras celebration, this beautifully illustrated story serves as a great introduction to landmarks across the nation.
What are your favorite tools for instilling patriotism in your children?
Photo credit: First image, iStock.
Follow me on Instagram @chelsearmoore to see how we are enjoying the summer’s celebrations.