Family Fun for the Fourth
by Donna Schlachter
The Fourth of July evokes memories of picnics, games, food, friends and family, and fireworks. But finding something that everybody will enjoy can prove a challenge. With changes in family structure, restrictions due to a reluctance to gather in large groups, pinched finances or simply a lack of planning, you might find yourself challenged to create a weekend to remember.
But have no fear. The following suggestions should empower and encourage you to dangle all of these possibilities before your diverse family nucleus, allowing you to choose one or more activities to fill your holiday.
- Host a B.Y.O.M. BBQ – Cooking out on the 4th of July is classic . . . but meat isn’t cheap! Instead of trying to provide it all, have each guest bring his own, ready to toss on the grill, so you can focus on other things.
- Baked Mac n Cheese Cups – Make your recipe, then bake it in sturdy cupcake liners for a portion-controlled serving. This ensures there is enough to go around!
- Deviled Eggs – Add some food dye to make them patriotic, too. These pack a protein punch for CHEAP!
- Hot Dog Bar – Roast your own! Perfect for a party with a bonfire.
- Homemade Popsicles – They’re so easy and so fun for the kids.
- White Chocolate Covered Pretzels – All you need are pretzels, white baker’s chocolate, and red, white and blue sprinkles.
- Rice Crispy Treats – Top with sprinkles and cut into stars for some added patriotism.
- Classic Cherry Pie – Does it get more American than this?
- Toilet Paper Roll Rockets – Get the kids in on this one and let them decorate the tubes. Put the tubes on popsicle sticks and stick them in mason jars filled with rice for cheap centerpieces.
- Make Paper Chains – Give the kids red, white and blue paper and let them handle this one, too. (Thanks, kids!) Garland for pennies!
- Flowers in Mason Jars – Forget the pre-arranged flowers and make your own for cheap. Grab carnations (they are sooooo cheap!) and divide between mason jars for cute decorations. Add a ribbon if you’re feeling crafty, but it’s not required.
GAMES AND ACTIVITIES
- Giant Tic Tac Toe – Paint X’s and O’s made from cardboard. Use string in the yard to create your board.
- Back Yard Slip n Slide – You don’t need anything fancy—a cheap plastic tarp will do.
- Tin Can Toss – Paint old cans red, white and blue. Set them up and see how many you can knock down with the ball.
- Sack Race – Find cheap pillowcases at the dollar store.
- 4th of July Scavenger Hunt – Fun for all ages!
- Watch Free Fireworks – Many towns put on a free firework show for the community. If not, take a country drive outside the city limits after dark.
- Make a Bonfire – Anyone else thinking s’mores?! No fires allowed? Perhaps a BBQ or a firepit.
- Photo Backdrop – Use a cheap tablecloth or homemade garland for a selfie station.
- Go camping – Even in your backyard!
- Make s’mores – Use different combinations.
- Make a water park from a hose and sprinkler.
- Remember the history – Read a book, recite famous speeches, act out a scene from history.
The Fourth of July is a special celebration in the United States, one that we shouldn’t drown in activities. Let’s take time this year to reflect on the reason for the holiday. True, a great picnic or exciting fireworks are good goals, but it’s not the only way to make the day special.
If your family’s life is already packed with activities, commemorate the day by slowing down. Perhaps a day at the lake or a picnic in your own backyard or on your deck or balcony is the better choice. Maybe a few hours at the community swimming pool, a drive in the country or time relaxing as you all read a book are options. Call up a friend you haven’t seen in a while and gather for lunch on the patio of a local restaurant.
In other words, make how you spend the time with family and friends an intentional decision. Tell them how much they’ve blessed you, and why they are so special to you. List great attributes of this country and the freedoms we experience that many in other countries don’t.
Donna Schlachter pens historical romantic suspense, while her alter-ego, Leeann Betts, writes contemporary romantic suspense. Together they have published more than 35 novellas and full-length novels. They ghostwrite, judge writing contests, edit, facilitate a critique group, and are members of American Christian Fiction Writers, Writers on the Rock, Christian Authors Network, Pikes Peak Writers, Capitol Christian Writers Fellowship, and Sisters in Crime. They both travel extensively to research their stories, most often together.
We’d like to hear from you. Please share your comments below or like us on your Facebook page. Be sure to check back each month for more articles and products available at your local Christian bookstore.