Throughout all time periods and cultures, flags have been used as a symbol to identify a country or group, signal an activity, or express feelings. Countries are identified and unified by their flags. Flags can symbolize caution, stop, and go. Different cultures express feeling through flags. Sporting teams and schools can show pride through the display of their team flags.
Research will help you uncover all different types, styles, and uses for flags. Here are a few examples:
- Papel picado, dating back to the Aztecs, are hand cut tissue paper flags created in Mexico to adorn altars and streets during the Day of the Dead celebration. They are also used as decoration during other street festivals and for special occasions. Colors play an important role in these flags. Oranges, pinks, and purples are used to celebrate the Day of the Dead.
- In Nepal, prayer flags are created out of finely woven cotton and block printed with good wishes that are thought to be spread when the flags blow in the wind. These flags are usually flown in groups of five. Color is significant in these flags as well. The five colors used are blue, white, red, green, and yellow. Each color represents an element: sky, wind, fire, water and earth.
Hopefully this little bit of information has sparked your curiosity about flags. This lesson will allow participants of all ages to create their own inspiration flags. First, have participants research flags and all their hidden meanings.
Once the research is done, start brainstorming the meaning and purpose behind your flags. Consider doing this as a family or neighborhood activity. How will the flag or flags you design represent your feelings and intentions? Symbolism and color choice should also play a meaningful role in the design, creating a community or personally-based inspirational theme. Possible themes and symbols for this project can include family history, personal inspiration, community or school symbols and themes, words of motivation, or personal hero. The possibilities are endless; keep it positive and motivating.
Have participants sketch out their designs. Depending on the age group and supplies available, the flags can be made of paper or cloth. SmartFab, a man-made fabric, was used in the lesson below. Markers, crayons, printing ink, or paint can be used to create the participant’s final design on the material of choice.
Inspiration Flags Art Project
- Participants will look at a variety of flags spanning time and culture and make note of the variety of intent and purposes that flags communicate.
- Participants will learn about the symbols depicted on flags and discuss their meaning. What are the flags communicating? What is the purpose of the flag? Some flags include words, symbols, and colors in their design and each has a meaning. How does the purpose of the flag influence when and how the flag is displayed?
- Participants will create their own symbol and meaning to represent in their own flag.
More Flag Art Lesson Plans & Ideas
Want to try something else? Be sure to check out these other art lesson plans and view our Art Lesson Plan collection for even more.
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After 24 years as a college admissions director, Mary crossed over to provide the materials for art education as a member of Sax, first as manager of Inside Sales, then as National Sales Manager. Mary has overseen a team of 15 art consultants. In 2000 Mary and her team created Sax Lesson Plan Book partnerships with prominent art supplies vendors. Meanwhile, she has refined her own artful style of presentation at various national, state and local conferences.
For Nadine, art education has been her life’s work, including an Ohio teaching license, 5 years teaching elementary art, and 19 years in higher education (teacher prep). She has served Sax for 25 years as a Category Account Manager, Art Consultant, and Subject Matter Expert. In the latter capacity, Nadine has presented at various national, state, and local conferences.