Around our neighborhood, we’re known for having a good time on the 4th of July. We have a barbecue, and invite any family that happens to live near. We also invite friends over. Hamburgers and hot dogs, some sort of salad, watermelon, and brownies. And ice cream, of course. At dusk, we carefully light off state-approved fireworks on the road in front of our house (we clean up afterward, too). It’s a fun show, but we also have to be prepared to keep children entertained.
Most kids, of course, are content to run around and play with each other. But we still like to have activities on hand. We’re pretty low key: A couple bottles of bubbles for each child, a soccer ball, and some sidewalk chalk. We also like to have a football for the adults to throw around. It keeps everyone remarkably happy for hours, and keeps them busy until it gets dark enough for the fireworks. We have fun, but it’s a sort of chaotic fun. If you are into being a little more organized, here are some ideas for your Independence Day celebration:
Crafts for the Kids
If you are into providing crafty things for the kids to do, you can have them make some crafts. Some ideas include:
- U.S. flag puzzle: The web site I found this on uses it as an invitation, but you can use it as a fun puzzle for the kids to make. All you need are popsicle sticks, paint, and silver star stickers. Have them make the puzzle, and then they can mix it up and take it home to make over and over again.
- Bald eagle bag puppet: You can get a template to help you, or you can do it on your own. This is a fun puppet, and you can use paper bags to make other puppets. Older kids can create a puppet theater with the Founding Fathers, Betsy Ross and others.
- Noise maker: Have your kids create their own noise makers from toilet paper or paper towel tubes. You can add bells, as suggested by the site, or put in other items. Small pebbles can make noise — and the kids can find them on their own.
Adults and Older Children
You can get adults involved with the games, and enjoy some serious fun. When you have pre-teens and teens, it can help to have them interact with the adults. I remember the first time I played “Catchphrase” with my parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. I felt like an adult. If your family enjoys these types of games, you can play charades or word games. These are activities that can include older kids, as well as get the adults involved.
Some families enjoy other games. We occasionally got out the croquet set for family gatherings, or set up a badminton net. If you have enough room, you can provide different activities that might appeal to a variety of age groups and temperaments. With a little planning, you can make your 4th of July party one of the funnest events of the year.