The Best (and Worst) State Flags... for Crafting

Back in November, I shared my thoughts about the best and worst state flags. There was one clear winner and a 10-state tie for worst flag. Today I'm going to rank the flags again, but using a criterion I didn't even consider last time: whether or not the flag makes a good craft project for 4th graders. 

Students in the United States generally study their home state in fourth grade. They learn about their state's history, demographics, resources, and major industries. They learn about their state symbols, including their state flag. When I taught 4th grade, we always did at least one craft related to California's bear flag. Fortunately, our flag does not have any nudity, like a certain state that will remain unnamed (but linked!). 

I'm going to start by placing the flags into three groups: Excellent for Crafting, Acceptable for Crafting, and Terrible for Crafting. To make it into the top group, the flag should have bold, clear shapes and designs that are feasible to replicate in a variety of media. It's ok to have a challenging element (like California's grizzly bear), but no tiny details that are difficult to see unless you have a full-size flag in front of you. And no subject matter that would violate school policies (and/or generate a lot of parent complaints). It is also ok for the flag to be ugly or ridiculously plain. Plain designs make it possible to use more challenging art media. For example, the Alabama flag would make a challenging, but fun, weaving project for kids. 

Flags in the middle group have more detail and/or more challenging subject matter. For example, drawing George Washington is not easy, but most Washington 4th graders could successfully make state flag artwork if the teacher did a directed drawing lesson. Flags may have a lot of small text. The crafting possibilities for flags in this group are limited to media that, like colored pencils, can handle small details. Flags in this category may need to be simplified for crafting, like removing the state seal from the center of the bison on Wyoming's flag. 

The flags in the bottom group all featured detailed state seals. Unlike Wyoming's flag, these states' flags don't have a distinct design if you were to remove the seal. 


State Flags that are Excellent for Crafting


State Flags that are Acceptable for Crafting 


State Flags that are Terrible for Crafting


So we have 15 flags that are great for crafting, 12 that are acceptable, and a whopping 23 that are terrible. There is some good news though. A state with one the worst flags will jump up to join the top group in May. Another state is considering reverting to a previous (better) flag. Two more states (Massachusetts and Illinois) are in the planning states to improve their terrible flags as well. For now though, we have a 23-way tie for the worst flag for crafting. 

As for the best state flag for crafting, it's not as cut-and-dried as selecting the best overall flag was. Each of the flags in the top category would work great with some media and not with others. There is one state flag which lends itself to crafts involving construction paper, colored pencils, crayons, markers, paint, embroidery, and stamping on a 4th grade level.... while not being ugly (sorry Alabama). New Mexico is my winner. 

As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts. Let me know in the comments if you agree with my rankings or if I got them wrong.