The 4th of July is more than just eating delicious char-grilled burgers and watching the sky light up with bursting fireworks, although that certainly is part of the fun. With this special, patriotic holiday quickly approaching, I wanted to offer some 4th of July centers for preschoolers that were not only fun and educational, but also low-prep, so instead of spending your hours outside of school lesson planning, you can spend it celebrating.
When I was ten years old, a new family moved into our neighborhood. They had a boy the same age as me and our mothers quickly became friends. Best friends, I’d say. In fact, I refer to this boy’s mother as my second mom and this boy ended up becoming a close friend with whom I still keep in contact.
Our mothers are very similar in most ways. They are fervent followers at church, both love cooking and both share a deep and heartfelt patriotism for the United States. So much so that soon after they met they joined forces to host a 4th of July party. It began small, just a few mutual friends and their families, but twenty-four years later they are still throwing that annual 4th of July bash, only now it has grown to include, sometimes, up to 200 people in attendance. (Although I’ll admit I was out of town that year, but rumor has it there were close to that many people).
Why do so many make time for this holiday party?
Well, because it is epic! It begins with swimming and dinner, and with so many people in attendance you can be assured that you’ll get your fill of traditional Independence Day food. There are skits, songs, and plays prepared, all reminding us the reason for celebration. There are testimonies from those who have served our nation, and storytelling about patriotic heroes. There is even a bike parade for the children.
I kid you not.
We are all asked to bring our kids’ bikes and tricycles to the party, where they are provided with supplies like crepe paper and flags to decorate them, and the kids pedal down the street making their own parade. There is a pilot car that is blasting, you guessed it, patriotic music, and if the kids know the words they sing along!
And do you know what? All the neighbors come out to watch and wave and clap.
But that is not all. The night ends with an incredible, choreographed display of fireworks pyrotechnics, put to patriotic music that will move even a conspiracy theorist to shedding tears.
You go home completely and utterly exhausted. But I have to admit, this mix of fun and stalwart patriotism can be quite moving, and compels you to be a better citizen.
So, having been raised with that kind of background, I look forward to teaching about the 4th of July holiday in preschool. Because to me, it is more than just great tasting hamburgers and sparklers, and I want my preschoolers to understand that, too.
Low-Prep 4th of July Centers for Preschoolers
These 4th of July centers were designed very thoughtfully. There is a wide range of images to help teach preschoolers about the holiday, from Lady Liberty to the American flag, but also included are the more traditional images from things preschoolers may already know about and look forward to, like fireworks and corn on the cob.
So, what makes these 4th of July centers to low-prep? Well, because they are printable. So, just a little bit of laminating, which is easy peasy, and a few straight lines to cut in those five activities, one activity pack is enough for an entire class of preschoolers.
4th of July “I Spy”
Children work on sorting skills with these “I Spy” sheets. Since they are designed for preschoolers, the task is not to count all the different pictures and record them, but rather to find pictures in a set and mark them with a counter. Children use visual discrimination skills to differentiate which pictures to mark with a specific color counter. My preschoolers used little start shaped erasers, but you can use any counter that comes in a few different colors.
4th of July Alphabet Puzzles
Let me begin by saying that the pictures on the puzzles don’t correlate with the letter. That’s because the purpose of these puzzles is not to teach beginning sounds, but rather letter matching and identification. The cards are color coded in sets of three color backgrounds, allowing you to offer the puzzles in smaller quantities so as not to overwhelm your preschooler with having to match up 26 puzzles at once.
4th of July Picture Matching and Graphing Board Game
This is a preschooler favorite. Children expand their vocabularies in this game by identifying the name of American themed pictures on the spaces they land as they collect counters to add to their graph. The person with all of the items graphed wins the game.
4th of July Prewriting Cards
My preschoolers adore themed prewriting cards, so I had to include these in the 4th of July centers. What I love about writing cards is that they can be used with dry erase markers, or they can be set up in a salt tray as well. Or, you can even leave them all in one sheet and slide them into a dry erase pouch if you don’t want to spend the extra time laminating.
4th of July Concentration Game
The great thing about a game of concentration is that is can easily be modified depending on the needs of your class. If your preschoolers need to work on visual discrimination skills (a precursor to letter identification) then having all the cards facing up and matching them is the route to go. A more advanced approach, one that works more on critical thinking and memory skills, is to play the game the traditional way.
Get Your 4th of July Centers for Preschoolers
Want More Holiday Packs?
This isn’t the only activity pack that works great as preschool centers. You may like these as well!
I’m Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home-mama of five! I’m the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught a range of levels, from preschool to college and a little bit of everything in between. Right now my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.