With the Fourth of July falling on a Wednesday this year, there's no clear weekend to designate "July 4th Weekend." This can be really freeing — you can celebrate the weekend before, on Wednesday itself, the weekend after, or any combination of the above. If you have toddler, that could mean stretching your activities and celebrations out. No worries, parents, there are plenty of festive activities to do with toddlers that are patriotic and will keep all of you busy and in the holiday spirit.
Head to the art supply store and the supermarket ahead of your celebrations to stock up on craft project supplies as well as every red, white, and blue food you can think of. Hint: there are lots of good choices in the berry aisle as well as the baking and candy aisles. If all else fails, grab the Firework Oreos at your grocery store. What food doesn't get better with white whipped cream on it? The hose will be your best friend this week — from cleaning up messes to keeping the kiddies cool in the heat of the day. There are outdoor activities, community activities, and when you're totally exhausted, there are quiet time activities, too.
So pull out your red, white, and blue clothing and your stars and stripes headbands, and get ready to celebrate all week long.
1. Decorate Dessert
This can take any shape you want it to and you can opt to decorate cupcakes, cookies, ice cream sundaes, sheet cakes... anything you want. Not only can you use food coloring to tint the icing or the whipped cream, but the possibility for red, white, and blue toppings are endless and range from fresh produce (berries and bananas) to sprinkles.
2. Play Rocket Toss
Parents Magazine has a great game to keep the kids occupied. Decorate cleaned out tin cans with red white and blue duct tape. Set them up in pyramids and let the kids take turns aiming bean bags at them to knock them down.
3. Organize Your Own Parade
Don't be afraid of the noise on this one. Give them toy drums, recorders, whistles, etc. You can teach them to sing a simple patriotic song or get a recording and have them "play along" as they walk down your street. Some kids can decorate their tricycles and riding toys with streamers and red, white, and blue stickers to ride in the parade. Get your extended family or all the kids in the neighborhood in on the action, too.
4. Make A Flag Placemat
No Time For Flashcards has a pretty easy flag placemat craft for little ones that calls basic craft materials (glue, scissors, and construction paper). If they have enough patience, you can have them make several and use them at your holiday barbecue.
5. Eat A Patriotic Breakfast
Decorate your toast, pancakes, or waffles with cream cheese, blueberries, strawberries and bananas.
Check out the Life With the Littles blog for a toast and fruit flag and tons of amazing red, white, and blue snacks — everything from flag-colored Rice Krispie treats to jello parfaits and dipped pretzel sticks.
6. Create Chalk Art
A box of sidewalk chalk can keep the kids busy for ages. On July 4th, take out the red, white and blue chalk and let them go crazy. Make star templates for them and they can trace them all over the driveway. They can even create their own driveway art fireworks display by drawing "explosions" of any color.
7. Go To A Minor League Baseball Game
What could be more American than going to a baseball game? Older toddlers may be the perfect age to be introduced to a minor league park. Ticket prices are pretty reasonable and many of these have between-inning entertainment. Some ballparks even have playgrounds and trains running around them. Throw in a hot dog and, if you are lucky, fireworks at the end, and it's an all-American way to celebrate.
8. Attend The Fireworks
You may be able to do a little cheating here since little kids can be unpredictable and the fireworks are probably after bedtime, so let them wear their jammies. If you know there are fireworks being held at a local ballpark or someplace similar, park a little bit away from the event and get out and watch in front of your car (you may want to bring little chairs or a blanket to sit on). With strategic parking, you may be able to get them back into the car quickly and avoid the traffic.
9. Sing A Long
Find a few easy to sing patriotic songs, including these July 4th songs and rhymes from Twiggle Magazine, and teach them to the kids.
10. Paint A T-shirt
You can let them go to town with red, white, and blue fabric paint or get ambitious and have stars and stripes stencils for them to use. After they dry, they can either wear them in their own parade or in your town's parade, if you go.
11. Create Art Fireworks
With a dish brush and some washable paint, Crafty Morning came up with a way for the kiddies to create their own fireworks on paper. You can use other things around the house, too, including paper towel rolls that are cut on the ends.
12. Watch The Town Parade
Many towns have parades. If you can corral the kids long enough, pull out those strollers and wagons and head over. You can even decorate your ride with some red, white, and blue ribbon and find a mini flag for your little one to wave.