My family loves July fourth! We like cookouts, festivals, wearing red white and blue, and fireworks!! Especially the kids and the husband like fireworks! The big kind, of course, are the best. Last year we celebrated the fourth Downtown Fredericksburg style by going to the street fair, enjoying concessions and finishing up with fireworks and a live band concert at Pratt Park. I highly recommend that experience!! We had a blast- no pun intended:). We will probably do the same thing this year, in fact, because we had such a fun time.
In the spirit of homeschooling, I wanted to share some fun facts and activities to enhance your Independence Day celebration.
Did you know? The actual vote for declaring independence happened prior to the fourth (most scholars believe it was the second of July), but the document (the Declaration of Independence) was published on the fourth, and it was a month later that all the delegates finally signed the document.
Did you know? John Adams thought the second of July would be the most memorable day in history. The publishing date of the Declaration of Independence may have been the reason that July fourth became the more popular date to celebrate. Also, interestingly, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both passed away on July fourth in 1826, just hours apart. Congress declared July 4th a federal holiday on June 28, 1870. Also, on July 4th, 1946, the Philippines gained full independence from the United States of America.
One more- Did you know? The colors red, white, and blue of our flag all have meanings? Red stands for valor, white symbolizes purity, and blue represents vigilance, perseverance and justice.
I love history and homeschooling, so we make it part of the every day as much as possible, and because I love reading, we start Independence Day with reading the Declaration of Independence. It's not that long, and it's a great reminder of what we are celebrating. My kids are older, so they also know about tyranny, the Revolutionary War, and the sacrifices that good men and women made for the sake of freedom and liberty (and continue to do so). At our house we pause to reflect on the fact that freedom isn't free, and that we need to remember and respect that. I feel that a little focus on the history of the holiday makes it a little more special.
We all wear our red-white and blue colors, and always make a flag themed dessert. We like to decorate, too. Patriotism is alive and well at our house, and it's great to be able to celebrate! Again, a little history makes the day come alive, and makes the festivities more festive! Google and Pinterest have fantastic ideas for games and crafts. There are great ideas there to help already excited kiddos stay excited and engaged throughout the day.
Are you going to or hosting a picnic? How about setting up game centers for the kids? Some ideas to include at an outdoor party: a squirt gun station (re-enact a Revolutionary War battle scene), a patriotic bean bag toss (colonial children didn’t have electronics), and a Fourth of July scavenger hunt (nature study!). What if it rains? You can do July fourth inspired painting or paper projects. You can always watch a movie or some TV, but why not choose a movie that coincides with the history of the day? We like the School House Rock! America edition-you’ll be learning lots of facts by watching that! Plus, for us older parents it is nostalgic! You can suggest the kids do a patriotic Lego building challenge, or for those Minecraft crazy kids, get them to craft a patriotic world for you. There are lots of things to do inside in case it rains, or it gets too hot, or they just need a break from the sun.
Education and learning can go hand-in-hand with fun. School certainly doesn't have to look like school-especially in the summer. When learning is incorporated into games, music, and activity, concepts are absorbed so much better. I feel like the kids are growing up with Google in their pockets, now, so memorizing dates and facts may not be what school is going to look like in the future. Concepts like liberty, freedom, and sacrifice, though, are concepts that everybody should learn, and value.
July fourth is an awesome time to celebrate those concepts! Parades, picnics and fireworks are so fun, and celebrating freedom is an extraordinary privilege to protect. Learning a bit about history can help solidify these values for the future generation of leaders we are raising today!
Happy Independence Day!!!