Begin your day by reading Corduroy's Fourth of July by Don Freeman. Corduroy and his friends spend the holiday with a picnic, games, marching in a parade, viewing fireworks and celebrating a very famous birthday. After reading, ask the toddlers if they can relate to the things Corduroy did. Use this book to increase interest in this holiday and proceed with the activities below.
Stars and Stripes Art
Prior to class, cut out stars and wavy stripes from a household sponge. Set up containers of red and blue tempera paints. Hand-on-hand, help the toddlers dip the sponges into the paint and print onto white construction paper. Continue to help them print randomly on the page. There is no right or wrong way to do this craft - the process is the important part. Talk with the children that red, white, and blue are the colors of this country and the stars and stripes are on the American flag.
Fireworks Splatter Prints
Give each child a Koosh ball dipped in paint. Place the black paper on the floor and allow them to drop the ball onto the paper. The Koosh ball will leave an imprint that looks like a ball of fireworks. Let them drop several balls on their paper in shades of red, white, and blue. Since this can be a messy art activity, either do it outdoors or place newspapers to protect the floors. Of course with all painting activities with toddlers, make sure they are wearing paint smocks.
Strike Up the Band
Pass out rhythm instruments to the children. Talk about parades and show them how to do a marching step. Play music that is related to patriotic holidays such as the 1812 Overture or Stars and Stripes Forever. Invite them to march around the room, shaking and tapping their instruments to the beat of the music. As a variation to instruments, make shaker wands. Staple several lengths of crepe paper streamers to the end of a toilet or paper towel cardboard tube. The toddlers can decorate their individual shaker with patriotic stickers. When the music plays, they can march and shake their wands.