One of the wonderful things about the Olympic Games is that kids have the opportunity to see flags from around the world. We have had some wonderful discussions about what a flag is, and the significance of the colours and symbols used in the flag. As part of our virtual trip to the United Kingdom, we have been focused on the flag of the United Kingdom this past week.
We learned is that the iconic "Union Jack" that we most often associate with the United Kingdom, was created by combining the traditional flags of England, Scotland, and Ireland, three of the four countries (England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland), that together make up the United Kingdom.
I had initially intended to create a Montessori inspired Union Jack playset that the kids could use to recognize the UK flag. However, when we learned the history and origins of the flag, I decided to create a set that would allow us to create the Union Jack, as well as the three flags that inspired it:
It was simple to make, requiring only scissors, a ruler, and white, blue and red felt. Using the white background and thick red pieces, we were able to create St. George's Cross, the traditional flag of England:
Next, we used the white background and the two thin red strips to create St. Patrick's cross, the flag historically associated with Ireland:
The blue background and two long white pieces combined to form St. Andrew's Cross, the flag of Scotland:
The blue background, with all of the other pieces arrayed on it in the same configurations as they appear on the other flags, creates the flag of the United Kingdom:
As my two year old nephew discovered, the pieces of the flag are also great for sorting by colour, shape, and size, and for arranging to create a variety of unique flags.
We enjoyed this flag activity and learned so much from it that I know we will be creating many more flag sets as we continue to explore different places on our "Are We There Yet" inspired virtual visits to countries around the world.