By Rachel Wells
With the kids home on summer break and a day off of work for many adults, the 4th of July is a perfect time to remember our nation’s history while celebrating with family and friends.
Festivals, carnivals, barbeques, and fireworks are some family favorites, however if you feel like stepping away from the typical activities and planning something unique on the days leading up to the 4th of July, these fun patriotic activities are ones your kids will surely go crazy over.
For this activity you will need a plain t-shirt, a piece of cardboard, permanent markers, and rubbing alcohol. Put a piece of cardboard inside the white shirt to prevent the colors from bleeding through. Draw circular patterns of dots with the permanent markers about the size of a quarter. Use an eye dropper to drop a bit of rubbing alcohol onto the center of the designs and watch and the colors blend to create the look of fireworks/tie dye. The fireworks will grow as far as the alcohol spreads. Once the shirt is dry set the colors by going over the shirt with a warm iron.
Have some of the neighborhood kids come over to decorate their bikes for a patriotic bike parade. Provide red, white, and blue streamers, balloons, and construction paper to decorate the bikes. On the fourth of July, have everyone ride their bikes around the neighborhood for a fun, kid friendly, parade.
For this fun activity, fill Popsicle molds with vinegar and food coloring and leave them in the freezer overnight to harden. In a bowl, mix baking soda and water until it forms a thick almost glue like consistency. Paint white paper with the baking soda mixture so that entire paper is covered. Set the paper out to dry. When the Popsicle molds are hard and the paper is dry, use the vinegar popsicles like a paint brush and decorate the paper. Your kids will love as the popsicles react with the paper to make fizzy firework art.
Find a launch site that is away from anyone observing the rockets. Fill an empty film canister with water about half way full. Drop an Alka-Seltzer into the container and snap the lid completely into the canister. Put the lid of the canister down to the ground and run back away from the rocket before it blasts off! These will fly pretty high!
For this activity you will need 2 cups of water, 4 cups of sugar, thick cotton thread, a pencil, and 2 drops of red and blue food coloring. Start preparing your jars by cutting the cotton thread so that it is a few inches longer than the jar and tape the thread to a pencil. Place the pencil on the top of the jar so that the string hangs down into the jar about an inch from the bottom. Wet the thread with water, dip in sugar, and set aside to dry. Pour the 2 cups of water into a pan and bring it to a boil.
Add sugar one cup at a time until it is all dissolved. Add red or blue food coloring to the boiling sugar water. You can also add 1 tsp of flavoring extract if you would like flavored rock candy. Let the sugar water cool for about 10 minutes, pour enough of the sugar water into the jars so they are almost full, and then place the dried sugared thread into the jars. Store the jars in a cool place with a paper towel on top until the crystals grow to whatever size you want (this will probably take at least 4 hours).
No matter how you spend your 4th of the July, having time together is what really matters. We only get 18 summers with our kids, so make the most of them by creating special memories that will last a lifetime!