Our Best Family-Friendly Fourth of July Activities
Ask any American and they'll tell you that there are a number of Fourth of July activities that are synonymous with the holiday: digging into a plate of barbecue by the grill, enjoying a bit of music and sunshine in your own backyard, and sitting in field and looking up at a sky full of fireworks. Whatever your favorite Independence Day tradition is, it's usually a time spent with family and friends.
Whether you're planning to mark this year's Independence Day with a few loved ones on a beach or socially distanced in the heart of the city, there are plenty of fun celebrations and things to do on the Fourth of July that the whole family will enjoy—all while following COVID-19 protocols. Plus, many are designed for smaller groups in open airy spaces. All are accessible and easy to organize, with a few projects requiring everyday items that you probably have laying around right now. If you're looking for games to burn off extra energy in between lunch and dinner, our sponge balls are great eco-friendly (and cost-effective!) alternatives to water balloon fights. Or bake delicious snacks, like Pretzel Sparklers, that are festive and fun to make as a family.
From treats that you can make with children and adults (no-cook and no-bake snacks you'll love!) to games and toys you can put together with very little effort, we're walking you through some of the best things to do on the Fourth of July holiday with those closest to you. Make memories even brighter with the following projects, recipes, and how-tos.
Instead of a simple tie-dye project, try out ice-dyeing during your July Fourth festivities. This technique is a cleaner and easier way to create watercolor designs on cotton fabrics. Plus, you can make everything from tablecloths to napkins for a small get-together with the bright, summer-centric style.
Kitchen sponges star in summer's answer to the snowball fight—like water balloons with many lives to live. These DIY toys can last way longer than water balloons, and they're much softer than regular sports balls you'd find elsewhere—you can even make them the day of the event by cutting new sponges directly out of the box.
A stint of aquatic frolicking will keep both kids and adults cool throughout the long day outside. Set up a few sprinklers and invite a small group of family and friends to get in on the fun.
Ombré Tumbling Tower Game
You can build this fun lawn game in the days leading up to your July 4th celebration. Invite a few guests to play—the rules are simple! Players take turns removing a block from the bottom or middle of the tower using only one hand. Whoever causes the tower to fall loses.
This no-bake treat is a great way to get the kids involved in prepping sweets—to make things even simpler, you can use store-bought sorbet cups. Arrange and serve just before it's time for fireworks.
Wire wands in patriotic shapes bring a festive edge to bubble-blowing, which you can get going with homemade bubbles. With a few twists of wire, you can make fantastic bubble wands and spend long, lazy days practicing your technique. Mix corn syrup and dish detergent for bubbles so gigantic, you won't believe they're real.
Fly a Kite
This family-friendly activity will let everyone join in on the fun. The DIY project only requires paper, straws, string, and tape to create a kite perfectly suited for sunny, windy days. The design process adds an even more exciting element. Use decorative tissue paper and glittery accents to make this creation a beautiful one.
Bake Patriotic Treats Together
What better way to enjoy the holiday than by making delicious treats for the little ones and adults alike? These red, white, and blue baked goodies are a great start. The cookies are reminiscent of the fireworks you'll watch later on in the day as a family.
Piece Together Party Favors
These lively favors are perfect even for small, socially distanced gatherings with loved ones. Create your own by printing the Rocket Crackers Clip Art onto paper using a color printer and cut out the shapes. Place the rectangular clip art blank side-up and attach double-sided tape to one long edge. Next, fold a piece of tissue paper in half (so it measures four by five-and-a-half inches). Place the tissue fold at the bottom of the card stock, pressing it to the tape to secure it. Roll the card stock and tissue into a tube and secure it with double-sided tape. Cinch the tissue at the bottom of the rocket and tie it with twine. Roll fan-shaped clip art into a cone; then secure with hot glue. Place some candies inside the rocket and then use hot glue to attach the cone to the body.
You won't have to leave your home to find fun things to do on the 4th of July. Kids can use this homemade finger paint—the final product is nontoxic and washable—to make beautiful creations from your backyard. Your little ones can even paint the fireworks as they seem them light up the sky this Fourth of July.
Play a Tin Can Toss Game
Decoupage tin cans from your pantry with any patterned paper of your choice (preferably festive colors) to play a fun game of tin can toss for a small Fourth of July get-together. It's a simple and stress-free way to keep the kids entertained, too.
Play Beanbag Toss
Another fun thing to do on the Fourth of July? Make a beanbag toss. It's an easy-to-create outdoor game that will pack on plenty of hours of entertainment for your intimate party. No matter your age or beanbag toss experience level, it is sure to bring plenty of laughs and joy for everyone.
Make Bubble Paper
This project gives your kids permission to blow bubbles at the table, and you can make it a patriotic blue color to fit the holiday. You can make this bubble paper for gift wrap or just as colorful creative paper for daily use. To make it, add two to three tablespoons of paint to one-half inch of bubble solution in the baking dish; mix it with a spoon. Place the dish on the baking sheet. Tilt the baking dish to form a pool of the paint-bubble mixture. Use straws to blow bubbles in the mixture. (Supervise small children during this step to avoid ingestion.) Place the paper on top of the bubbles. Repeat until the paper is covered. You can even add layer colors on top of each other and include more paint for darker bubbles.
The sunshine will make for more than just a perfect outdoor party with a few of your closest friends and family. Thanks to Mother Nature, you and the kids can make sunprints out of leaves or stems from the great outdoors. Simply hang the prints on a clothesline during the sunny day to dry and complete the project.
Set up your own set of pins or recycle the cans used for your tin can toss game to have your very own bowling alley right in your backyard. Set out a smooth path for a lane with a blanket or board, and then choose your ball of choice. After that, let the games begin!
Play with Chalk
It'll be easy to get the whole family involved in a one-of-a-kind sidewalk chalk project with the help of a few common household items. This DIY largely calls for water, dry tempera paint, and cornstarch to make the colorful wash-off (and nontoxic) pigments.
A Fourth of July celebration is never quite complete without a night filled with fireworks. Round up some blankets or lawn chairs to have a socially distanced gathering under the bright lights.
Create and Play Checkers
Custom make your own checkerboard with a canvas an array of paints for an easy game the little ones and the adults can play together. You can even bake the game pieces together. Think: miniature sugar cookies in different hues for the opponents to use and then eat once the game is over.
Make Pretzel Sparklers
All you need to do is melt chocolate, add sprinkles, and place pretzels in the refrigerator to set these festive treats. Not only will they last longer than the sparklers you'll use on the Fourth, but they are also even more fun to create as a family.
Craft Kinetic Sand
If you can't make it to the beach this year, bring the sand to you! Have fun with your own oceanside-inspired project with this patriotic-hued craft. The kids will adore this special sand that changes color and shape. The heat from their hands will change the color from different shades of blue or red.