While 4th of July is a time to celebrate freedom and the best of America, lately I know so many of us are having a hard time feeling celebratory. It’s hard to feel like waving a flag when many of our rights are under attack right now, including those of us who are BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, and/or have a uterus.

But as someone who has no plans to move out of the states, I think we can still celebrate the country we want this one to become which is why I am planning to incorporate some traditional Fourth of July festivities into our day. Because this is still my country and your country, and we can work to turn it into one we are proud of every day of the year.

Top photo by Frank Mckenna via Unsplash

This post, originally written by Georgette Gilmore, has been updated for 2022.

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1. Keep the kids busy in the morning with loads of fun 4th of July crafts, printables and activities for kids. Really fun stuff for big and little kids.

These modern patriotic tees are perfect for Fourth of July and beyond

2. Dress the kids in American flag tees that reflect the kind of country we hope they inherit, like the America the Wonderful tees from Free to be Kids or inclusive rainbow flag tee from Cafe Press. Both tees come in a variety of sizes and will look great worn long after the Fourth.

Related: The hip, historical t-shirts for kids we’re obsessed with right now

3. Fire up the grill with over 70 summer grilling recipes, from burgers to veggies to dessert.

4. Make the best BBQ sauce ever to slather on your ribs, pulled pork, grilled tofu, burgers, and more.

Touring America's historical areas makes for a special Fourth of July memory for kids
Christina’s daughter views the monuments up close on our bike tour.

5. Plan a historic day trip, like a self-guided and virtual Black History Tour, a  Hamilton-Inspired Day Trip in Philadelphia, or see the monuments of DC on two wheels with the kids.

6. Mix up a batch of 4th of July cocktails and mocktails so everyone is cool, refreshed and happy.

7. Or make it easy: Here’s how to turn a watermelon into a keg-ermelon!

We are the Change is a great read for Fourth of July

8. Spend a few minutes with an excellent picture book about what it means to be American.

Related: What is Juneteenth? 6 great children’s books (and other resources) that explain this important holiday.

9. Distract the kids with a fun, safe fireworks app while you stuff your face with BBQ.

10. Serve ice cream in festive chocolate dipped cones with red, white, and blue sprinkles for dessert.

11. Host a neighborhood bike parade or one of these other awesome block party ideas.

12. Play one of these cool backyard water games with the kids, like water balloon baseball. It’s America’s favorite pastime with a wet twist!

Dress up in patriotic colors and attend a Fourth of July parade with the kids
Christina’s daughter and friend cheer on a local town’s Fourth of July parade

13. Enjoy some old-fashioned Americana at a local parade. Dress up in all the fun accessories and give an extra loud cheer for our community heroes!

14. Sign up to register voters as a volunteer, and help all Americans have a voice in our democracy.

Follow this recipe for Fourth of July slime
Lexi Petronis’s Fourth of July slime will be a hit!

15. Make DIY star-spangled slime. It’s so easy!

16. Get some colorful balloons, funny napkins, star straws, or one simple 4th of July party supply to help make things more fun.

Related: Free Fourth of July temporary tattoos! Because you may not want those stars and stripes forever. 

17. Put together a DIY Outdoor Movie Theater, like this one at Giggles Galore, and watch a film that enlightens your kids about US history — perhaps Hamilton

18. Make your own safer sparklers. It’s fun and easy!

Sparklers are a fun way for kids to celebrate Fourth of July
Georgette’s girls lighting up the sky with real sparklers.

19. Or go old school and let the kids play with real sparklers….under close supervision! The thrill level is high.

20. Have a patriotic dance party with Putumayo Kids’ American Playground collection of classic American songs.

21. Give the kids mason jars and let them catch fireflies, one of our 10 nighttime activities that let you be the “cool parent.” (just make sure you let them go at the end of the night!)

22. Let the kids stay up way too late to watch fireworks either in person or televised, like the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks show on NBC or streaming on Peacock.

Take your kids to see the fireworks for Fourth of July
Georgette’s daughter enjoying fireworks — ears covered, eyes wide open.

23. Take tons of photos! Not that we have to tell you, of course. But first…read up on these 10 excellent firework photo tips on Cool Mom Tech, to make sure you don’t end up with more than a bunch of blurry blips in the sky.

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