Water play, family time, barbecue, and fireworks are universal signs that it must be July 4th in the U.S.A.
While the kids enjoy the food and play time, 4th of July celebrations can be not-so-fun for younger kids, many of whom are either afraid of the loud booming fireworks, or frustrated that they’ve been tagged as “too little” to light the fireworks themselves.
Fortunately, there are plenty of activities available for kids of all ages that will make them feel included in the festivities and will teach them a little about the meaning behind this iconic summer holiday.
Today we’ll look at four ways to celebrate the 4th with your kids that will easily fit into whatever you already have planned.
1. Create Alternative Fireworks
Kids who are afraid of fireworks, or just want their own “gentler” version they can set off themselves can make balloon confetti fireworks, a creative idea courtesy of Martha Stewart.
All you need are balloons, a funnel, confetti, and a hand pump.
Insert the funnel into the opening of the balloon, fill it 1/4 full with confetti, and inflate the balloon with a hand pump. (Don’t try blowing it up yourself, you’ll undoubtedly inhale the confetti right out of the balloon!).
The kids can then use a straight pin or sharpened pencil to pop the balloons and watch the confetti fall.
Another good alternative for kids who may be reluctant to take hold of a flaming sparkler is to make a patriotic wand.
You can use your imagination and whatever is available at your local craft store here, but these basic instructions will get you started.
You’ll need a foam star, wooden dowel rod, red and blue paints, and red, white, and blue ribbons.
Paint the star blue and the dowel red (or vice versa), stick the dowel into the star after they are dry, and tie the ribbons around dowel.
Kids love streamers and will enjoy dancing around with something that doesn’t spark and potentially burn them.
Another fun option is some type of shaker that will provide the noise without being too loud or potentially dangerous.
One easy to make shaker requires paper plates, markers and/or stickers, a stapler, and filler such as rice, popcorn, or small dried beans.
Allow the kids to decorate the paper plates with red and blue markers or festive stickers.
Lay the filler material on one paper plate and staple another plate on top of it.
You now have a 4th of July-themed noisemaker that will last the whole night.
2. Have the Kids Make the Desserts
The Fourth of July desserts can be fun and easy, meaning the kids can help out and get credit for having made the best part of the meal.
The Red, White, and Blue Strawberry Shortcake is a popular dessert and one that some kids can tackle entirely on their own.
Here’s a simple recipe for the cake that requires only four ingredients.
Sugar cookie bars are another family favorite and you can’t go wrong with.
They require a little more work, but come with the bonus that younger kids can help with the frosting and can use patriotic sprinkles to decorate them.
Being tasked with putting sprinkles on something sweet is guaranteed to put a smile on your child’s face.
3. Give Some Meaning to the Holiday
Although it seems that the Fourth of July was not the day the Declaration of Independence was actually signed, nor the day the framers intended to celebrate the country’s independence, that doesn’t change the meaning behind the holiday.
And yes, many kids will roll their eyes at your attempt to give them a history lesson, but the Declaration of Independence is a big deal.
Just giving your child a basic understanding of what we’re celebrating here will give her the foundation to develop a deeper appreciation of the holiday as she grows up and experiences more.
Try using this simplified version of the Declaration of Independence, which is available as a download. Your child’s eyes are less likely to glaze over when she can actually understand the words she’s hearing or reading.
If the kids need some down time while you cook or prepare for the party, Liberty’s Kids is a great cartoon series for kids about the American Revolution that will teach your kids while they have fun.
4. Let the Kids Handle the Decorations
Whether you’re partying at home or going to spend time with friends and family, the kids can be in charge of the patriotic decorations for the day.
Your local craft store will have a huge supply of materials that can be used to create the decorations.
One idea is to just load the kids in the car, take them to the store, and let them decide which supplies to use and what they want to make with them.
If you need a little direction, a patriotic wreath is a fun and useful craft to start with.
You can head over to Pinterest and search “patriotic wreath for children” if you want dozens of examples. Here’s one example of an easy patriotic wreath that most kids can do with just a little adult guidance.
Another idea that will leave kids feeling good about their contribution is creating centerpieces for the tables.
These can be as simple as:
+ Twisting together some red, white, and blue pipe cleaners and attaching beads to them,
+ Making a ring of paper stars to go around the citronella candles that are so popular at many outdoor gatherings, or
+ Decorating large foam stars with paints, markers, and stickers.
The possibilities are limitless here and really, the best idea is letting your child choose what he wants to do, providing guidance only when he asks for your input (or very obviously needs it!)
Happy Fourth of July From Kids Party Characters
At Kids Party Characters, we’re all about having fun and celebrating every chance we get.
We know that each celebration has the potential to make memories that last a lifetime.
Owner Cheryl Jacobs, and the whole team at Kids Party Characters wish you and your family a safe and fun-filled Fourth of July holiday.
We look forward to seeing you at your child’s next birthday celebration, which you can start planning now at KidsPartyCharacters.com, where we take the hard work off your shoulders so you can focus on celebrating with your child and being a part of the magic we create for your child and his guests.