These 4th of July Activities Are a Game Changer for Your Family Celebration
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Summer is prime time for fun. With most kids out of school, family vacations in full swing and warm weather to enjoy, it’s the unofficial season of leisure. Lucky for us, the 4th of July falls right in the middle of summer — making it the perfect time to celebrate.
Need some inspiration for family-friendly things to do on the 4th of July? We get it. Planning summer activities can be overwhelming. With so many options, choosing how to commemorate and honor America’s freedom and history isn’t always easy. That’s why we’ve taken the guesswork out of coming up with fun, kid-friendly 4th of July activities.
This collection of ideas includes a variety of patriotic activities, from watching fireworks and making red, white, and blue crafts, to sending a care package to a soldier. Of course, we didn't forget about 4th of July recipes. A great 4th of July menu is an essential part of any Independence Day celebration. This roundup offers budget-friendly 4th of July party ideas that are sure to please everyone on your guest list. Whether you’re hosting small children, older adults, or any ages in between, you can incorporate and tailor these festive activities to accommodate your group.
No matter how you choose to celebrate the 4th of July, these fun ideas are sure to spark inspiration.
Hang your flag.
What's more patriotic than hanging the American flag on your porch? Show your pride by raising it on the 4th and keep it flying high all summer long. The bright stars and stripes will also help spruce up your outdoor space.
Visit an amusement park.
Taking a trip to an amusement park is always an exhilarating experience. The thrilling rides, tasty treats, and unbeatable ambiance make it a tried-and-true summertime activity that's even more invigorating on the 4th. Plus, most parks will light up the sky with fireworks for a spectacular end to the evening.
Play a board game.
Nothing brings out a guest's competitive edge like a round or two of board games. Whether it's checkers, Monopoly, or chess, friends and family will enjoy showing off their brain power, techniques and strategies. Plus, it's a great way to strengthen bonds while having fun.
Make Tie-Dye T-shirts
Set up a tie-dye T-shirt station for a creative, hands-on activity. Kids will enjoy mixing the red, white, and blue food coloring to bring their one-of-a-kind designs to life. Be sure to prep the T-shirts at least 6-8 hours before the festivities begin and keep a responsible teen or adult on hand to avoid any mishaps.
Send a care package to a soldier.
Take some time to honor U.S troops by sending a thoughtful care package. Whether you know someone in the military or just want to show support to deployed soldiers, shipping a goodies-filled box will surely brighten their day.
Make festive street art.
Decorate the sidewalk in stars and stripes for an eye-catching activity. Be sure to use chalk to beautify the pavement — it provides a temporary appearance that can be easily washed away.
Go berry picking.
Blackberries, blueberries and raspberries are ripe for picking from July through the end of August. Head to a local farm, grab a bucket and get busy finding the best bite-size fruits. It's a great way to get the family out of the house and into nature. The best part? You can use your bounty to create delicious smoothies, desserts and other tasty bites.
Break out the hula hoops.
Put your hips to the test with hula hoops. See if you can keep your rhythm, balance and coordination in check while raising your flag for an old-fashioned good time.
Dress up your pup.
Get your favorite four-legged friend in on the fun. Deck your dog out in a patriotic ensemble for festive flair. Whether it's tying a bandana around his neck or putting on special collar, outfitting your pooch will take your party up a notch. Don't forget to snap photos and use them as invitations for next year's festivities.
Get an American-inspired manicure.
DIY or treat yourself to a red, white and blue manicure to celebrate the holiday. Raid your nail polish drawer and get creative with designs. Whatever embellishment you land on, we're pretty sure you'll nail it!
Set up an ice cream sundae bar.
Your guests will scream for ice cream! Set up a serving area with all the supplies and delicious toppings needed to customize the quintessential frozen treat. Use fresh berries, sprinkles, and other tasty garnishments to top it off.
Go on a scavenger hunt.
Make a list of objects for your children to find and let them go loose. In case of inclement weather, this activity can be done indoors or outdoors. Simply swap out nature finds for household items and you're little scavengers will be good to go! The best part? It encourages young minds to slow down and pay attention while boosting observational and cognitive skills.
Attend an outdoor concert.
Treat your ears to live music by heading to a local outdoor concert. Bring friends and family along for an even more festive outing. If you want to see fireworks, just watch the performers set the stage ablaze.
Sail away to celebrate Independence Day. Take a cruise on a lake for a relaxing excursion. Be sure to pack snacks and drinks to make your boating experience even more enjoyable.
