Flag Stamp Craft and Story

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A great way to begin the dialog with your children about the events of 9/11 and a nice way to commemorate those who lost their lives and the military who continue to protect and serve our country. Read a book about flags and do this great flag stamp craft. Makes beautiful artwork to frame!

What You’ll Need:
*Book on flags (We suggest Betsy Ross by Alexandra Wallner, Red, White, & Blue: The Story of the American Flag by John Herman, or I Pledge Allegiance by Bill Martin, Jr.)
*White construction paper or card stock (one per child)
*Red and blue paint
*Paintbrush
*Rectangular Sponges – about 4 to 5 (it is important that all your sponges are the same thickness)
*Heavy Duty Scissors or utility knife
*Glue
*Cardboard - about 8x10 in size

Preparation:
*If the sponges have dried out, you will need to get them moist enough to be flexible, but not too wet to glue. Put about 1 Tbsp water in the center of the sponge and work it through to the ends. If that is not enough, continue adding 1 Tbsp at a time and working it through until the whole sponge is damp.
*Take one sponge and use the scissors or knife to cut small holes in the sponge. These will be the “stars” of your flag, so you want the holes somewhat evenly spaced and at least ¼ inch in size.
*Cut 3 of the remaining sponges in 1 inch strips (long strips, start cutting from the short end) – you’ll get about 3 strips per sponge.
*Hold the cardboard horizontally. Remember that the stamp will come out opposite of how you create it on the cardboard.
*Glue the whole sponge with holes cut out in the top right corner of the cardboard. It should also be horizontal.
*Starting at the top of the cardboard, glue the 1 inch sponge strips to the cardboard. Glue the first one so that the long side is lined up with the top long side of whole sponge. This will be the first “red stripe” in your flag. Leave about an inch or so space (for the white stripe) and glue the next 1 inch sponge strip. Once you get about halfway down the sheet, you will need two long strips end to end to create a whole stripe. At this point if you need more stripes, cut more 1-inch strips from the remaining whole sponge.
*Your stamp is now complete, but the glue needs to fully dry before being used in the activity below.

Activity:
*Read the flag book you have chosen aloud.
*Use the paintbrush to brush blue paint onto the sponge in the top right corner of your stamp. Avoid getting paint in the holes you cut out. You do not need a lot of paint. Clean the paintbrush and use it to brush red paint onto each of the “stripes” you have made.


*Holding the white construction paper or card stock horizontally, very carefully lay it over top of the stamp. Smooth the paper over the stamp with gentle, but equal pressure. Lift up one end of the paper very carefully. If the paint is not dark enough on the paper, lay it back down and push harder on the paper, making sure to have equal pressure.
*Lift up the paper very carefully. Touch up any light areas with the paintbrush. If you plan to make more than one flag craft, immediately add more paint and stamp again. If you wait too long the stamp will dry out. If you want to use the stamp again in the future, clean as much of the paint off of the sponges without getting the cardboard too wet. Leave it to dry and just before painting next time, gently moisten the sponges with water prior to brushing with paint.

Suggested Resources:
Betsy Ross by Alexandra Wallner
Red, White, & Blue: The Story of the American Flag by John Herman
I Pledge Allegiance by Bill Martin, Jr
http://www.usflag.org/ : Website dedicated to the US flag