In their book, "Traditions: Creating Memories to Draw Your Family Close," Kimberly Bytheway and Diane H. Loveridge share many fun ideas to celebrate our nation's birthday.
8 of our family favorites are included below.
Their purpose is to "instill in family members a love and loyalty and respect for our country and its leaders. This respect has filtered into other aspects of our lives and helped us maintain a healthy and supportive view of our nation."
When You Wish Upon a Star
Because the star is such an important symbol on our flag, representing the individual states that make up our country, the Fourth of July is a good time to lie down on blankets outside as a family and look up at the stars in the sky. Have each person express a wish for the country and for the family as they "wish upon a star."
America's Birthday Cards
Make and decorate birthday cards to America. Display the cards all month long where family and friends can see them, and reminisce about the importance of our country's founding.
Learn and recite poetry specific to the patriotic holiday. Have the family learn "Paul Revere's Ride" or the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States. Invite extended family members over and make the recitation part of the evening's celebration.
Go camping or hiking to enjoy the beauties of the country. Visit a national park or monument where possible. Teach the children the importance of recognizing the blessing of living in such a beautiful country. Point out the things that may be unique to our country, or even to your geographic region. Talk about the different climate across the country, and about the "melting pot" phenomenon of America, with so many different races of people living here.
Birthday Party and Gifts
Have a birthday party for America. Serve birthday cake and ice cream and sing "Happy Birthday." As a family, write down specific "gifts" you might give to America that will make you better citizens or will make the country a better place for all those around you. Include ideas for beautifying the neighborhood or treating others with respect.
Afternoon and Evening at the Park
Go as a family to enjoy a community fireworks show. Take a picnic dinner and enjoy the day playing games, throwing a Frisbee, napping on a blanket, reading, and enjoying snacks during the daylight hours before night falls and the fireworks begin.
Along with the regular barbeque items, serve side dishes that are red, white, and blue, including strawberries, raspberries, watermelon, blueberries, red or blue punch, ambrosia salad with whipped cream, macaroni salad with mayonnaise, and red gelatin salad decorated with whipped cream and blueberries to resemble the American Flag. Serve patriotic ice cream for dessert.
Clothes For the Country
Have every family member dress in red, white, and blue, to show their patriotism. Buy special socks, ribbons, and hats to add to the occasion.
Source: "Traditions: Creating Memories to Draw Your Family Close"
by Kimberly Bytheway and Diane H. Loveridge