Stars and Stripes forever
Reminiscing on my childhood summers, I am struck at the overwhelming sense of what the Fourth of July represents for a child. For many school aged children, it's the mid-marker that summer vacation is almost over. For others it represents the beginning of the summer. For me it has always represented a time to get together with friends and family. Get togethers during the summer should be easy as a summer's breeze. Why do you think so many people BBQ? You should be spending more time staying cool and less time in a hot kitchen. Activities should get conversations started and typically be done outside...because that is where all the fun is! For example, have a water gun refilling station. Like in the picture below.
This is brilliant because you are taking YOU out of the equation. The kids can play until their hearts are content and YOU don't have to take the time to refill countless water guns. Try and make this Fourth of July party as self service as possible!
Another fun idea is to have kids cut out their own star shapes from watermelons. All you have to do is slice a few melons and set out some trays. Give the kids various star shapes to play with and before you know it, you've provided a snack and a craft!
And in the interest of easy, why not continue to use these cookie cutters for an art project? Rinse the trays off with a hose and line with wax paper. Squirt some red, white and blue paint along with drop of clear dish soap (helps for easy paint removal) onto the trays. Give the cookie cutters to the kids and let them dip and stamp. You can give them regular sheets of paper or line the tables with paper to make an instant creative table runner. If you go the table runner route...create it early on so that it dries before people sit down to eat.
For as crafty as I am my friends are always shocked that I do not own or have not experimented with a cricut. To be honest, I'm a little intimidated at the process and don't fully understand it, lol. I do love to make a t-shirt though and so do my kids. There is nothing like a hand drawn or painted shirt to keep kids engaged and entertained. So summon up their inner fashion designer and create these super easy tank tops. All you need is blue and red fabric paint and a disposable paper plate (something you're bound to have on hand at a BBQ). Squirt the blue paint on one plate and have the kids dip their hand (FUN!). Now have them carefully lay their hand down from palm to fingertips. You are going to want to help them with this step. Once their hand is down do a good press to lock in the paint. Have them slowly lift...again from palm to fingertips, and rinse hand with a hose. Next, give them the red paint and have them create 7 red stripes next to their print. Let it dry in the sun and by dinner time they should be able to change out of their swimsuits and into their shirts!
Now that the kids have played and hopefully everyone has eaten why not break out the dessert?! And furthermore, why not let them make it themselves? Have you ever heard of freezer bag ice cream? I hadn't until recently, but my kids are obsessed with making it. All you have to do is put out the ingredients (preferably already measured for ease) and some yummy toppings! This is a project I'm sure some of the adults will want to part take in too!
1 Cup half and half
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 Cup coarse sea salt
Gallon and quart sized freezer bags
1. Fill a large (gallon) Ziploc bag halfway with ice.
2. Add sea salt to the bag.
3. Pour half and half, sugar, and vanilla into the smaller (quart) freezer bag and seal.
4. Place the small Ziploc bag in the larger bag, seal the larger bag, and shake for 5 minutes.
Tip: Try shaking to Miley Cyrus' Party in the USA or Katy Perry's Firework while you do this… it’ll help the time pass.
5. Remove the smaller bag and rinse off the salt.
6. Scoop ice cream out of the bag with a spatula, top with sprinkles, and enjoy!
Have a happy and safe Fourth of July!!!