Celebrating Independence and Freedom
Learning to make choices is an important part of becoming independent. Giving a child choices from an early age—such as selecting between two shirts or two kinds of juice—lets him practice decision-making and offers a sense of control. The hope is that as kids grow, making smart choices will become second nature.
As an activity, chart a list of choices and let your kids pick their favorites. Allowing children to select healthy snacks, places to visit, movies to see, and family chores will help them feel more responsible and bolster their self-confidence. Talk about how freedom can mean making choices.
Light Up the Sky
Fireworks don't have to last only a few, fleeting seconds. You can make your own in this painting project and use them as decorations.
Prepare several paper cups of paint. For each color, mix two parts tempera (poster) paint, one part white school glue, and a few drops of water. Put a spoonful of each color onto a sheet of paper (black paper will make paintings looks like nighttime fireworks). Then take a drinking straw and let the kids blow directly over the paint. (For little ones, first practice blowing out instead of sucking in.) Add some glitter while the paint is still wet for a "sparkler" look.
Perfect Patriotic Picnics
What's a summer picnic without games? Arrange some old-fashioned competitions such as three-legged races, pop-the-balloon, and the infamous egg (or water balloon) toss in which team members get further and further away from each other until the egg cracks (yuck!) or better yet, the water balloon pops. Here are some other games to try:
The Great Shoe-Hunt Race: Have everyone take off their shoes and place them in a pile. Blow a whistle to signal the start of the race. The players need to run to the pile, find their shoes, put them on and tie them (or secure with Velcro, for little ones), and then race back to the starting point. If you have a large group, there will be plenty of shoes to sort through. If your gathering is small, bring along a few extra pairs to make this game fun.