Patriotic Table Decorations Tutorial
I love summer because of all the patriotic holidays. Our family loves Memorial Day when we visit military cemeteries. On Flag Day we cover our lawn in American flags. And for the Fourth of July, we go all out decorating in red, white, and blue.
This simple table decoration made with colored rice, is fun and easy to make with little ones. It also gives them great practice with fine motor skills and provides lots of opportunities to discuss why July 4 is an important day in our country. Start by gathering your materials and preparing a work space. We found this activity is most easily cleaned up when done outside.
Patriotic Table Decorations
To Dye Rice
You will need:
- Rice (uncooked)
- Food coloring (red and blue)
- Jar with a lid for each color (for each child)
To each jar add ¼ cup vinegar and a few drops of food coloring. Swirl the jar to mix the two together. Then add in ½ cup of white rice. Place lid on jar. Have children shake the jar until the rice is completely colored. Then let the jar sit for 5 minutes. We used those five minutes to turn our jars into bongo drums and had an impromptu concert. Then strain the liquid off the rice. Place the rice on a newspaper or brown packaging paper in the sun to dry. It was a sunny day and it took about 30 min to dry completely.
To Make the Table Decoration
- Put each color of rice in its own container
- Have a jar for each child to fill
- Provide a small measuring cup for each child
- A small flag for each jar
I quickly filled a jar to show my children the process and give them some inspiration. Then I gave them each a jar and a measuring cup and let them layer in the colors of rice with their own style. I stayed close to help the youngest (2 years old) get the rice in the jar and to even out each layer for him. The older ones (4 and 6) did great on their own without any assistance from me.
With the leftover rice we filled a large glass jar that we have. The kids had fun arranging the flags and helping me arrange the jars in various ways. We set them out on a table, we added other patriotic/summer table decorations, and finally we decorated our mantle with them. This way they are out of reach but not out of sight while we wait for July 4 to arrive. After we’ve had our Independence Day cookout, we’ll turn the jars into sensory play and enjoy the rice for a bit longer.
Amber Passey is a stay-at-home mom to four children, ages 6, 4, 2, and newborn. She is the wife of a fourth-year medical student and is excited to see the light at the end of that long tunnel. Amber hosts a monthly music-centered playgroup in her community and enjoys dance parties, impromptu plays, and rolling down hills with her little ones. When those little ones are otherwise occupied, Amber blogs at Because Babies Grow Up, manages a page on Facebook, and gathers ideas on Pinterest .
How do you like to decorate for the 4th of July?