How to Celebrate the Fourth of July with Kids
The Fourth of July is one of my favorite parts of summer. The weather is warm, there is red, white and blue everywhere you look and friends and family gather in backyards, in parks and at pools to celebrate what it means to be an American.
I asked my seven year old what the Fourth of July means to her, and she told me “The Fourth of July is when it’s America’s birthday and we watch fireworks and eat hot dogs. And you make me wear something with stars and red and blue on it.” Basically, she nailed what a typical Fourth of July looks like for our family!
July 4th, 1776: The Origins of the Fourth of July
The Fourth of July commemorates the announcement of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, which stated that the 13 colonies were no longer under the rule of Great Britain but were free, independent states. The second Continental Congress signed the declaration on July 2, and the announcement was made on July 4 that the colonies were free from British rule.
The first recorded use of the term “Independence Day” was in 1791, and Independence Day celebrations become commonplace after the War of 1812. By the 1870s, Independence Day was the most celebrated non-secular holiday in the United States. In 1941, the Fourth of July was declared a paid federal holiday.
Celebrating the Fourth of July with Kids
There is no shortage of patriotic ways to celebrate the Fourth with kids. Whether you want to craft, spend time outdoors, bake or celebrate with friends and family (and who doesn’t after the year we’ve all had?!), the Fourth of July gives everyone in the United States a chance to come together and reflect on what it means to be an American.
Fun Ideas to Celebrate the Day
- Have a bike parade! Tie streamers on your bike and don your favorite red, white and blue outfit! Play your favorite patriotic song (mine is God Bless the USA by Lee Greenwood!) on your phone or tablet and ride up and down the street wishing friends and neighbors a happy Fourth of July!
- Catch some fireworks. Find out when your area is hosting fireworks and grab your blanket and some popcorn to watch the display.
- Make your own patriotic t-shirts for the Fourth of July! Grab some red and blue tie dye along with a few blank white shirts. Tie dye your shirts in your backyard and hang them to dry so you can wear them to fireworks that evening! Here’s a great tutorial to inspire you!
- Decorate your driveway in patriotic drawings and messages in chalk. Draw stars and Uncle Sam’s famous hat with red and blue chalk. Write messages wishing the US a happy birthday and celebrating what it means to be an American.
- Attend a Fourth of July parade in your area. Enjoy some fresh air and fun floats while you celebrate your freedom with others in your area.
Make a Patriotic Dessert
My youngest, especially, loves being in the kitchen. And she hates it when I help her (I refuse to let her handle heat without assistance but let her mostly enjoy free reign everywhere else in the kitchen!), so she likes when we come across recipes that she can make entirely on her own. If you missed my article on Memorial Day, click to read about a great fruit pizza that is red, white and blue and super easy for kids to make on their own!
We discovered these fruit and yogurt parfaits some years ago, and my youngest loves making these for dessert or an afternoon snack every Fourth. They only require a few simple ingredients and don’t require any baking or cooking. The best part is they are quick and easy for kids to make (mostly) unassisted!
Patriotic Fruit & Yogurt Parfait
You will need:
- Blue gelatin
- Vanilla yogurt
- Sliced strawberries
- Optional extras: whipped cream, blue & red sprinkles, maraschino cherries
- Clear glasses or cups for the parfait (these look adorable in clear plastic cups or goblets!)
Start by making the gelatin. If you are short on time, you can make this part super easy by purchasing snack packs of premade gelatin at the store and using those!
De-stem the strawberries and cut them up. Slicing them in half is fine. Slicing them into small chunks will also work.
When the gelatin is ready to go, start by lining up the glasses the parfaits will go in and filling the bottom third of the glass with blue gelatin.
Next, fill the glasses with vanilla yogurt until you are only a third of the way from the top.
Lastly, fill the glasses with sliced strawberries until the glass is full but not overflowing.
Garnish with whipped cream and a cherry or sprinkles and voila! A tasty, pretty, patriotic treat!
Make a Star Sun Catcher to Hang in Your Window to Celebrate Independence Day
There are so many amazing crafts you can make incorporating the colors of the American Flag as well as stars and stripes. It’s hard to pick just one! But sun catchers are simply beautiful to hang in your window and easy for kids of all ages to make. Make this fun Star Sun Catcher with your kids and then hang them all at different heights in your front window to show your patriotism!
Red, White & Blue Star Sun Catcher
You will need:
- Contact paper
- Tissue paper in red, white and blue
- Pre-cut star outlines (cut from white, red or blue paper) in varying sizes
- Hole punch
- String or ribbon (in red, white, blue or silver)
- Start by cutting the tissue paper into small squares. It’s okay if the squares are different sizes!
- Spread out the contact paper on the flat surface and lay the star outlines on the contact paper, careful to not overlap them.
- Have your kids fill in the inside of the star with the squares of tissue paper. They can create patterns or apply the square randomly- it’s up to them!
- When the inside of all of the stars are filled with tissue paper, lay another piece of contact over top all of the stars and firmly adhere, securing all of the loose tissue paper inside the stars.
- Cut out each of the stars and punch a whole at the top.
- Loop ribbon through the hole to create a way to hang the sun catchers.Display the Star Sun Catchers in your window for some patriotic décor!
Happy Fourth of July!