The best Fourth-of-July parties are entertaining for kids and adults. Here are some of our favorite open-ended party activities that will entertain and engage kids, while grown-ups enjoy cocktails and conversation.
Top 8 July 4th Activities
1. July 4th Firework Crafts
Firework crafts are easy enough for older kids to do without supervision or for a teenager to oversee the littler ones. Simply cut the end of paper towel rolls into strips for a great firework template that can be dipped into glitter paint. The bounce and twist motion it takes to create “fireworks” encourages hand-eye coordination and fine motor development, while kids use their imagination and combine colors. Another variation of this craft uses shaving cream, liquid water colors, and toothpicks. You can also use forks to make a circular pattern or dab a dish brush onto the paper for a similar effect.
2. Independence Day Scavenger Hunt
Plan to pair younger kids with older kids, and make a patriotic-themed Scavenger Hunt around the yard or house before guests arrive. There are countless variations, but the basic idea is to write out a riddle leading kids to the next clue. An example might be: “An old fable says that George Washington chopped one of these down” – which, of course, will lead the sleuths to a cherry tree on the property. You could hide the American flags to be collected as part of a patriotic theme, or make printouts of famous patriots, places, and symbols from American history. To add a layer of intrigue, you could attach an activity to each discovered clue, such as “Do five pushups” or “Sing the Star-Spangled Banner.” An easier version can be made for younger kids by simply providing a list of hidden items to find. They can be very specific patriotic items / printouts, or broader items like “something fuzzy” and “something pretty.”
3. Red, White and Blue Water Balloons
Water balloons are always a hit at any outdoor summer picnic. Of course, there is some liability that adult guests may get a little wet, too. Encourage structured games, rather than all-out warfare. The basic Water Balloon Toss involves two lines of people standing across from one another, tossing and catching small water balloons. Partners who drop and break the balloon are out. If the partners successfully complete the toss without the balloon breaking, they take one step back. Another fun game is Water Ballon Dodgeball where two teams are divided up and take turns hurling water balloons back and forth until one team is left standing. Buy red, white, and blue balloons to make it festive. When the sun goes down, you can bust out these glow-in-the-dark balloons recommended by a camp counselor.
4. 4th of July Bicycle Parade
The Fourth of July naturally lends itself to pageantry. Set up an Americana themed costume box with props and outfits like the Statue of Liberty, Paul Revere, George and Martha Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Colonial soldiers. Or you can ask young guests to come dressed as their favorite patriotic attire to compete for the “best costume” prize. Kids can bring their bikes to decorate for a “parade” around the block (or the driveway). Have streamers, flags, stickers, construction paper, markers, and spoke beads on hand for decorating.
5. Independent Jewelry Making Station
Older kids can enjoy hours of making red, white, and blue bracelets and necklaces. Supply them with red, white, and blue beads, as well as beads shaped like stars or letter beads that allow them to write messages. Oriental Trading is a cheap place to find patriotic charms and supplies, or you could try Etsy.
6. Capture the (American) Flag
Divide the team into the red team vs. the blue team, using bandanas to signify who is on which team. For team flags, you could use the American and “Don’t Tread on Me” flags. The object of this classic game is to capture the other team’s flag and bring it back to their territory. If you’re tagged by an opposing team member, you have to go to the designated “jail.” You can only get out of jail if your team member tags you. Each team typically divvies themselves up into “Guards” who try to tag opponents sneaking into their territory, “Attackers” who are on a mission to find the other team’s hidden flag, and “Scouts” who rescue team members from jail and support the other roles.
7. July 4th on TV!
Electronic media is never our first pick, but what if it’s raining? What if the kids have been running around for hours and crave that little bit of “down time” to recharge their batteries? Our best educational TV pick for the Fourth of July is Liberty’s Kids, an entertaining-yet-educational series about the American Revolution. Other picks may include movies like: “Johnny Tremain,” “This is America, Charlie Brown,” “All Aboard America,” or “Ben and Me.”
8. Stand up and Sing, Patriots!
What better time to brush up on everybody’s favorite patriotic songs that embody the very spirit of our independence? For a comprehensive list of all the most classic patriot tunes and lyrics, check out https://www.scoutsongs.com/categories/patriotic-songs.html. Or curate your own list of modern pop hits that celebrate what it means to “R.O.C.K. in the USA”, be an “American Girl”, or remind your favorite kid what a “Firework” he is. Or if you have a Broadway baby, why not host a Hamilton sing along!
Additional Resources: https://www.icanteachmychild.com/shaving-cream-fireworks/
Holidays are an exciting time for the kids, so be sure to put their boundless energy to good use. Have them work on easy table decorations, or inspire their inner “chef” by having them assemble these simple 4th of July snacks. While you are celebrating America’s independence, your little ones will be celebrating their growing sense of independence, too.
Have a sensational party!
By Jenn Fusion for Shine