July 4th is typically celebrated with a flurry of patriotism on full display across America each year — fireworks, barbecues, parades — and red, white, and, blue everything — marks the occasion. But aside from all of the fun pomp and circumstance, there are plenty of 4th of July facts to share with your kids to help them learn more about the holiday.
Whether you read
books about Independence Day together, watch documentaries, or recap what your kids learn in history class, most parents can easily regurgitate why Americans celebrate July 4th: The holiday marks the occasion of the 13 original colonies’ proclamation of independence from Great Britain in 1776 with the signing of The Declaration of Independence. It’s essentially a celebration of when America as we know it today made a formal break from English rule.
While these facts can help kids understand the reasons why America’s birthday is worth celebrating, some of them are also just plain fun and interesting — like, who knew Americans consume upwards of 150 million hot dogs each July 4th? Read on to see what other fun 4th of July facts you can share with your kids above and beyond how to dress your entire family in matching stars and stripes. (Although that sounds like a great plan, too, TBH.)
1 The Vote For Independence Actually Happened On July 2
Though we celebrate the
Independence Day holiday on July 4th, the Continental Congress actually voted to declare independence from Britain on July 2, 1776, according to History.com. The Declaration of Independence was formally adopted on July 4, 1776, however, which is why that historic date is the one to mark the occasion. 2 America’s Population In 1776 Was About 2.5 Million
When the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776, the population at that time in what would become formally known as America consisted of about
2.5 million colonists, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The U.S. population today is approximately 130 times larger than it was then and growing. 3 Early Celebrations Had Cannons, Bonfires, & Mock Funerals Newsday LLC/Newsday/Getty Images
Today, we think of fireworks as the quintessential activity to
celebrate the 4th of July. However, the earliest reported celebrations in 1776 and shortly after involved cannons, muskets, bonfires, and even mock funeral services for King George III, according to History.com. (There were fireworks starting in 1777, though!) 4 The White House’s First 4th of July Celebration Happened In 1801
The first time The
White House formally celebrated July 4th was in 1801, according to The White House Historical Association. Thomas Jefferson was President and he threw a festival complete with horse races, parades, and music. The White House will continue the celebratory tradition in 2021 with July 4th festivities on the South Lawn for military families and essential workers, according to CNN. 5 Americans Eat About 150 Million Hot Dogs Each Year On July 4th
One food famously consumed on July 4th is the hot dog. Americans eat about
150 million hot dogs each year on Independence Day, according to a report from Insider. Though the number is definitely an approximation (because who can really count all of those hot dogs), it’s fun to think about just how many of these delicious dogs Americans consume each year for the holiday. 6 John Hancock Was The First Person To Sign The Declaration Of Independence
If you’ve never shared with your kiddo what it means when someone asks for “your John Hancock,” the 4th of July holiday is the perfect time to explain.
John Hancock, a merchant by trade, was the first statesman to sign the Declaration of Independence in 1776, according to Dictionary.com. 7 Benjamin Franklin Was The Oldest Person To Sign The Declaration Of Independence
Your kids may already know a thing or two about one of the most well-known Founding Fathers, Benjamin Franklin, but do they know that he was
the oldest person to sign the Declaration of Independence? Franklin was 70 years old in 1776, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Edward Rutledge, aged 26, was the youngest signer of the historic document. 8 The Holiday Wasn’t “Official” For Nearly A Century
July 4th wasn’t officially
named a federal holiday in the U.S. until 1870 — 94 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence — according to History.com. Though federal recognition happened in 1870, the provision wasn’t expanded to include July 4th as a paid holiday for federal employees until 1941. 9 The Current American Flag Is The 27th Version ClassicStock/Archive Photos/Getty Images
Though the iconic design of Old Glory has not changed since the 50th star was added in 1960, there were 26 previous
versions of the U.S. flag, according to USA Today. The original design featured 13 stars and stripes, each representative of a former British colony. Today, the stripes still number 13 and there is a star to represent each state in the union. 10 More Than 16,000 Fireworks Displays Happen Each July 4th
When you head to watch a local
fireworks show with your family this year, you can share with your kiddos that more than 16,000 fireworks displays occur each year on July 4th in the U.S., according to a report from WalletHub. Each display can feature hundreds of individual fireworks within the show, so in total, that’s a lot of fireworks. 11 The First 4th Of July Parade Happened In Rhode Island
Parades are a mainstay of Independence Day celebrations in the U.S. dating back to the year 1785 when the
first 4th of July parade took place in Bristol, Rhode Island, according to a report from Parents. Today, the town celebrates America’s birthday from Flag Day in June through July 4th with a parade route that lasts 2.5 miles. 12 ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ Didn’t Become The National Anthem Until 1931
Although Francis Scott Key first penned the tune in 1814,
The Star-Spangled Banner didn’t become America’s National Anthem until President Herbert Hoover signed a congressional act on March 3, 1931, according to History.com. Now, the song is played at many events, including those celebrating July 4th.