As a child, the 4th of July was one of my very favorite holidays (after my birthday and Christmas, of course). I remember dreaming about the fireworks show the night before, waiting with giddy anticipation for the grilled fare, and spending the entire day outside with family and friends. We watched the parade every year and I vividly remember dodging the other kids in hot pursuit of my favorite candies. Now, a parent myself, I love planning my own kid-friendly 4th of July activities to keep my daughters as excited about the holiday as I was.

Whether you have the same fond connection to the holiday as I do or not, there's no doubt that kids love the 4th of July. From the free candy to the fireworks to the endless potential for crafts and games, our nation's birthday is seriously fun to celebrate.

These activities aren't complicated. In fact, there so simple that you could probably do all 15 of them in one day. Or, if you like to plan ahead, make a few things the day before, so that they're ready to enjoy the next day. No matter how you and your family is celebrating, these activities will be sure to keep your kids occupied and in the 4th of July spirit all day long.

1. Make A DIY Flag Blanket

Courtesy of The House That Lars Built

Although this project is probably better suited for older kids/parental supervision (or the flag will turn out less flag-like), making a DIY painted blanket, like this one from The House That Lars Built, early on in the day will be the perfect thing to watch the fireworks on at nighttime.

2. Have A Picnic

Courtesy of Julie Blanner

Though your decor and food choices will vary from this patriotic picnic spread by Julie Blanner depending on the ages of your kids, it's simple to pack up a quick lunch, grab a few blankets and head to a nearby park to play and eat.

3. Make Faux Snow Cones

Courtesy of A Beautiful Mess

These cupcakes disguised as snow cones from A Beautiful Mess are kid friendly and the perfect treat to make during the hottest part of the day.

4. Turn Your Backyard Into A Splash Pad


With a few sprinklers, an inflatable toy or two, and a few tarps or slip 'n slides, you can create hours of fun for your kids. Or just take them to an actual splash pad. That works too.

5. Watch A Parade


One of the quintessential Independence Day activities is attending the local parade. And for good reason — what's better than sitting back and relaxing while your kids fill up on a years worth of candy? Nothing.

6. Get A Little Messy

Courtesy of A Beautiful Mess

Style a fun (and messy) photo shoot with your kids using some white shirts and this recipe for non-toxic colored powder from A Beautiful Mess. It's bound to be a great time, and luckily, it washes off with water.

7. Make Or Buy A Piñata


If parades aren't your thing but you still want to give your kids a fun surprise, make (Delia Creates has a great piñata tutorial here) or buy a piñata and have at it.

8. Chalk Up Your Hair

Courtesy of Girl Loves Glam

The hair chalking craze hasn't ended yet and it's one your kids will love. Get festive with this tutorial on how to chalk your hair from Girl Loves Glam.

9. Make A Quick, Easy Craft

Courtesy of Handmade Charlotte

These DIY paper plate purses from Handmade Charlotte are as easy as they are cute. Plus they're the perfect way to store all of that parade candy.

10. Cool Off With A Snack

Courtesy of The Merry Thought

If you're looking for a treat that isn't candy for your kiddos to fill up on, these berry and yogurt popsicles from The Merry Thought will hit the spot.

11. Attend A Carnival


Summertime is filled with fun local evens like circuses and carnivals. Take your kiddos out for a special afternoon of fun riding the rides.

12. Tie Dye Shirts


A little patriotic tie dye is just what your kids need to celebrate in style. Use this firecracker tie dye t-shirt tutorial from A Little Craft in Your Day.

13. Bake Some Cookies

Courtesy of Inside Brew Cru Life

Make these firework cookies from Inside Brew Cru Life for a fun twist on classic chocolate chip cookies.

14. Make Themed Jewelry

Courtesy of Hands Occupied

These acrylic painted flag necklaces from Hands Occupied are perfect for kids of any age to help with or make on their own.

15. Recycled Tin Can Toss


With a few rolls of duct tape and some used cans, you can make a fun game for your kids that's a lot like bowling but without the bowling ball. Follow the tutorial from Parents to learn how.