As kids get older, they learn to love and appreciate the fun that comes along with the 4th of July. The time with family and friends, the tasty BBQ fare, and the mind-blowing fireworks. But if you have toddlers who aren't quite sure what the 4th is all about, it can be hard to keep them preoccupied all day long until the fireworks begin. Most activities are geared towards older kids, making it even harder to stave off bored, cranky toddlers. Having a few special 4th of July games for toddlers, however, will make them feel like one of the big kids and keep you from warding off tantrums.
These games are all fairly simple, and take fun twists on classic "big kid games." Most of them require very little preparation, giving you a chance to focus on all of the other tasks on your to-do list while the little ones stay occupied and entertained. You can enlist the help of an older kid to be the "game master" and keep everyone in line, or you can spread the games out throughout the day to better keep an eye on all of the little athletes. Either way, your 2 to 4 year olds are sure to love being included in the festivities and you might just get to skip the part when they ask "when are the fireworks, mommy?" 10,000 times.
1. Water Balloon Baseball
Exactly like it sounds, this game is perfect for especially hot days and especially active tots. Fill up some water balloons for the balls, set them on a tee, and let the kids go wild You can also substitute a water balloon for any game with a ball for an instant (and effective) way to keep cool.
2. Patriotic Scavenger Hunt
Real Simple suggested a classic scavenger hunt that's easily adaptable for kids of all ages and can keep them occupied all day long. Whether you have them search for pieces of a flag that they piece together at the end of the day to win a prize or small toys with easy clues to follow, it's the perfect activity for curious minds.
3. United We Stand Game
Parents suggested teaching your kids a very simple, yet time consuming game that is great practice for their motor skills as well. All you'll need is some red and blue washi tape (or masking tape), some small embroidery hoops and hoola hoops, wooden dowels, and water bottles. Although there will be preparation involved, it will keep your kids occupied for hours. The goal is to create small "fishing poles" with the dowels and hoops, and to get the kids to tip the bottles upward using only the poles.
4. Set Up A Mini Golf Course
Whether it's as simple as some kid sized golf clubs and some plastic cups taped to the ground or an elaborate course set up to stump any mini-Tiger Woods, creating a mini golf course for your little ones to play at is sure to be as fun for them as it is entertaining to watch.
5. 4th Of July Bingo
Another classic game that can easily be adapted for toddlers, a game of 4th of July-themed bingo is the perfect way to keep kids busy. Reader's Digest has full instructions and free printables that will make the game even more official.
6. A Classic Game Of Tee Ball
America's favorite sport can easily be adapted for the younger crowd with a tee and a softer ball. Have an adult catch or play referee, and watch the organized chaos ensue.
7. Have A Sidewalk Chalk Mural Competition
If your kids are on the artistic side, have a sidewalk chalk mural competition to see who can create the most patriotic (or just legible) picture.