The Fourth of July is a holiday that comes preplanned for many families. Standing traditions to watch the parade, go see a fireworks display or have a cook out are tried and true activities. Coming up with a few extra activities for kids can keep the celebration fresh, and keep kids busy during down time. I know for my family, planning something to do during the stretch of time between the morning parade and the evening fireworks, keeps everyone happy and engaged in the festivities.
Five, easy and fun Fourth of July activities for kids
Make a patriotic garland decoration. Take advantage of all the varieties of scrapbook paper to create a colorful garland with kids. Pick out four or five different patriotic patterns of scrapbook paper. Cut into equal sized strips and then create a paper chain with a glue stick, tape or staple holding each loop in place. The garlands can be used to decorate the front porch, or draped down a stair case, or simply worn by kids as a large necklace.
Create unique t-shirts. Making holiday specific tees or tanks is an easy activity for kids to do the night before the Fourth of July. Depending upon age and ability, use fabric crayons, paint or markers to draw a design. Create stencils from cereal box cardboard in the shape of stars, an eagle or the Statue of Liberty. Have kids dab a sponge in fabric paint and then on the fabric through the stencil. Glitter is a fun addition, and then for girls, you can tie up the sleeves with red, white and blue ribbons placed inside the arm hole and tied at the top of the shoulders.
Hold a bike wash after the parade. Whether your family decorates bikes on the Fourth of July, or not, a bike wash is fun activity for kids. Ever since the year the streamers stayed on all the bikes until they had to be scraped off, we make it part of the holiday to wash bikes after the cookout. Set up the driveway with buckets of water and sponges and let the kids wash bikes. Turn on music, invite friends and get everyone’s summer transportation sparkling clean.
Play with a homemade comet toy. This easy craft was a lifesaver when the fireworks were delayed for an extended period of time and now, they are a constant addition to our Fourth of July celebrations. You will need a rubber ball, any size or style, rubber bands and ribbons. Have the kids wrap the ball with several rubber bands, criss-crossing as they go so that the whole ball is covered. Thread ribbons through the rubber bands, tie if desired. Tossing the ball to each other, or watching it bounce on the sidewalk, makes waiting less frustrating for little ones, and teenagers too!
Lady Liberty lottery. My neighborhood holds a Lady Liberty lottery each year. All the interested girls in the neighborhood write their name on a slip of paper and place it in a ballot box. A few days before the Fourth of July, one lucky girl gets to be Lady Liberty in the parade. You can recreate this honor by naming your own Lady Liberty. Hold a contest between extended family, neighborhood friends, or as part of a club such as girl scouts or 4H. The chosen one wears a light green sheet, a crown and holds a torch. We used a flashing disco ball light, but a paper towel tube stuffed with tissue paper would work too. Lady Liberty is treated to a special place in the parade, or if a parade is not part of your day, she can be photographed with all her admirers and given special treatment for the day. Even when grandma won the award, all the little girls enjoyed dolling her up and getting a picture with her.
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