The 4th of July, Independence Day. Barbeques, swim parties, parades, fireworks, flags – this is almost synonymous with summertime. If you’ve got toddlers or small children, they might not be able to partake in all of the holiday festivities – but there are still lots of activities they can do. Here are some fun crafts and treats to try with your kids, and who knows – maybe you’ll start a new tradition of your own! 

4th of July Noisemakers
When you think of the 4th of July, fireworks and parades often come to mind. Fireworks can be scary to young children, but this fun craft lets them make some noise – and especially during a parade, they can shake their noisemakers on the sidelines and be part of the festivities.

What you’ll need:
1 toilet paper roll
2 squares of wax paper
scotch tape (or colorful washi tape, if you’re so inclined)
rice or beans

Tape one square of wax paper on the end of the toilet paper roll.
Fill the roll with 2-3 tablespoons of rice or beans.
Scotch tape the other square of wax paper to the other end of the toilet paper roll.
Cut ribbon to your desired length and attach to one end of the roll, so that the edges hang off.

Older kids can decorate their roll however they like; if you’re helping a young toddler, you can tape washi tape around it in red, white, and blue; if you have star or flag stickers, you can stick those on there – the only limit is your imagination!

Note: packing tape tends to be more secure than Scotch tape, so you might want to think about using that, especially if your toddler can be a little rough with things.

Patriotic Parfaits
Summertime is hot, but a cold treat and fresh fruit can be just the thing to beat the heat. Here’s a healthy treat that kids can help make themselves – or prepare for guests at a barbeque.

What you’ll need:
Vanilla pudding (or frozen yogurt/ice cream, if you want to make it more like a sundae)
Strawberries or cherries (or both!)
Whipped cream/Cool whip (optional)

In a small clear cup, start with a thin layer of vanilla pudding.
Layer two scoops of blueberries, followed by several scoops of vanilla pudding (it’s really up to you; look at the side of the glass to see how much you have; you want enough to create a nice layering effect).
Place two scoops of strawberries/cherries on the pudding, followed by another layer of pudding.
Repeat until almost at the top of the glass, and if desired, top with whipped cream or Cool Whip.
An animal cracker or Nilla wafer is a cute (and tasty) addition to the top of this parfait!

Handprint Flags
Flags are a ubiquitous part of the 4th of July

What you’ll need:
Blue construction paper
Popsicle sticks
Red, white, and blue ribbons
Silver star stickers
Red, white, and blue paint

Paint your child’s palm blue, and the fingers (except for the thumb) red and white, alternating each finger. (For instance, the pinky finger white, ring finger red, middle finger white, pointer finger red).
Place the child’s palm and fingers onto the blue construction paper, press firmly, and then let it dry.
Once dry, cut the paper to fit the handprint.
Help your child stick star stickers to the blue palm part of the picture.
Glue the paper to the top half of a popsicle stick to make a flag.
If desired, you can tie ribbons around the popsicle stick under the flag.
(Idea found on Be Brave, Keep Going)