Affordable, Family-Friendly Activities for 4th of July

Independence Day falls on Thursday, July 4th this year, marking the start of a long, hot weekend for many families in the U.S. For caregivers of young people, there can be some pressure to make certain holidays fun and memorable; for houseparents, this responsibility can be even greater as they live and work with children who are likely in need of more happy childhood experiences.

If you’re looking to fill summer days with patriotic activities and create positive, lasting memories for the children in your home, here’s a list of fun, budget-friendly activities that you can do with kids of all ages!  

Neighborhood Bike Parade

With lots of kids in the home, larger, public events like festivals and fairs might be out of the question. But with a few dollar store decorations and some bikes, you can turn your own street (or driveway!) into a festive patriotic parade route! This is a two-part activity, as kids can spend their time and creativity decorating their own wheels, then get their energy out riding on their personal parade route!

Backyard BBQ & Stuffed Animal Camping

Fire up the grill with hamburgers and hot dogs, open a few bags of chips and make s’mores around a campfire. Backyard camping can be tricky with large groups, so consider a fun, safe alternative and give the stuffed animals their own “Independence!” Set up a tent and let the kids tuck their stuffed animals in for the night. Read them stories, say prayers, and then let the animals sleep under the stars.

Hiking and Nature Trails at a State Park

Is there a state or national park nearby? Admission is typically inexpensive, and it buys you a full day of outdoor exploration. Many parks also have watering holes and other family-friendly activities that you can also take advantage of!

Patriotic Craft

The internet is full of fun, inexpensive crafts you can do to show your patriotic spirit. This one below just requires a few empty paper towel rolls and some paint! (Credit to Brooke at “Start at Home”)

Craft idea from Start at Home
Bake Together

Make red, white, and blue themed desserts! Blueberries and strawberries are in season, and are the perfect colors to create an American flag on top of a cake with white icing! You can also make tiny, patriotic kabobs using toothpicks, fruit, and mini marshmallows!

Community Fireworks Display

Check local listings for free fireworks shows. Bring blankets, snacks, and enjoy the show!

Take note: Houseparents often work with children who have a significant amount of trauma and difficult life experiences, which could include exposure to gun violence. Depending on the unique circumstances of the youth in your care, some 4th of July activities like fireworks displays should be avoided. For more information about PTSD and fireworks, click here (


These activities can provide a mix of outdoor fun, creative projects, and community involvement to make the long weekend enjoyable for everyone in your home!

Happy 4th of July from!

About the Author is a career resource and job board for people interested in pursuing a career in residential childcare. Our mission is to connect dedicated married couples and individuals with employers hiring houseparents, cottage parents, teaching couples and other live-in caregiving roles. Our goal is to share tools, resources and career opportunities so that you can make an impact in the lives of children who need it most.

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