The 4th of July is always a little bitter sweet for me – it seems like it marks the second half of summer and yet it feels like the fun is just beginning. In order to harness all of the excitement and anticipation that the 4th can bring, I love to plan games, adventures, and of course a great menu with the kids. If you and your family are looking for some fun and easy ways to make the most of your 4th of July celebration, try these family-friendly tips.
Tips for Fun on the 4th with Kids and Families
Create a Neighborhood Scavenger Hunt
Even if you are all planning your own cook-outs, gather the neighbors for one colossal scavenger hunt for the kids. Each family can be responsible for creating 2 or 3 clues. Create teams of kids of mixed ages and send the kids throughout the neighborhood looking for clues that will lead them to the eventual treasure. The prize at the end could be a root beer float stand or sparklers for the gang.
Make Gifts for the U.S.A.
It is, after all, the birthday of the nation. Help teach your kids the historical significance of the date as well as create some meaningful times together. Some of these activities can be done the week of the 4th, making your holiday last even longer.
- Write letters to American soldiers thanking them for their service. Check to see if a local organization sends care packages and help fill some of those needs.
- Volunteer for a community service, such as ditch cleaning.
- Make a birthday cake or cupcakes for the U.S.A. with your kids and take them to a local nursing home or veterans’ hospital.
Play Yard Games with a Twist
As long as the weather cooperates you’ll find most families gathered outside at some point on the 4th of July, playing games and firing up the grill. Add unique twists onto traditional games for holiday fun.
- Play squirt tag instead of regular tag. Give all of the kids a squirt bottle filled with water. You don’t have to get close enough to tag someone, just close enough to squirt them. This is a great version for younger kids (or those who just want to get wet).
- Add in some Olympic flair. Just after the 4th we’ll start cheering for our favorite Olympians, but you can get a jump start on the Olympic fun by doing modified versions of the games. Have potato sack dashes, discus throws with weighted red or blue Frisbees, or gymnastics on the jungle gym (try an award for best dismount from the swings).
- Have a red, white, and blue water balloon toss. Play traditional toss games where you take a step backwards for every successful throw until only one team (and intact water balloon) remains. If you have older kids you could have another version and assign points – 5 points if you can hit a target with a red balloon, 10 points for hitting the bulls-eye with a blue balloon.
Dress-Up for the 4th of July
Have your kids, their cousins, and their friends make red, white, and blue tie-dye shirts for the day. You can purchase inexpensive kits and plain t-shirts at craft stores and then set up a work station outside. One year my kids made shirts with their cousins and they were the hit of the week – they even wore their shirts to the zoo together later during their stay and it was the perfect way to help keep an eye on everyone – and they made for amazing pictures together!
Get the Kids in the Kitchen
Not only can they help you save time so you can enjoy the festivities as well, but when your kids help in the kitchen they learn great practical skills. And chances are your kids will have fun with these recipe ideas.
- Come up with patriotic names for everything you’re serving and have them on a menu board – Firecracker Fruit Salad, Birthday BBQ, Patriotic Potato Salad, etc.
- Make star shaped sugar cookies and decorate with red and blue sprinkles. You can even take a refrigerated can of prepared dough and just let the kids cut the cookies from that.
- Take beverages like blue Gatorade and red cranberry juice and freeze them into ice cubes for colorful drink additions.
- Serve watermelon, blueberries, strawberries, and even dark raspberries on skewers. You can separate the fruits with mini marshmallows or have a white cream cheese dip for the fruit kabobs.