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11 July 4th Social Distance Celebration Ideas

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Suffice it to say, July 4th celebrations are going to look a bit different this year. With annual event cancellations happening left and right due to concerns over the spread of COVID-19, I've been wondering if perhaps summer should be cancelled altogether. But fear not: a socially distant and responsible July 4th celebration with family is possible — if you're smart about it.

While the country is in different stages of re-opening depending on which state you're in, wearing a mask and remaining socially distant are still vitally important in "slowing the spread," according to the CDC. For anyone debating the merits of mask-wearing, see the family in Texas who contracted the virus after a birthday party as your number one point of reference. So while I recommend keeping the July 4th party celebration on the smaller side this year (as in, just the people in your home if possible), there are still plenty of ways to keep the patriotic holiday festive and memorable. From sparklers and an outdoor movie screening to red, white, and blue desserts and cocktails, there are lots of ways to make sure your 2020 July 4th celebration is one for the books. I mean, it may be the only thing you want to remember from this year, to be honest.

The best part is, all of these ideas can work with friends who remain six feet away. Cheers your neighbors across the street with your cocktails. Pop a box of sparklers in your siblings' mailboxes so they can celebrate with you via FaceTime or Zoom. Have a socially distant picnic. The possibilities are totally there, and being outside is safer than being inside if there are other people around.

1. Wear An Independence Day-Themed Face Mask

Nothing says 4th of July like wearing a face mask. Well, at least this year. If you're one who likes to wear coordinating red, white, and blue on July 4th, now you can match your outfit to your mask. Etsy offers many patriotic face mask options to choose from at a variety of affordable price points.

2. Create Your Own Outdoor Movie Experience

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Family movie night, but make it outdoors. The kids will love setting up a backyard movie, which is surprisingly easy to do with just a few necessities: a screen (hanging up a simple white bed sheet will do the trick), a portable projector (I love the Cinemood, which offers built-in access to interactive and educational content, along with all the go-to streaming services), compatible speakers, and plenty of pillows and blankets for optimal viewing comfort. Popcorn, too, please.

3. Make A Red, White, & Blue Dessert

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Many families have their "go to" July 4th dessert (mine has always been a classic vanilla cake with American flag design on top, thanks to blueberries, strawberries, and vanilla frosting). Do you have one? If not, no worries. There are a ton of patriotic dessert recipes out there that will round out your July 4th dinner in style.

4. Play Ball! Or A Patriotic Party Game

A little healthy competition never hurt anyone, and July 4th is a great excuse to put together a little "field day" celebration before you eat. I love this Uncle Sam-themed bean bag toss as an example, but there are lots of family-friendly patriotic party games out there to choose from. And if you're running out of ideas, there's always America's favorite pastime (that's baseball for all the non-sports lovers out there).

5. Cook Classic July 4th Recipes

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Whether you're picnicking outdoors or in this year, I love all the classic Independence Day party foods: potato and pasta salad, watermelon, barbecue, burgers (though I'll pass on a hot dog eating competition). Food Network's July 4th recipe ideas will leave you inspired and ready to start cooking. You can also have family members who wanted to visit sit in another part of your yard for a socially distant, outdoor celebration.

6. Create Patriotic DIY Decorations & Have A Distant Neighborhood Celebration

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There are so many fun and creative ways to make DIY July 4th decorations with your kids, from red, white, and blue chalk drawings and garlands to pinwheels and windsocks. Little ones will love knowing they had a hand in creating your party decor. Bonus: You can host a distant neighborhood celebration by offering prizes for the best decorations, or even having a neighborhood parade where kids ride their bikes and scooters 6 feet away from friends, all decked out in red, white, and blue.

7. Create Your Own Fireworks Show

While your city's annual fireworks show may be cancelled this year, there's no reason you can't have a "sparkling" celebration in your own back yard. While fireworks are illegal to purchase in some states, sparklers are a mild version that you can buy and have fun with at the same time.

8. Celebrate With A July 4th Cocktail

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So, I'm just saying, quarantine has been a doozy. Perhaps you deserve a fruity cocktail (or three)? And if it's a patriotic-themed July 4th drink recipe, all the better.

9. Read The Preamble Of The Declaration of Independence With Your Kids

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"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal," and so begins the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence, which is why we celebrate July 4th in the first place. I think our Founding Fathers would approve of a small history lesson on July 4th, don't you think? And if you're looking for kid-friendly tips on explaining July 4th, check out Considerable's helpful post on the topic.

10. Create A "Splish Splash" Pool Party

If a backyard pool party sounds fun, but you're missing the, um, all important body of water in your backyard, there's always the prospect of a giant inflatable tub in your future.

11. Go Camping In Your Backyard

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Camping out in your back yard is a childhood rite of passage, and could be a fun way to complete your July 4th weekend festivities. Of course, it helps if you already have camping supplies, but if not, REI offers a great list of supplies needed for your first camping experience. And hey, if it starts pouring down rain in the middle of the night, you're not far from home. If you want to add in some friends, have your neighbors next door pitch a tent in their yard, too, so you can celebrate across property lines.