Time for fireworks, barbecues, and all things red, white, and blue! The Fourth of July is here and we’re ready for family fun!
So why exactly do we celebrate Independence Day on July 4? Was it the day that the American Revolutionary War began? No, that happened over a year before in April 1775. Was it the day that Congress voted to declare Independence? Nope, that was July 2, 1776. Or was it just the day that that the Declaration of Independence was written? Wrong again, Thomas Jefferson jotted that down a month before. Or perhaps it was the day that it was officially sent to King George III across the pond? No, he didn’t receive it until November. Then it must have been the day that all of the delegates signed the Declaration of Independence!
We hate to say it, but that’s still not quite true. Most of them signed it on August 2.
So why the Fourth of July? That’s the big date on top of the Declaration of Independence. It marked the day that Congress finalized the wording of the big document—which took them two whole days after they agreed on declaring independence! Whew!
That may be a little too much for the youngest kids to grasp, but there are plenty of ways that kids can celebrate American independence! We pored through CRICKET Magazine and found three unique ideas for things to do on the Fourth of July with your family before heading out to see the fireworks!
Make a Red, White, and Blue Smoothie
This refreshing frozen drink is the perfect breakfast for the morning of the Fourth of July! Kids of all ages can help rinse fruit and add ingredients to the blender. This smoothie comes with ingredients in three different delicious layers. Your kids may also be interested to see what happens if they mix together ingredients from all three layers. What color will the results be?
Find Out What Makes Fireworks Work… Safely!
Fourth of July fireworks are as American as apple pie, right? Well, fireworks actually got their start in China way back in the ninth century! The discovery of gunpowder led to some pretty exciting New Year’s fireworks. We definitely don’t want kids to experiment with real gunpowder, but they can still get a bang out of this activity and learn more about chemical reactions.
This activity from a 2006 issue of CRICKET Magazine calls for an empty film canister, but we have a feeling that most families no longer have those lying around. (How times have changed!) Any kind of similar small plastic canister with a loose lid will do. Kids can even decorate their canisters to look like rockets with paper and crayons!
Learn About A Lesser-Known Founding Father
You’ve heard of the midnight ride of Paul Revere, but what about the ride of Caesar Rodney?
We know that said that all of that business about the Declaration of Independence might be too confusing for kids to remember, but older children might want to dig a little deeper into the history of the document. It’s easy to imagine a quick and unanimous decision in favor of freedom, but some things about Congress haven’t changed much over the centuries: arguing was always the order of the day, and passing resolutions always took a long time! While students probably learned about Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, and George Washington at school, the Declaration of Independence never would have passed without the help of a lot of other people.
One of them was a brave statesman from Delaware named Caesar Rodney who made a nonstop thirty-hour horseback ride to Philadelphia to vote in favor of Independence… even though he was ill with cancer. Rodney (and his exhausted horse) both appear on the back of the Delaware state quarter. This article from CRICKET Magazine follows Rodney’s midnight ride with a dash of suspense. Read and download it here!
How does your family celebrate the Fourth of July? Do you have any family traditions? We’d love to hear about them!