The 4th of July will be here before you know it. Can it be? I remember when I thought summers lasted forever. What happened? Don’t tell me, I really don’t want to know because I suspect it has something to do with that aging thing.
Every year our family, it seems, tries something different for the 4th, not by design, more happenstance. As I am contemplating this year’s celebration, I jotted a few notes down and thought I would share them with you.
4th of July Party Ideas
Old Fashioned (My favorite, actually)
Activities – Gunny sack races, 3-leg races, wheelbarrow races, croquet, baseball, Annie Annie Over, Capture the Flag, Frisbee Golf. And for those inside games: a puzzle table, checkers, Old Maid — any non-electronic game that is quickly played.
Food – Hot Dog Bar (served with a full array of condiments – chili, pickled onions, relishes, chutneys, cheese, salsa, etc), Ice Cream Sodas, unshelled peanut baskets, watermelon triangles on popsicle sticks, macaroni salad, fruit salad, bottles of coke, ice tea, s’mores.
Choose a dish, or condiment, or even a barbecue dipping sauce, something that everyone in your group seems to like and suggest a friendly cook-off. Assign cooks and judges. Set up a tasting station, providing judging scorecards and blindfolds. And of course, a prize. A chef’s apron would be fun. Then provide the necessary accompaniments so that everyone can enjoy the delicious food.
Backyard Camp Out
This is something we’ve done several times and it is always a favorite of the kids. We set up “camp” in the afternoon and position the tents so that they all open up to a fire pit. We always grill on these nights and look forward, after fireworks, to star gazing, stories around the campfire and of course, roasted marshmallows. Evenings like these are memories your children will never forget.
Historical 4th Tours
Spend some time prior to the 4th scouting out local history venues; museums, living history centers, old military forts, train stations, etc. Your local chamber of commerce or state historical museum could help you find historical sites in your area. One activity our family particularly enjoys is visiting a Civil War reenactment, and local chapters are hosting these living history events all over the country. It brings history alive. No longer does it just reside on the pages of a long-forgotten textbook, a connection is made to those long ago events and people that can still teach us things to this day.
I love this idea … and it spreads the work of food preparation around, and that’s a very good thing. Smile. Have everyone bring a favorite dish from their childhood. This could be anything from store bought pinwheel cookies to grandma’s famous potato salad. It’s important for the host family to supply some kind of meat, unless you are aware that someone else is bringing that dish, a salad and condiments. You never know what will show up at your table and the stories that will accompany those dishes. What you learn about your family and friends through their food choices will provide fodder for future storytelling. And if you end up with three or four dishes of grandma’s famous potato salad, you’ll never forget the experience!
Enjoy the 4th and take a moment to recognize the greatness of this place we call home.
Patriotic Party Resources