Grade Levels: K-3

In this set of activities adaptable for grades K-3, parents and educators will find ideas for teaching about United States symbols. These activities are designed to complement the BrainPOP Jr. U.S. Symbols topic page, which includes a movie, quizzes, online games, printable activities, and more.

Classroom Activities for Teaching About U.S. Symbols

Class Mascot

Explain to your children that a mascot is a symbol for a team, school, or club. The mascot embodies or personifies a positive quality of the whole group. Together choose a class mascot. Brainstorm different animals and have students explain the significance of each animal. Think of animals that symbolize different ideals. For example, a lion is a symbol of bravery and an owl is a symbol of knowledge. Encourage them to be creative; they may wish to choose a mythical creature or create an entirely new mascot.

Read a Map

Reading maps is a great way to learn about symbols and practice using them. Gather different maps and have small groups learn the symbols listed in the legend. You may want to use maps of their neighborhoods or of their states. You may also want to use maps of different countries or a world map so students can familiarize themselves with different symbols. Have students identify landmarks on their maps, such as Mount Rushmore, Washington Monument, and the White House. Have student volunteers discuss the significance of each symbol. Invite students using world maps to point out significant international symbols, such as the Eiffel Tower and the Coliseum in Rome.

State of the States

Have the whole class do a state study of their own state or choose a state to examine closely. You may want to assign different states to students so a variety of areas can be explored. Have students research at the library or online to learn more about their states, such as the flag, bird, flower, mammal, and fossil. Help students understand the meaning of each state symbol. Students can do a presentation on their state and prepare posters, travel guides, film presentations, art projects, or even skits.

Family and Homeschool Activities for Teaching About U.S. Symbols

Home Sweet Home

Take your child to a landmark or important symbol in your state, city, or town. You can take your child to the main library, the statehouse, mayor’s office, or the oldest building in town. If possible you can take a trip to your state capitol or visit a monument, memorial, or statue that is important to your state, city, or town. Discuss the significance of the symbol and how it represents their home.

Family Crest

Many royal families have a crest or a coat-of-arms that represents their whole family and their rich history. Together research family members and discuss major events that have happened that affected the lives of family members. Then have your child make a family crest or coat-of-arms that represents the entire family. Be sure to review classic symbols—a lion stands for bravery, an owl stands for knowledge, etc. You may wish to review symbols from other countries that may be relevant to your family, such as flags. Have your child share the crest or coat-of-arms with the entire family and talk about its significance.