By Beth Pinyerd
I’ve always loved living in Lee County. Our community always comes together and celebrates the holidays BIG. With gas prices being pretty high this summer, a lot of our summertime family fun can take place right here in our community. Monday rolls into the annual July 4th summer vacation celebration. Don’t you just love the holidays during the year? Any holiday, no matter the culture, family or tradition, offers many learning experiences for young children. July 4th offers so many fun learning activities. I’ve listed just a few proven fun activities for young children and their families.
We celebrate our country’s birthday right in our communities and backyards. It’s so important to celebrate the fact that a diverse group of people came together to create the United States of America. It’s so important that we declared our independence on July 4th. As we celebrate this day, the colors of our flag—red, white, and blue—seem to be our focus. Red stands for bravery, blue for perseverance and white for purity. These are three powerful principles our country is built on, and children find these truths easy to take to heart.
Here are a few ideas that I would like to share with you that I hope will help make your 4th of July celebration one to remember. These are simple:
1. Make red and blue Kool-Aid with your child. Freeze the different colored drinks in ice trays or pans. Your little one will love putting red and blue ice cubes to their lips on a hot day.
2. Another easy food that young kids enjoy are red and blue jello jigglers, which can be cut into simple shapes. Little kids love the bouncy texture of this kid-favorite treat.
3. Fun together can be celebrated by baking simple sugar cookies, brushed with white icing and sprinkled with blue and red sprinkles. Small children like to do this.
4. Plus, having your little one help you make 4th of July cupcakes with seasonal strawberries and blueberries is not only a delicious dessert but also a healthy one. A variation of this is to sprinkle blueberries and strawberries over vanilla ice cream.
5. Build excitement in your young children by involving them in the preparations for a 4th of July picnic. Colored styrofoam cups with red and blue stripes. The same you can decorate with napkins. White paper plates make an easy wreath for toddlers as they color red and blue and scribble. It can be hung on the door to show your family is truly patriotic, straight from the hands of a young child. Share with them the different foods you will be grilling, preparing, or buying. With young children, ensure that the food is cut into edible portions.
6. Many cities and towns have homeland parades beginning on July 4th. You and your kids too can have a family parade on July 4th by decorating bikes, tricycles, floats or just marching around the house and yard in red and white and blue streamers. It doesn’t matter what you do; What matters is the time you celebrate with your child.
7. On July 4th, when you are having fun in the sun, remember to protect your little ones with sunscreen, hats, in the shade, etc. Also, keep your children, yourself and family well hydrated. Don’t forget the bug spray because small bugs can leave huge pustules on their young skin.
8. Playpens are so easy to transport as a crib or just as a play area. Spread out blankets or quilts make it wonderful for toddlers to climb around during family gatherings.
9. There are many fireworks shows in Lee County. Find out about these times in The Observer newspaper. Note that young children are very sensitive to loud noises. You may want to keep your babies and toddlers at a distance where they can enjoy the beautiful display of colors and not be startled by the big booms.
10. Last but not least, be thankful and pray for the people who protect our freedom by serving in the armed forces. Many of your families may even now have a family member who serves in our armed forces.
I hope these 10 simple suggestions create a kid-friendly Happy 4th of July for you and your families. Take advantage of what our community has to offer.