- Come Up With a Patriotic Playlist
Our national anthem is the most unsingable in the whole world. Unless it’s Madison Rising singing it.
Why would you stop there? Come up with a nice list, from the great American songbook, or it may just be all the songs that usually make you feel like a real American (American Pie, Born in the UA, Sweet Home Alabama). Or you could get a bit creative and put together songs that mention the colors blue, red, or white. Cue up your awesome copy of School House Rock, and drive with all your windows open.
- A Road Trip to the National Mall
If you live close to Washington, DC, make sure you spend July 4th of this year at the National Mall. It’s awesome. It’s dusty. It’s crowded. It’s unforgettable. The ‘rockets red glare’ behind Washington Memorial (as a plane takes off from Reagan Airport as the show goes on) has something that’s ultra-American.
A bonus? Anytime you hear of someone speaking about “quarter a million people” you can remind your kids of the people in at the mall during the fireworks, and tell them that was the number of people there.
- Be on a plane during the fireworks
If you’re going out of town, book a flight that’s going to take off at around 9:30 from DCA. Occupy a sit on the right side and watch the fireworks as well as the huge crowd from above.
Note to self: Check out other cities I can fly out of when there are fireworks. Unless it would be dangerous. Then don’t think of doing it.
- Do a red, blue, and white potluck
Well, I know barbecues and potlucks are cliches for Independence Day. However, I think that it’s not a coincidence that blueberries and strawberries usually come into season right in time for the 4th of July.
Make it interesting, unlike the traditional military potluck, request everyone to bring only red, blue, or white food. You know you’re interested in all these things on Pinterest! I yearn to wrap Twizzlers in a blue starred ribbon. But that’s just ‘cuz I feel a thing for Twizzlers. I hope another person will come with red meat.
- Host a production
Tell your kids that it’s a tradition to make a show for this day, the 4th of July (reference John Adams if they fail to believe you). Inform them that they must sing patriotic songs. Dress up like historical figures. Recite the Preamble to the Constitution. Write down a pay about Rosa Parks, Betsy Ross, or Sacagawea. Buy tons of patriotic toys for fireworks. This activity can keep kids engaged throughout the day, especially if there’s at least one little boy who’s too bossy in the gang.
- Get the Jell-o firecracker shots
In the early years, Jell-o used to be a true friend during summer. Now I see they’ve come up with a better use for Jell-o on the 4th of July. Firecracker shots. Incredibly pretty. And if they’re only, meant for adults, you can go with the spiked cherry recipe. Or you can leave the Jell-o and go with the cherries. See the official recipe here.
- Indoor/Outdoor movie bingeing
Do you know why brick-front colonials were developed? It’s so that there can be a huge vinyl wall for everyone to display movies outside. Show some of the contenders for the Most Watched American Movie of All Time During Independence Day. My dad personally love 1776 (which I believe is for sure a snoozer) and I’m a huge fan of The Music Man (which he finds to be a mere excuse for me to say the word, “Shipoopi.”)
Or maybe you’d leave the musicals and enjoy a movie about war? A courtroom drama? A western? Fictitious presidents?
- Secret Uncle Sam
Secret Santa should be for the birds. However, Secret Uncle Sam is a big surprise. Find a roll of red, blue, and white ribbon that you can use to tie some carnations that are to be hanged on the doorknobs within the neighborhood. Red, blue and white helium balloons are also incredible for this game.