This Sunday may be Flag Day, but did you know that the 21 days from Flag Day through Independence Day are known as the “Honor America Days”? So why stop at celebrating just the summer two holidays when you can celebrate the founding of our nation for 21 straight days? Danyelle Cleveland is a social studies teacher who teaches US History at Patrick Henry Middle School. She says that becoming immersed in history allows it to come alive, and she’s brought 21 ways for us to do just that.

Here is Danyelle’s list of 21 ways to Celebrate the 21 days from Flag Day to Independence Day:

Learning about our country’s history can be done in a fun and engaging way because it is not just about dates and names. Becoming immersed in history allows it to come alive especially when you begin to share the stories behind events. You find yourself wanting to know more about our country’s past. The way history is presented to kids matters; before they know it, they are learning about something they thought would be boring and walk away realizing, “Wow! I never knew history could be so interesting.” Here are 21 activities and background stories to enjoy during Honor America Days, the days between Flag Day and the 4th of July.

1. Flag Day was adopted by the Continental Congress on June 14th, 1777.  Betsy Ross is often credited for creating the first flag for our country in May 1776.  The 13 stripes represent the 13 colonies and the stars found in the corner, or the canton, represent the number of states.  Create a tissue paper flag or paper tube flag by using basic crafting materials.  Click the links for directions: 
Paper tube flag:
Tissue paper flag:

2. Using sidewalk chalk, draw the American flag while sharing the meaning of the colors of the flag:  red represents valor and hardiness; white represents innocence and purity; blue stands for justice and perseverance. 

3. Plan a red, white, and blue family picnic.  If you do not have a red and white checkered table cloth, plastic ones can be bought at the Dollar Store along with plates, napkins, and utensils.  Wear red, white and blue clothes. Pack food that are the colors of the flag. Ideas include raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries topped with whipped cream, watermelon, salsa with blue chips, caprese salad, hamburgers with swiss cheese and tomato slices, cheesecake with strawberries and blueberries, bomb pops, or cupcakes.

4. The National Anthem was written during the War of 1812 by Francis Scott Key after a battle at Fort McHenry in Baltimore, MD.  The original flag that inspired him to write the song is on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.  Visit their website which allows users to click on parts of the original flag to discover interesting tidbits about it:

5. “The Star-Spangled Banner” was originally given the title “Defence of Fort M’Henry”.  Months later, a Baltimore music store printed the patriotic song and gave it the more attractive title we know today. It was not until 1931, over 100 years after its creation, that Congress passed a measure making it officially our national anthem. Through the years, the anthem has been performed numerous times and ways, but probably the most famous was by Whitney Houston (1991). Click on the link to hear and see the lyrics of the anthem:

6. Display an American flag at your home which can be purchased at many stores in town. Talk about the rules and guidelines of flying the American flag:

  • The flag should never touch the ground.
  • The flag should only be on display from sunrise to sunset only; if on display a night, a light should be illuminating it.
  • Do not fly the flag in the rain.
  • Always fly the American flag above other flags (state, city). If they must be displayed at the same level (like from a porch), it must be on the left.
  • If displayed flat against a wall, a window, or in a vertical orientation, the “union” field of stars should be uppermost and to the left of the observer.
  • Old or worn flags must be disposed of properly. Contact a local American Legion or local scout troops to assist in the process.
  • Fold the flag properly before storing:

7. Design your own American flag terra cotta flowerpot. Use acrylic paint to prevent flaking and make sure to cover the area you are painting on with a cloth or newspaper. Set the pot upside down to make it more stable. The paint dries quickly unless painted on thickly.  Add geraniums and your done!  Click here for a quick tutorial:

8. Make your own American flag wreath using clothes pins.  All you need is a wreath ring (sold at The Dollar Store), clothes pins, red and blue paint, and white foam stars (Walmart).  Here is how to create it:

9. Looking for a yummy treat? Make a red, white, and blue smoothie following this easy recipe: 

10. What are some famous American symbols? Show this cute music video set to the song “Proud to be an American” It provides clues to help kids guess some of the more popular ones. After watching, print the color page that includes each symbol mentioned in the video.

11. The Declaration of Independence includes one of the most famous phrases written in our country’s history, and many people often refer to them in their own speeches and writings: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  Talk about the meaning of this statement and how it applies to our lives today.

12. The Constitution provides the laws and guidelines for our nation’s government.  Some of the most famous written words can be found in the preamble (introduction) of this document.  Watch the School House Rock video to learn the words of the preamble.  ( Warning:  this song will be stuck in your head after listening to it. 

13. There are great picture books about the Founding Fathers and our presidents. So You Want to Be President? by Judith St. George and Ghosts of the White House by Cheryl Harness are great for reading aloud. The What is America series provides numerous books about influential people, places, and events in American history.

14. Do you know all 50 states?  Listen to the 50 Nifty States song and you will quickly catch on:

15. South Dakota and Mount Rushmore; the two go hand in hand. Planning a weekend visit to see and walk the trails would be an ideal way to experience this popular American monument; however, if that isn’t possible, create your own version of Mount Rushmore by drawing your own Mt. Rushmore memorials honoring four influential people in your lives. Share why the four presidents found on the monument were selected: George Washington was chosen for this monument because of his role in the Revolutionary War and his fight for American independence. He was the first United States president and is often called the father of our country. Thomas Jefferson was picked because he believed that people should be allowed to govern themselves, which is the basis for democracy. Abraham Lincoln was added because he believed that all people are equal, and he helped end slavery in the United States. Theodore Roosevelt was chosen because he was such an influential president and world leader. 

16. Make your own fireworks using shaving cream, red and blue finger paint, and glitter. Spray shaving cream in a tray or pan. Using the paint, draw fireworks using paint brushes and toothpicks. Add glitter on top of the fireworks for sparkle.

17. Write a letter to someone that is, or has served, in the military. It is a great way to offer encouragement and appreciation. Click on this link for important guidelines when writing a letter:  Letters can be sent to this address:

Operation Gratitude
ATTN: Letter Writing Program
9409 Owensmouth Avenue 
Chatsworth, CA 91311

18. National Parks… we have 62 of them operated by the National Park Service. Located throughout the United States, some of the most popular parks include Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and the Great Smoky Mountains.  There are many kid friendly books about these parks, including America’s National Parks by Lonely Planet, Alexa Ward. Make a list of the parks that interest you the most. Then plan a “trip” to the parks selected.  Decide the order you would visit each, what looks most interesting about each park, what you would want to see there, what you would need to bring on the trip and the route you would take to get to each park.  You can also visit the National Parks website for fun activities:

19. It is hard not to recognize a John Phillip Sousa march at parades. He composed 136 military marches including “The Stars and Stripes Forever”, “Washington Post March”, and “Semper Fidelis”, the official march of the United States Marine Corp. Their rhythm and tone create feelings of patriotism whenever performed.  Listen and clap along to some of his famous marches How does the music makes you feel, what instruments do you hear, and why do you think they are played at parades?

20. Sing along to some popular patriotic songs:

“America The Beautiful”
“Yankee Doodle”
“This Land Is Your Land”

18. In most countries, like China or Ireland, citizens share a common culture or ethnicity. But in America, we share a common idea that people should have certain freedoms. This promise of freedom has inspired people from all over the world to come here and become Americans. Ask what your child knows about your own family’s journey to this country. Why did your ancestors come here? Why did they stay? Share that here, though we come from many different places, we have something in common — we are all Americans.