12 Fun Fourth of July Activities for Kids
Independence Day is a popular day for kids because of the excitement and pageantry that accompanies it. However, the Fourth of July is more than fireworks and barbecues -- this holiday marks the day our great country was unified as a nation.
As Quirky Momma blogger Deirdre Smith puts it, "The Fourth of July is a wonderful time to celebrate family, community and the things that make our country special."
Kathy Rybinski from AllKidsNetwork.com thinks that holidays are a great time to get creative with the kiddos.
"As parents, we're always seeking opportunities to find activities for kids that are both fun and educational," she says.
To make the most of our country's birthday, try one of these 12 educational -- and entertaining! -- crafts and activities. They're great things for nannies and babysitters to do with kids in the days leading up to July 4th, as well.
Create a Fourth of July Wand
"[The] Fourth of July can be a lot of fun for little kids, but we've found that certain aspects of celebrating it can be very overwhelming to young children," Rybinski says. If you have young ones, look for Fourth of July crafts that "are simple to make and can help bring the louder elements, such as fireworks and sparklers, into a realm where little kids have some control over them to gain understanding before seeing them for real," she suggests.
Try making this Fourth of July Wand. It's a simple, colorful craft that will provide the festive aesthetics of fireworks and sparklers, while being 100 percent safe and non-intimidating for young children.
Have Fun with Fireworks
For most of us, fireworks on the Fourth of July are like costumes on Halloween or Turkey on Thanksgiving. But little kids may have trouble sitting still or can become terrified at the loud booms.
Make the fireworks show memorable and stress-free this year with simple guessing games. Ask each person in the family to guess how many red, white and blue fireworks there will be and keep a score sheet. Promise an extra sparkler or sugar cookie to the closest guesser.
Hold a Fourth of July Bike Parade
The Fourth of July involves lots of pageantry. The celebrations are big, the decorations are vibrant, and the enthusiasm is through the roof. With that in mind, gather the kids on your block and their bicycles. Provide red, white and blue balloons, streamers, glitter and construction paper and let them decorate their bikes, then stage a parade up and down the block.
Prepare for a Fourth of July Party
If you're having a cookout, barbecue or even a fancy Independence Day shindig, get the kids involved. Have them make easy and stylish patriotic napkin holders to adorn the picnic tables or paper wind streamers to decorate your yard. The simple projects will keep them entertained for hours, while you're busy preparing everything else.
Another simple way to make your patriotic party kid-friendly is to have them choose some of the food! We all know how picky some of our little eaters can be, so have them come along when you go grocery shopping for the big day. Each child can select one or two items they'd like at the barbeque and then help mommy prepare it. Keep with the theme by saying the food has to be red or blue (lots of strawberries and blueberries please!)
Learn 12 Tricks to Fix a Picky Eater »
Play Patriotic Party Games
Early July is a perfect time to plan some outdoor fun. Set up a relay race, a water balloon fight (the teams can be the Americans and the British!) or a pie-eating contest in the backyard that relatives of all ages can take part in. Check out this website for more family-fun ideas like "Red, White and Blue Tag".
Bake Red, White and Blue Treats
Sugar cookies are as American as apple pie, and a delicious dessert. This recipe for sugar cookie bars gets kids in the kitchen cooking. It's simple, and the finished product is a great canvas for children to decorate in a patriotic theme. Red, white and blue sprinkles are in abundance this time of year, and you can find them in fun shapes like stars. Ideal for an afternoon snack or a party treat, these bars will go fast, so be sure to make plenty.
Make Balloon Fireworks
Fireworks are an important part of Fourth of July festivities, but this firework confetti balloon craft is an indoor activity that's creative, simple and will elicit giggles and squeals from the youngest revelers. Your short shopping list will include balloons, confetti, a funnel and some sharpened pencils.
Learn about the Declaration of Independence
The Declaration of Independence is the quintessential American document. If you can't travel to see the real parchment in Washington, D.C., teach your kids about who signed the Declaration, why and some important facts about the signers. Share this printable with kids to get you started. Print out a copy of the Declaration and explain to them what it means -- you can also use this helpful site that has translated the words into a kid-friendly version.
Create a Patriotic Wreath
Show off your American pride during the Fourth of July by making this colorful, eye-catching patriotic wreath. It's an easy craft to get kids involved with. Each child can make his or her own, or work as a team to create one big one.
If you're looking for a fun and creative way to teach your children about America and what it means to be an American, look no further than your TV! "Liberty's Kids" is an entertaining yet educational TV series about the American Revolution that kids will love. If you're more into a family move night check out favorites like "Ben and Me", "Johnny Tremain", "1776" and "Drums Along the Mohawk." Older kids may appreciate the HBO series all about John Adams. Once you've picked the movie, grab your red, white and blue-colored popcorn and enjoy.
Interact with Revolutionary Heroes
To help educate your children on our country's history, check out the website for Liberty's Kids, the popular kids' TV series. It's extremely interactive and lets kids explore each important historical date, person and event of the American Revolution. Remember, the Fourth of July is a special time to celebrate our country -- it's essential that our kids understand where we come from and why we're a free country.
Learn About the Flag
One of the most important symbols of the Fourth of July holiday is the flag. Teach your kids about why it's so important with these 12 Fun Flag Day Activities for Kids »
Think outside the box when it comes to celebrating America's independence. Whether you have small children who won't enjoy the fireworks display or older ones who need something fun to do while counting down to dusk, take the opportunity to work on family craft or learn a few new facts about this special, all-American holiday.
NEXT UP: Our complete guide to Fun Things To Do With Kids.
Shawanda James is a freelance writer in Miami, Fla. Her work can be found here.