I LOVE the 4th of July. Something about it just reminds me of summers growing up: family barbecues, campfires, nights at the lake, fireworks, waterskiing and eating more watermelon than my stomach could handle! Now that I have four kiddos, the holidays have changed a bit and I think it’s even MORE fun to make it memorable for my kiddos and watch them experience everything.
I have kiddos ranging in age from 5 months to 7 years old, so we try to pick activities that can be enjoyed by all – while still getting to bed at a decent hour. Here are Four 4th of July Favorites for Kiddos 4 and under for your Independence Day celebrations.
1. 4th of July outfits
We don’t buy a lot of clothes throughout the year (generally back to school and Christmas are our two clothing purchase times) but there’s something about a festive, comfy summer outfit that makes those 4th of July photos memorable! Our favorites places to shop are Target, Carter’s and Old Navy
2. Campfire & S’mores
In the middle of Central Florida muggy summer nights, a campfire is not always at the top of my list – but when we’re home visiting my parent’s cabin in Wisconsin, s’mores are an absolute must! Nothing like a sugar-filled treat to finish off the night (ha!) , but when it’s once a year, this mama makes an exception.
S’mores tip: put everything on a cookie sheet BEFORE heading outside and have your graham crackers and chocolate squares already portioned out. This makes it a little less stressful when you’re trying to wrangle small children around a campfire.
**We use extra long marshmallow skewers so that even the younger kids can participate with parent’s assistance.**
One of my daughters absolutely hates fireworks (and most of the time they’re way past the kids’ bedtime!) – so we usually opt out of the big fireworks events – at least until the kids are older. We usually get a few packages of sparklers and do them in the driveway. Adults can help the littles hold them or another option is to poke a hole in a plastic cup and the child can place their hand inside the cup to hold the end of the sparkler (think Captain Hook style!). Make sure kiddos are standing at least 10 feet away from each other and wearing shoes! We keep a bucket of cold water to toss the finished ones into. The sparklers are a favorite of my kids because they don’t make any loud noises.
Parades are super nostalgic for me. Maybe it’s because I’ve grown up attending the one at our cabin every year (where the town is a population of under 700), but they are always so family friendly and everyone can enjoy, no matter what the age! Our small-ish Orlando suburb hosts a pancake breakfast and bike/wagon/stroller parade every morning of the 4th. The kids bring their bikes and we decorate them with streamers and flags.
We like to end every July 4th with a barbecue, homemade ice cream and lot of watermelon! How do you spend your 4th of July? Do you have any traditions or favorites that you’ve implemented with your kiddos?
Originally posted in 2019, edited 2021