People waiting for burgers at the BBQ grill for outdoor 4th July backyard celebration. Multi racial,...
What To Do On The 4th Of July With Kids

Other than go see fireworks.

The 4th of July is a great excuse to round up family and friends for a big day of fun. But just because tradition dictates that fireworks be the centerpiece, that doesn’t mean they’re the only thing to do on Independence Day. From parades to bake-a-thons, bike rides to putting up bunting, here are a host of other ideas of what to do on the 4th of July other than going to see fireworks.

Why mix it up? Well, the rockets’ red glare is great and all, but for many reasons, fireworks might be out of the question. Perhaps you have pups who get anxious around the explosive noises, or maybe the concept of sitting at a crowded venue to watch a display isn’t your family’s idea of a good time. If you live in a county where fireworks are illegal or your town isn’t doing a fireworks display, the idea of lighting things on fire might be off the table to begin with. Even if they are legal, perhaps you don’t want to hand over a box of highly explosive materials to your children. Whatever the case, you can still mark the occasion with some patriotic fun that will include everyone of all ages from your old Uncle Sam to your littlest Yankee Doodle Dandy.


Watch A Parade

Small town parades scream Americana and you might be surprised to learn that many are still held on July 4th. Check your area event listings to find one, then put on your best red, white, and blue ensemble, pack a beach chair and a cooler of cold drinks and watch the fun in action.


Put Flags On Graves

MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images/MediaNews Group/Getty Images

While it might be more popular on Memorial Day, who says you can’t honor those who served on the Fourth of July. Grab a batch of small flags and decorate graves of service members as a way to honor those who have kept America free.


Volunteer for Veterans

Any day is a great day to give back to service members, but you can make it even more meaningful by giving of your time on July 4th. Various veterans organizations can offer suggestions on how to volunteer, whether it’s providing meals, cleaning yards, or just spending time with those who served.


Decorate with Bunting


If you love a DIY decorating task more than anything, 4th of July can be a ton of fun. And you can get the kids involved too. Grab some bunting, fabric and paper options are available, and let your children help you put it up around your windows or awnings to herald the Independence Day holiday.


Host a Cookout

Nothing makes it feel more like a big summer event than the smell of meat on the grill. Whether you go for all beef franks or vegan dogs, grab your fixings and get cooking.


Have a Picnic

You don’t have to man a hot grill to have a good time on the 4th of July. You could also pack a picnic and take your al fresco meal to the great outdoors. Head to the mountains for lunch surrounded by forest or hit the beach and watch the waves as you enjoy your dinner outside.


Visit a Historic Site

Want to educate your kids on what this whole American experiment is all about? Visit a historic site. Whether it’s the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia or the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., these sites tell a story about America’s long arduous attempt at a government by the people, for the people.


Hoist Up The Flag

What could be more timely than hoisting up the American flag on July 4th? Break out your flag pole and get the whole fam involved in this ceremonial event.


Do Chalk Drawings of Fireworks

Rather than watching fireworks, make your own… on the sidewalk. Get a big box of chalk and let your kids get creative decorating the street for 4th of July with their interpretations of fireworks.


Read the Declaration of Independence Out Loud

MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images/MediaNews Group/Getty Images

Congress voted for that on the 2nd of July. So why don’t we celebrate it then? Because July 4th is the day when Congress adopted the text Jefferson wrote. It’s the ideas in the declaration that still reverberate and inspire people around the world. In the words of one historian, the American Revolution and the idea of self-government is not confined to 1776, it expresses the greatest aspirations of man that we continue to reach for. From abolition to the women’s rights movement to anti-colonialism, it’s still growing and still felt to this day. So read it out loud and reflect on those words that formed the foundation of our democracy.

Whatever you do, let freedom ring.