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10 Ways to Celebrate 4th of July With Kids

This is our weekly guest-blog post from the moms behind Red Tricycle, a site that focuses on the "lighter side" of parenting. Every week, they'll be bringing us their picks of stuff to do around the Bay Area with kids.

To little ones, celebrating the 4th of July usually means one thing – FIREWORKS! But, we know that by the time the sun goes down and the fireworks go up around 10:00 pm, they are exhausted and ready for bed. Here are ten 4th of July activities for kids that don’t involve having cranky, overtired children on the 5th of July!

1. Make a Statue of Liberty crown
Transform the entire family into Lady Liberty this 4th of July. You can go about this many ways and take it to whatever level you’d like – metallic paint, glue and glitter, or just simply some tin foil from the kitchen. Construction paper can make a great headband or try using paper plates for something a little sturdier. Save those empty toilet paper and paper towel rolls – they make excellent starting points for homemade torches! Read more....

2. Have a patriotic bike parade
Grab all the neighborhood kids and their bikes! Have everyone decorate their own bike at home and then meet for a parade or have a bike decorating party at your house (may we suggest the garage?). Think streamers, painted tin cans on string trailing behind bikes, balloons – anything goes! Read more....

3. Read about America’s birthday
Stop by the library or your neighborhood bookstore to pick up The Story of America’s Birthday by Patricia Pingry. It’s a cute, illustrated story geared for the toddler set and older to learn about why we celebrate the 4th. Read more....

4. Make 50 States cookies
For a fun baking project that will also be a sneaky lesson in geography for the kids, try making 50 states cookies! A set of the entire United States will set you back about $100, but you can easily DIY by picking up a cheap map or printing one from online and using it as a template to cut out each state. Then, let your little ones go to town decorating them with red, white and blue! Read more....

5. Watch American Legends
An oldie but goodie by Disney is American Legends, which tells the story of famous Americans such as Johnny Appleseed and Paul Bunyan – try picking it up at your local video store or on Netflix – perfect for some downtime during the day before a late night out watching fireworks! Read more....

6. Bust a patriotic move
Songs about America don’t have to be the boring classical versions – pick up a CD of patriotic songs the next time you’re out or download some onto your computer or iPod. The Wee Sing series is always a hit with kids (don’t worry, you’ll love it too!). Read more....

7. Start the 4th with a red, white and blue breakfast
Get the 4th of July started off right with a fun red, white and blue breakfast that is also healthy! In clear glasses (or even clear plastic party cups), layer blueberries for the blue, strawberries and raspberries for the red and yogurt for the white. Sprinkle some hearty granola in between the layers too! Read more....

8. Make a care package for our troops
The 4th of July is a great time to teach our kids about the special men and women who are serving our country. Put together a care package of things that you gather together as a family or spend some time making cards – even the littlest things can show your appreciation! Read more....

9. Create a flag for your front door
For an easy and fun twist on hanging a flag up this year, try making one from crepe paper on your front door or in your front window! Pick up some red and white streamers from the store for the stripes. Use a piece of blue construction paper and draw on or paint on white stars then hang it so that the flag hangs down – with the streamer stripes going from the top of your door (or window) to the bottom. You can choose to leave them flying at the bottom or tape them down, like on the top. Read more....

10. Celebrate with the East Coast
Are your kids begging you to watch the fireworks, but you know that staying up until 11:00 pm will be a disaster on July 5th? Lucky for us on the West Coast, we can catch a full fireworks extravaganza from home via the magic of television and internet! Get everyone in pajamas and watch the show from the comfort of your own home – you’ll probably have to push bedtimes back a bit, but at least you won’t have to battle the fireworks crowds to make it to bed afterwards! Read more....

Don’t forget to visit your local Red Tricycle Events Calendar to see what 4th of July activities are going on in your city!

Tell us – Does your family or neighborhood have any fun 4th of July traditions that are great for the smallest patriots?