Celebrating the Fourth of July 2018: Ideas to Make the Most of the Holiday and Time With Your Family

susiealmaneih 4th of july

 

It generally feels as if summer is marked by the big three:

The unofficial beginning of the season is Memorial Day.

The unofficial end of the season is Labor Day.

And somewhere in the middle, we happen upon the joys of Independence Day.

While not technically the mid-point of summer, it can feel that way –offering the time to pause and to think about how fast summer is going so far, and what else you want to accomplish in the coming two months or so.

It’s also nice to enjoy that day out of the office, and whether you extend the time off by using a little PTO, or just welcome a day to sleep in, it’s a nice idea to really use the Fourth of July as a way to celebrate and make memories with your family. And that doesn’t necessarily even involve a lot of traveling or complicated planning. It’s just important to remember that the day has great significance in our country and in each of our lives, so it’s crucial to think about it beyond just having a day off in the middle of summer. Here are some ideas for you:

 

History over breakfast

Mornings are so often a rush that breakfast rarely gets recognition as a valued family meal. This Fourth of July, however, consider kicking your day off right (even if a bit of a later start than usual!). Make pancakes with blueberries and strawberries for some colorful fun, and read about the origins of July 4th with your family. You can even watch a video online (here’s a great resource for some educational short-form ones: https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/july-4th/videos).

 

What freedom means to me

A great follow-up to learning more about the origin of the holiday is each family member sharing what freedom means to them. Mom or Dad may start out as kids get the hang out of it, but it’s important for children to tie it all together, understanding the significance of Independence Day in their own daily lives.

 

Community parade

Most areas have local festive parades celebrating America’s birthday. Involve your family –wear your red, white, and blue, apply some sunscreen, and go out to celebrate.

 

Take me out to the ballgame

Many major league teams play day games on July 4th, so take advantage and enjoy some pre-All Star break action at the nearby ballpark. If you live a bit away from the closest team, even consider a day or overnight trip for the event.

 

Sing-along

The kiddos may already know their fair share of patriotic songs from school or activities, so maybe sing a favorite, or learn a new one. A nice list with lyrics can be found here for your reference: http://www.usa-flag-site.org/song-lyrics/

 

Host a barbeque

Whether it’s for immediate family, neighbors, or close friends, plan a get-together. Consider making main dishes while guests bring sides or desserts. Plan some games, and make sure your kids help out as they can. Playing host promotes a sense of community and friendship, honoring this holiday and taking advantage of the free time you don’t normally have.

 

Enjoy fireworks (even if only on TV)

If the area for firework displays in your town gets packed, or it all goes too late for your younger kids, consider watching them on TV. Many programs now intersperse them with musical entertainment as well, making it all that much better. But if you can get to an in-person viewing, go for it. Kids love seeing the sky blasts, and it even brings out the inner-kid in adults too.

 

So this July, make it a safe and fun “family fourth,” and consider one or more of these ideas in planning your day out to really make the most of it. Keep in mind the significance of the day and those who have fought for our freedoms, enjoy the time with those around you, and form lasting memories that will stay fresh in your mind for many more summers to come.

Powder Day! Winter Sports Tips for Kids

These cold months with inclement weather make it easy to recede into the house, hibernating until spring. There is a certain amount of inertia that happens during the winter, and it can lead to the blues, lack of concentration and of course, weight gain and lethargy. It’s really important that we double down on our efforts through the first couple months of the year so that we are productive, happy and healthy.

If winter sports are not traditionally your thing, you might want to think beyond skiing and snowboarding, especially if you have small children. There are plenty of fun activities to experiment with and everyone in your family big and small can get involved.

 

  1. Cross country skiing. Instead of braving the downhill, try something flat that acquaints the kids with the dynamics of the snow. It’s cheap to rent the equipment and if you have a baby, you can bundle him or her up and put them in a back carrier to go along for the ride!
  1. Sledding is another way to get familiar with the snow, using a tube, a sled, a disc or even a piece of waxed cardboard! Adults should go with younger kids on the first few runs so they learn the concept of leaning to steer.
  1. Curling is a strange but totally nifty sport originally invented in Scotland, where players slide a disc of stone across the ice and try to target specific areas marked out a bit like a bullseye. There are actually curling clubs all over the country, and kids love it because it’s kind of like bowling on ice.
  1. Hockey. Yes, kids love hockey, when it’s played safely and girls get to participate, its really fun! You can start with a half court and just have fun taking turns being the shooter and the goalie.
  1. Snow shoeing is exciting and it’s also great exercise. Make sure your kids have the right size snowshoes and pick a trail that you know they can manage. Also, don’t forget your camera because there will be some great nature photo ops!
  1. Ice fishing. If you have never fished in the winter, you are missing out! This is a great activity to do with an older relative or an experienced fisherman, but bringing home a catch on a chilly winter day and making a meal is a really special experience.
  1. Downhill Skiing and snowboarding. There is, of course the classic winter experience of downhill sports, just make sure that you utilize a coach for the beginners and exercise plenty of patience and supervision. Being young is a great time to learn because they can get their falls out of the way early.

 

So get out there and try something new! You never know – someone in your family could become the next winner of the Iditarod, or the next long distance cross-country skiing champion. Winter doesn’t have to be a bummer; it can be an opportunity to try new things and bond.