Great Ideas for a Fun Packed Independence Day with Your Toddler
The fourth of July is upon us. This means that outdoor barbeques, gatherings with friends and family, swimming parties and a ton of other outdoor events are marked on the calendar, kicking off the dog days of summer. When you have a toddler, this day can be packed with fun, excitement, enthusiasm and the first of many memories of this historic holiday. All you have to do is plan some fun, eliminate excess sugars, allow time for rest, and get your children involved in the holiday.
One of the easiest things to do with your toddlers for the fourth of July is to make a cake together. Any traditional rectangular cake can be iced with whipped cream and topped with strawberries and blueberries to emulate a flag. Allow your toddler to help place the cut up pieces of fruit on the cake and design a flag all their own. They will feel like a big kid, helping in the kitchen and will be very proud of their accomplishment. A few days before the big event, allow your children to make some red, white, and blue paper plates – adorned with as many stars and stripes as they can draw. These plates make a great centerpiece for the picnic table and can be designed with paints, crayons, or markers. Toddlers can also help to fold napkins into star like shapes and arrange all the hamburger and hotdog condiments on the table. By making them part of the festivities and giving them an age appropriate job to do, your child will share some independent pride of their own.
Take them to your local parade. Parades and children are definitely a good match. Just be sure to keep your hands tight on them, as maneuvering through crowds can be a bit tricky. Bring a stroller in case they get tired and allow them to indulge (just a bit) in the cotton candy or funnel cakes that are filling the air with a sweet smell. Balloons, pinwheels and hand held noise makers can make them feel like they are part of the parade and will have them dancing on the streets in no time. Help them recognize their favorite characters on the floats as they go by. When you see any military representation, try in the best way you can, to help them understand the importance of our military and in keeping us safe. One brilliant way to explain this to a toddler is to compare our military hero's to what you do for your children as a mother and father. Then try to help them imagine that the military does that for the whole world.
Let's not forget our men in uniform on this day either. There are many men and women scattered all around the world that are not lucky enough to have this sun filled summer day with their own family. Sending a care package with handmade pictures from your children to soldiers abroad can be a great family tradition that will make your child feel as though they are giving something back. Plus, it can make a lonely soldier overseas feel appreciated by the mere ones they are protecting…our children.
As fireworks draw close, make sure that you warn your child how loud they will be. Some kids are startled and frightened by the fireworks display. If you discuss this ahead of time, they will at least have preparation on their side. Let them oohhh and aaahhh on your lap as they gaze to watch the miracles in the sky explode. Take the time to look at their face under the festive and bright lights of the fireworks and feel pride that you are lucky enough to be sharing this time with your family. You are making memories that will last a lifetime!