July is here, and summer is in full swing. That means everyone’s favorite summer holiday is upon us. Yes, the Fourth of July—that most American of celebrations when friends and family get together to celebrate our country’s independence and the gorgeous weather.
While busy parents are outside grilling, making sure the pool is skimmed, or trying to figure out the best vantage point to catch fireworks this year, the kids are sometimes left out of the festivities. While allowing young ones to man the firecrackers and sparklers is a definite no-go, there are lots of ways to involve your kids that don’t include lit objects like fireworks or a grill.
Here are some of our best activities for kids on the Fourth of July:
Best Fourth of July Activities for Kids
Helping with the food prep
Whether you’re having guests over or headed to a friend’s house for the Fourth, there’s sure to be plenty of food involved. This is an excellent opportunity to have your kids lend a helping hand. And desserts are the perfect way to let them contribute and have some fun while they’re doing it. Cupcakes have always been required Fourth fare. Kids love them, and they’ll love them even more if they get to ice them themselves. Make a cupcake decorating station and prep some frosting in red, white, and blue. You can buy the premade stuff and add a little food coloring.
Pro tip: Get gel food coloring for more vibrant hues. You don’t want those cupcakes to be pink, white, and baby blue.
The good old Stars and Stripes are an intrinsic part of the country’s identity. Let your kids make their own. All you need is some construction paper—again, red, white, and blue—and some star-shaped stickers. Pre-cut the red paper into strips for stripes, the blue into rectangles, and have the white paper be your base. While gluing the project together, teach your kids about the symbolism of the flag: the red and white stripes represent the original 13 colonies, and the stars represent the 50 states.
Put those homemade flags to good use and have an at-home parade for the kids. Blast some patriotic music on a portable speaker and watch your kids march around. Make it as elaborate or as simple as you want with costumes, performances from your little ones, and even include the pets.
Make Firework Balloons
Yes, fireworks with balloons. These completely flame-free “pyrotechnics“ require a little bit of balloon-animal-making skill. Luckily it’s not as hard as twisting a thin, long balloon into a dog shape. You and your kids simply take—red, white, and blue—“twisting” balloons from the middle and wrap them together to make an octopus-like balloon sculpture that your kids can play with.
America’s history is full of stories of bravery, independence, and innovation. Instill these values early with a little patriotic storytime. There’s a book on almost every American character from the time of the country’s founding like Betsy Ross or George Washington.