The Fourth of July is always one of my favorite parts of summer. It’s the peak of the summer, perfect for enjoying being out in the sun with family and friends. But one of the challenges of the Fourth of July is that so many of the ways we typically celebrate it just aren’t very kid-friendly, like having a cold beer or playing with sparklers.
Fortunately, there are ways to make it fun for kids while still celebrating the best of summer. Everyone can join in the fun with some of these perfect treats for the Fourth of July.
Homemade Ice Cream
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! But why pick up a pre-made tub of it at the store when you can have the fun of making it with your kids? It’s easier than you might think, too — no special skills required.
All you need is an ice cream maker, rock salt, and six simple ingredients. This recipe doesn’t even use eggs, so it’s safe for pregnant mommies, too. Once you have the ice cream maker, you can tweak the same recipe by adding other flavors.
Watermelon Seed-Spitting Contest
Few other fruits say “Fourth of July” like watermelon. It’s present at almost every July 4th picnic, and it's a cool sweet treat on a hot summer's day. Kids and adults alike love this fresh, juicy fruit (and any time you can get kids to voluntarily eat fruit is a win!) But there’s the matter of those pesky seeds to contend with. You can spit them out on a plate, which gets the job done but is a little boring. Why not have a game with the kids to see who can spit their seeds the furthest?
The Fourth of July is a great time for being outdoors. Keep kids entertained by having them express their creativity with chalk art, like this set. All you need is a driveway, patio, or sidewalk, and kids can have fun for hours drawing pictures or boards for tic-tac-toe or hopscotch.
The best part about the chalk drawings is that unlike paint, it doesn’t make a big mess! It rinses off their clothes easily and washes off completely in the rain.
If you’re not lucky enough to have access to a swimming pool during the summer, there’s still a way to beat the heat on the Fourth of July. Set up sprinklers and have the kids run through them to cool off. Or grab an old-school Slip N Slide for slipper good fun!
Celebrate all the fresh summer bounty by making a patriotic fruit pizza. Use delicious seasonal fruits like strawberries and blueberries to make this easy and patriotic-themed dessert pizza. Get the kids involved, too — there’s nothing that tastes as good as something you helped to make.
Let your kids put on their sleuthing caps and start searching for treasure in the backyard. Hide a random assortment of things in your yard and send them on their way!
The dollar store is a great place to get inexpensive items to hide that the kids can keep once they find them. Good items to get include bubbles, coloring books, puzzles, action figures, and toy race cars.
There’s no need to go out of town to go camping. Let your kids have all the fun of camping, right in your backyard. Set up a tent and get ready for the excitement of sleeping under the stars.
Make it just like any other camping experience: bring hot dogs to roast over a fire, along with marshmallows to toast and the ingredients to make s’mores. Just like camping!
RELATED: Your Ultimate Guide to Family Camping
Red, White and Blue Slime
What’s more fun to kids than playing with slime? But you don’t have to buy an expensive tub of premade slime; you can make it yourself with just a couple of ingredients in a few minutes.
Try this recipe or this one to make some fast and easy slime in your very own kitchen. Spending just a few minutes of your time will let your kids have a blast for hours.
Build a fort
A backyard fort is like a secret hideaway that most kids love. You can build your own in your backyard. Your kids will love the place to play and have adventures, but they can have even more fun by being involved in building it.
Whether you choose to build a basic wooden-framed fort or an easier one with cardboard, the kids will have fun helping to build it. Then they’ll have even more fun playing inside of it.
Have a Parade
What’s the Fourth of July without a parade? Have your kids gather all their friends or visiting cousins and let them march in their own parade through your neighborhood. Get some noisemakers and flags to wave. Have the kids dress in adorable patriotic red, white, and blue clothing. Give them their marching orders and follow them out the door for their very own parade.
Red, White and Blue Cookies
You didn’t think the Fourth of July was just about hot dogs and watermelon, did you? Cookies are always welcome at any occasion. You can make patriotic red, white and blue cookies or festive American flag cookies. These recipes are fun and easy enough that you’ll want to get the kids into the kitchen to help!
RELATED: Feed a Crowd With a Hot Dog Bar
Fourth of July Wreath
Why spend $20 (or more!) on a premade wreath at a craft store when you can make your own? It’s fast, easy and inexpensive. You’ll be surprised at how cheaply you can make your own Fourth of July wreath. The whole project can come together pretty quickly, especially if you already have red, white, and blue fabric sitting on hand. Get out your glue gun and make something with your own personal touch.
Make an American Flag
The American flag is one of the symbols of freedom we celebrate most on the Fourth of July. You can pick one up at Walmart or the dollar store, but why not make your own with the kids? When you make your own flag, you can give it a classy, Pottery Barn-inspired look that you might just want to keep up all year.
Find more great Fourth of July fun HERE!