Grade: all

#423. Twist a Freedom Bracelet

Social Studies, level: all
Posted Wed Sep 2 17:18:23 PDT 2009 by Marilyn J. Brackney (Marilyn J. Brackney).
Twist a Freedom Bracelet
The Imagination Factory, Columbus, Indiana USA
Materials Required: Yarn, scissors, ruler
Activity Time: 30 mins - 1 hour
Concepts Taught: Color symbolism of the American flag and remembering those who died on 9-11.

Twist a Freedom Bracelet

This fiber art activity was created to honor those who died on September 11, 2001 in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania. Students can make several bracelets, share them with others, and wear them as symbols of peace, unity, and freedom.

No matter where you live, it's a common practice to "show your colors" in support of your country. We'll learn a simple way to work with yarn using the red, white, and blue of the United States, but you can adapt this idea to suit your school, state, province, or country.

Color Symbolism

When the design for the American flag or The Stars and Stripes was adopted in 1777, the colors didn't have specific meanings. However, in 1782 the United States Great Seal was created to symbolize the Founding Fathers' beliefs and to stand for our new government.

Each color has special importance. White stands for purity and innocence, red symbolizes hardiness and valor, and blue stands for vigilance, perseverance, and justice. We can twist the three colors together to make a rope-style bracelet.

You Will Need:

Red, white, and blue yarn
Ruler
Scissors

How to:

First measure the child's wrist and add an extra three or four inches to allow for tying the bracelet. Using red, white, and blue yarn, cut three strands that are at least two times the number of this measurement. For example, if the child's wrist and tying allowance measure 7 inches, you'll need three pieces of yarn that are each 14 inches in length.

It takes two people to make the rope. Match the ends of the three pieces of yarn, and give one end of the strands to one child, and the other end to his partner. Ask the children to face each other and stand apart so that the yarn is pulled straight between them.

Using both hands, each child turns the three strands, with one turning them one way while his partner turns in the opposite direction. When the yarn has been tightly twisted, ask the children to stop. At this point it's very important that they hold on tightly to the yarn.

Now an adult should grasp it in the middle. Take one end of the twisted strands from one child, keeping the rope very straight. At the same time, keep the rope straight between the adult and the other child. Ask the partner to hold his end straight up over his head. Hand your end to the child and let go of the center.

The six strands will twist together to make the finished rope. Tie an overhand knot in the loose strands, and cut the other end of the rope. Try the bracelet on the child, and remove extra yarn, if necessary. To finish the bracelet, tie an overhand knot in the other loose strands.

For a 9-11 discussion, which is suitable for younger children, and/or for directions for making another type of bracelet, visit Weave a Freedom Bracelet. Please note: Older students may prefer using embroidery thread instead of yarn. For more 9-11 resources, visit Teaching 9-11 at Dickinson College.

2001 MJB