4th of July (For The Children!)

photo (17) Celebrating each holiday with our children has brought so many fun and amusing memories. Our little town of Monument has one of the biggest 4th of July parades of any in the United States. Many years, our children would decorate their bicycles to ride in the 2 1/2 hour parade. Candy is thrown to the rowdy audience, fire engines play their sirens, mini-autos and clowns drive in circles through the entire parade, and soldiers are remembered.

A fair filled with booths of aromatic scents, fragrances of grilled barbecue beef, sizzling, fried funnel cakes, of pink and purple cotton candy, greasy brats surrounds the parade route so that eating is a near possibility at any moment.  All of us pink-up with  sunburn every year, no matter what precautions we have taken.

Later in the cool of the early evening, we gather with the same friends each year for a huge pot luck picnic and we anticipate all the food and antics for weeks ahead of time. Finally, all of us, 25-35 people, trek down to our local Palmer Lake and watch the fireworks sparkle in the sky while being reflected on the lake's shiny water. Many wonderful memories! This year, we will forego the firework because of the fires, but we will celebrate living in friendship and make fun of the whole evening.

The 4th of July is a wonderful opportunity to bring family together, relax, create new traditions, and have a great time. One common issue with holidays is when our little ones used to have little attention spans. Planning  advance helped me to  make sure that there would be many child-friendly activities even at our adult get togethers.

Craft for Children: 4th of July paper garland

What You Need: red, white, and blue construction paper, scissors, glue, string, ribbon, or twine (color of your choice), hole puncher (optional), star template (optional)

How To: There are a few different ways you can modify this craft to make it age appropriate for your child. If your children are older, you can have them use scissors to cut out the stars, then they can use a hole puncher to place a hole at the top and bottom of each star. They will weave the string through each star, creating a fun, colorful, festive garland that can be used to decorate your party! Children love being a part of things. Crafts make them feel like they are contributing to the event (and it is tons of fun!).

Remember that cutting out perfect stars can be a frustrating task. Consider printing out a template in advance that your children can use as an example. If you have younger children, cut out or print out colorful stars in advance. Allow them to glue the string to the stars, rather than tying and using a hole puncher.

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The New Favorite Treat: 4th of July Marshmallow Kabobs What You Need: 

1 packet red jello,

1 packet blue jello,

lollipop sticks, marshmallows

How To: 1. Place each jello packet into it's own small bowl. (The jello should be JUST the packet. It will just be dry colored sugar.) 2. Dip each individual marshmallow extremely quickly into a bowl of water. 3. Roll each marshmallow into a color. 4. In the order of red, white, and blue, place your marshmallows onto the lollipop sticks. 5. Serve these to all the children at your 4th of July soiree! Nutritious Alternative: If you want a healthier choice at your 4th of July event, use your lollipop sticks and instead of doing the colored jello, do your red, white, and blue by using strawberry slivers, marshmallows, and blueberries.

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May you have a wonderful 4th with your families!  Try these fun, child-friendly ideas to insure that every little one at your event makes memories they will never forget!