Plant flowers in a garden.
Beautify your outdoor space by planting pretty blooms in your backyard or around your home. Roll up your sleeves and get your kids in on the fun too. Remember, gardening isn't just enjoyable, but also boasts health benefits to boot.
RELATED: Summer Flowers That Are Perfect for Your Garden This Season
Do some online shopping.
Take advantage of the plentiful 4th of July sales that most retailers offer on and around the holiday. Stock up on summer essentials or possibly score discounts on flights and book a trip to a bucket-list destination.
Make a refreshing cocktail.
No party or family gathering is complete without a signature drink. Create your own patriotic cocktail or non-alcoholic beverage to add an unexpected touch to the refreshments. Be sure to incorporate red, white and blue ingredients, of course!
RELATED: 21 Patriotic Drinks That Are Perfect for 4th of July
Make a tire swing.
If you have a strong and sturdy tree on your property, put it to use for endless hours of play. Secure a rope, grab an old tire, and get the little ones ready to enjoy the summer breeze that only a backyard swing can bring.
Host a costume competition.
Show off your styling skills with a fun costume contest. Use props, old clothes and favors to see who can dress up in the most patriotic garb for cool prizes and of course, bragging rights.
Build a fort.
Put old boxes to use and let children's imaginations run wild. Encourage them to build a fort or steer a pirate ship for nonstop entertainment. Plus, they can decorate their cardboard creation with festive colors that complement the holiday.
Go camping — even if it's just in your backyard.
There's something about camping that always feels like it's an adventure, even if it's just in your backyard. Whether you're in your backyard or at a campsite, use the 4th of July holiday to get outside and make s'mores, tell ghost stories around a fire, or wake up early for a sunrise hike. This could also be a great opportunity to visit some of America's most prized possessions: its National Parks.
RELATED: 20 Family Vacation Ideas Around the US for an Unforgettable All-Ages Trip
Make some s'mores.
Making s'mores together as a family is a great way to pass the time, especially when the weather is nice enough to be outside. After the fireworks are over, try out some fun, creative s'mores recipes for a crowd-pleasing activity.
Get the Gooey Chocolate and Strawberry S'mores recipe.
Host a backyard competition.
Host a family soccer or badminton tournament to keep everyone entertained and outside all day long. You can even add in various prizes for the winners (and losers), and schedule fun 4th of July-themed crafts and meals for half-times and other breaks.
RELATED: 17 Best Lawn Games for Outdoor Fun You Can Take With You
Try a new sport.
Sometimes a big holiday like the 4th of July is a great time to try out a new activity with your family. Experiment with trying kayaking, paddle board yoga, or pilates to switch things up. It'll be a fun challenge and later, you can reward yourself with a refreshing red, white, and blue ice pop.
A national holiday can be a great time to finally plan that hike you've been wanting to try. Whether you're a seasoned pro or you're looking for an easy, beginner-friendly trail for the whole family, a July day spent outside is always a good idea. This is also one of the best ways to appreciate America's vast, varied landscape.
Make homemade popsicles.
The 4th of July is typically a very hot holiday (but hey, that's part of the fun!), so cool off by creating homemade popsicles. You've heard of wine tasting maybe ice cream flavor tasting, but what about popsicle tasting? Sounds like the coolest food trend yet.
Get the Fruit 'n' Yogurt Swirl Pops recipe.
Create a waterpark at home.
Between sprinklers and a fun hose extension, you can create a waterpark in your own backyard. The kids will be entertained for hours (and cooled off) by playing fun water games. And let's face it, enjoying a cold beverage in a kiddie pool on a sweltering July day is fun no matter your age.
Read a book about American history.
If you've got a little one who doesn't quite know what the 4th of July is about, use the holiday as a chance to teach them more about American history. There are so many great kids' books about history and historical figures, like I Am Rosa Parks by Brad Meltzer and Two Friends by Dean Robbins.
RELATED: 4th of July Facts That Will Change How You Look at the Holiday
Rehearse and perform famous American speeches.
Think of this as an Independence Day-themed talent show. Parents and kids alike can learn and perform famous speeches by great Americans such as the "I Have a Dream" speech by Martin Luther King or Abraham Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address."
Have a hot dog eating contest.
If there's one food that represents the 4th of July, it's hot dogs. If you're feeling adventurous, recreate Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Competition, or if you want something a little more tame (and easier to stomach) try a hot dog taste test where you can try out various relishes and mustards.
