Independence Day is tomorrow! Today would be a good day to organize some activities. Children could make a red, white, and blue dessert by layering strawberries, blueberries, and yogurt in plastic glasses. They could practice singing patriotic songs, and they could organize parades. They could find some great coloring pages at: Crayola Fourth of July.. They could also read The Night before the Fourth of July, written by Natasha Wing and illustrated by Amy Wummer.
Belarus celebrates Independence Day. The country remembers the 1944 liberation of its capital Minsk from the Nazis. This land-locked country is slightly smaller than the state of Kansas. The land is flat and is significantly covered with marshland. Almost ten million people live in this eastern European country that exports chemicals and machinery. Children can color a picture about Belarus at: Belarus Art. They could also learn more at: Belarus.
Idaho became the forty-third state of the United States in 1890. Its name translates as “gem of the mountain.” Boise is the state capital, and main sources of income are lumber, potatoes, and mining. Idaho was explored during the Louis and Clark expedition. It experienced a gold rush in 1860. Children could visit an Internet site at: Idaho. Idea: Idaho is known for its potatoes. Children could investigate why and how Idaho grows so many potatoes. They could also make potato pancakes.
Samuel de Champlain (born Brouage, France, 1567; died Quebec, Canada, 1635) has been called the “Father of New France.” He left France in 1603 to find the Northwest Passage. He did explore the St. Lawrence River and traveled as far as Niagara Falls. In 1608 he founded a fur trading post on the St. Lawrence River and named it Quebec. Over the years he explored more of the region and became good friends with the Algonquin and Huron Indians. He found Lake Champlain and named it after himself.
George M. Cohan (born Providence, Rhode Island, 1878; dies New York, New York, November 5, 1942) was an important actor, writer, and producer of American theater. He wrote about forty plays and musicals. However, he is most famous for his songs, including “Give My Regards to Broadway” and “I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy.” Children can learn more at: George M. Cohan.
Samuel Huntington (born Windham, Connecticut, 1731; died Norwich, Connecticut, January 5, 1796) was president of the Continental Congress and signer of the Declaration of Independence, representing Connecticut. He was also the third governor of Connecticut. He stated in a letter to George Washington, “I will always love my Country.” Children could learn more at: Samuel Huntington.
United States celebrates Independence Day. It declared itself free of English rule in 1776. Interestingly, only two people, John Hancock and Charles Thompson, signed the Declaration of Independence that day. Most of the representatives signed the document on August 2, 1776. Idea: Children could read Fireworks, Picnics, and Flags: The Story of the Fourth of July Symbols by James Cross GIblin and Ursula Arndt. Children could plan and carry out a Fourth of July parade. They could also learn more at: Fourth of July.
Construction of the Erie Canal began in 1817. The Erie Canal opened on October 26, 1825. It joined the Atlantic Ocean (via the Hudson River) and Lake Erie. Approximately 363 miles long, it had 36 locks. Previously goods had to be shipped by wagon and pack animals. The canal cut transportation costs by 95 percent. Children can view an excellent video at: Erie Canal.
Statue of Liberty was given to the United States by France in 1884. The statue was presented to Levi P. Morton, the US ambassador to France, in Paris. The statue was then taken apart and shipped to the United States. The statue reached our shores on June 17, 1885. However, the pedestal was not yet ready. The statue was formally revealed on October 28, 1886. Children can learn more at: Statue of Liberty.
“America the Beautiful” was published first in poem form in 1895 by Katherine Lee Bates, a professor at Wellesley College. Stories say she wrote the poem after visiting the top of Pikes Peak in Colorado. Children can read the poem at: America the Beautiful.
James Monroe, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson all died on this day. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died hundreds of miles apart but within hours of each other in 1826. James Monroe died in 1831. Older children can read more at: Coincidence.
Pathfinder landed on the surface of Mars in 1997. The craft, launched on December 5, 1996, traveled for 211 days and 309 million miles to reach the surface of Mars. A small rover named Sojourner (named after Sojourner Truth) traveled about the surface and analyzed rocks and the surface of the planet. The two vehicles (both significantly outliving scientific estimates) sent back 2.3 billion bits of data before transmissions stopped on September 27, 1997. Children can view some of the images of Mars at: Pathfinder.