RELATED: 21 Tasty Hot Dog Recipes That Put a Twist on the Classic
Have a hot dog bar.
Speaking of hot dogs, another way to enjoy this classic 4th of July food is to have a hot dog bar. Create a spread of every topping and condiment imaginable and let people create their own masterpieces accordingly. Have vegetarian friends or family? Add some veggie dogs to the mix to be more inclusive.
Pack a picnic.
Take all of those adorable red, white, and blue recipes you made and celebrate with a picnic in the park. To make sure everyone stays cool and happy, bring some games, books, and a portable fan or mister to beat the heat.
Go for a bike ride.
Get active on your day off and go for a bike ride before all the eating and partying begins. Map out a new trail you haven't tried before or plan some new stops along a familiar route to keep things interesting.
RELATED: The 13 Best Places to Buy a Bike in 2022
Celebrate on the beach.
If you're lucky enough to live within driving distance of a beach, pack up for a fun day in the sun. If you stay until the evening, expect to see fireworks. Just check with the local authorities first to make sure the beach is open.
RELATED: 70 Best Beach Captions to Post While You're Chillin' in the Sand
Take a walk in the park.
Looking for low-key 4th of July? Use your day off to explore a new neighborhood park as a family. Pack a picnic as part of the experience or try out a new ice cream shop on the way home to make things extra special.
Lounge in the pool.
Sometimes with holiday plans, less is more. Make delicious summer drinks, play a few patriotic tunes, and kick back, relax, and soak up some sun. Sometimes the simplest plans are the best.
Host a potluck.
If you prefer to spend the 4th at home, you can still make things feel like a party by inviting over a few friends or neighbors and having each person contribute, just like an old school potluck. Prepare potluck dishes, plan games for the kids, and end the night with sparklers to light up the street.
RELATED: 8 Gourmet July 4th Menu Ideas for Every Type of BBQ
Make a festive craft.
Plan a holiday-themed DIY project with the kids to deck out your home in red, white, and blue, like one of these cute 4th of July wreath projects.
Head to the ballpark.
Given that most baseball stadiums are outdoors, this could be a particularly fun summer activity on a day with gorgeous, mild weather. Not to mention, who doesn't love a cold soda and chili dog during the summer?
Watch a parade.
Wake up early and put on your patriotic best, because if your town is hosting a 4th of July parade, you'll want front row seats! Be sure to check with your local newspaper or town website to see when and where parades will be happening.
Screen a movie outside.
Skip the movie theater and set up a film screening in your backyard with a portable home projector. Watch patriotic classics like Yankee Doodle Dandy or Independence Day.
RELATED: 20 of the Best Patriotic Movies to Celebrate the 4th of July
Plan a patriotic getaway.
Stop by one of America's greatest landmarks on July 4th. From the Liberty Bell to the Grand Canyon, there are plenty of bucket list-worthy spots to explore. Just be sure to double check what's open ahead of time.
Belt out some tunes.
Bust out the drums (a.k.a. pots and pans) and other makeshift instruments, then encourage your kids to sing along to American classics like "The Star Spangled Banner" and "This Land Is Your Land."
Make some red, white, and blue recipes.
Whip up food with bright patriotic colors, from pastries and desserts to appetizers, then relish in your hard work by eating it all.
Get the Red-White-and-Blue Berry Pizza recipe.
Host a cookout.
Speaking of food, why not impress your family and friends with a summer cookout? Make some of our easy grilling recipes that'll feed a crowd.
Find a fireworks show.
It isn't a 4th of July celebration without fireworks! Watch the sky light up with the entire family by attending a local fireworks show. If your town isn't hosting fireworks, check online for a virtual fireworks show, like the fireworks show at Walt Disney World.
Get some sparklers.
There's just something magical about sparklers, and the 4th of July is the perfect time to (safely) play with some once it starts getting dark.
If it's been a while since you've eaten outside, the 4th of the July is the perfect time to make it happen. Have a mini picnic on your stoop or move your entire kitchen table outside if you have to. It's more fun than you probably think.
Take a drive around the neighborhood.
One of the most fun parts of Christmas is driving around and looking at all the decorations (hot chocolate optional). Why not do the same for the 4th of July? Grab an ice cold lemonade and load up the car with family and healthy snacks, rating the best decorated houses as you go.
Go to the movies.
Not into red-white-and-blue themed activities on the 4th of July? No problem. It might be a good day to enjoy the ice cold air conditioning of a movie theater. Plus, there's a very good chance it won't be crowded since it's a holiday.
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