FAMILY, FEATURE STORY

10 Ways to Celebrate the 4th of July at Home

Celebrating the 4th of July at home? Today, I’m sharing ten 4th of July activities your family and friends will enjoy!


One of my favorite 4th of July holiday memories is from when we lived in Tennessee in 2014. Travis was in the Army at the time and we just had three children instead of five. Money was a little tight, but we had saved up enough money over the summer to have a big family celebration.

To celebrate Independence Day, we had a family cookout and invited a few friends over. Then we went to the military base to go to the carnival. (Every year, the military base hosted a big carnival open to the public.) We ended up taking the kids to the carnival three days in a row!

Cotton candy, funnel cakes, and ice-cold lemonade in a jumbo carnival souvenir cup were our favorite carnival treats. Travis and I loved seeing the joy on the kids’ faces as they skipped from one ride to the next. The girls had a blast. Michala went on the rides over and over, but Elijah ended up getting sick after riding one of the roller coasters. (Ever since then, he’s vowed to never ride a roller coaster again. Poor guy.)

On the 4th of July, we went back to the base later that night to watch the fireworks show. We packed food from our cookout and had a late-night picnic while watching the fireworks. It felt good to be together as a family and celebrate the summer holiday.

4th of July Activities
Michala and little Zhen at the 4th of July carnival in Ft. Campbell, Kentucky.
10 4th of July Activities to Celebrate at Home
Elijah at the Ft. Campbell Independence Day Carnival.
10 Things to Do on 4th of July
Big smiles at the Ft. Campbell carnival (Michala, 2014)!

Now, six years later, our family has expanded and the memories we’re creating together just get better and better. After moving to Michigan, we started a new family tradition for Independence Day. We discovered in Detroit and the metro area there are many carnivals and summer festivals held throughout the summer. It seems like there’s one almost every week!

Every 4th of July holiday we like to attend city festivals in Detroit, hangout at carnivals, and have a family cookout at our home. This holiday, however, we’ll be a little different. With the unfortunate health crisis, we are celebrating the 4th of July at home. But despite the pandemic, we plan to make Independence Day 2020 just as special as the years before.

Ten 4th of July Activities for Celebrating at Home
A DIY 4th of July family photo shoot is a great way to celebrate the holiday.

Here are a few ways we plan on celebrating the 4th of July:

  • make DIY patriotic-themed art and crafts
  • get 4th of July shirts from Old Navy (We do this almost every year.)
  • have a family cookout at our home
  • play outdoor games at a local park
  • take family photos with our patriotic-themed outfits

What are your plans for the 4th of July? Do you have any traditions or 4th of July activities you like to do with your family and friends? If you’re looking for things to do on the 4th of July, then you may like a few of these patriotic-themed activities to do with your family.

Ten Fun 4th of July Activities | Celebrating 4th of July at Home
I bought Travis and the kids Old Navy 4th of July shirts to get in the holiday spirit.

TEN 4TH OF JULY ACTIVITIES TO CELEBRATE AT HOME

MAKE DIY PATRIOTIC WREATHS

Making a festive wreath to hang on your home’s front door or inside of your home is easy to do. It can be a lot of fun as you come up with your own creative design, too.

I made two patriotic wreaths by using craft supplies from the Dollar Tree. Here’s the tutorial on how to make the wreaths.

CREATE FESTIVE DRINKS

Creating festive drinks is another fun way you can celebrate Independence Day. For the grownups, cool off with a Firecracker Margarita or Red, White, and Blue Wine Sparklers. The kids will love this Patriotic Punch with Twizzlers recipe or this Sparkling Berry Punch recipe.

If you’re looking for a non-alcoholic beverage, then try this homemade Strawberry-Blueberry Soda recipe, or here’s a video tutorial for a Red, White, and Blue Patriotic Punch recipe.

More festive 4th of July drinks here!

Ten Fun 4th of July Activities | Celebrating 4th of July at Home
Click the image to get the DIY Patriotic Wreaths Tutorial!
DIY Patriotic Wreath
I made this DIY 4th of July wreath using craft supplies from the Dollar Tree!

PLAN A FAMILY COOKOUT

Grilling out with the fam for the 4th of July is a must! I love cookouts because all of the food we make lasts for the entire weekend, which means less cooking for me. Haha!

When we have a cookout, we like to make grilled chicken, hamburgers, turkey burgers, beef hot dogs, steak, kaleidoscope mix carrots (they’re delicious when grilled!), asparagus, corn on the cob, deviled eggs, and homemade macaroni and cheese.

Looking for a few menu ideas on what to cook for your 4th of July cookout? I found a list of 25 Mediterranean Recipes to try for a cookout and Country Living’s menu of over fifty 4th of July recipes is also helpful.

LIGHT PAINTING WITH SPARKLERS

Light painting in photography is a technique where the photographer uses long-exposure to capture moving light. Sometimes you can make objects or words from the moving light. 

This is a fun nighttime activity your kids will enjoy doing. All you need is a camera, tripod, flashlight, and sparklers. We did this for the 4th of July a few years ago and the kids had a lot of fun seeing how their creation looked on camera. Here’s the tutorial explaining how we created light painting with sparklers.

Ten Fun 4th of July Activities | Celebrating 4th of July at Home
Light painting with sparklers is a fun 4th of July activity to do at night with your family.

MAKE 4TH OF JULY CRAFTS WITH THE KIDS

My kids LOVE making crafts so we’ve been busy this week creating fun holiday art. Here’s an easy patriotic paper plate wreath the kids made.

You can also find a lot of 4th of July craft activities on Pinterest like this Tin Can Fireworks Centerpiece or a Red, White, and Blue Fluffy Slime

MAKE YUMMY PATRIOTIC DESSERTS

My favorite 4th of July dessert is strawberry cheesecake. You can make a patriotic-themed cheesecake like this No-Bake Cheesecake Flag for your family celebration.

A few other patriotic dessert ideas: Red, White, and Blue Chocolate Chip Cookies, Fireworks Blondies, and Patriotic Cupcake in a Jar.

4th of July Crafts for Kids
Zhen holding her 4th of July wreath she made.
Ten Fun 4th of July Activities | Celebrating 4th of July at Home

KIDS’ DIY 4TH OF JULY SHIRTS

Another fun Independence Day craft idea your kids will enjoy is creating their own 4th of July shirt. For this activity, I bought the kids some fabric paint and white t-shirts at Walmart. You can find the supplies in the art and crafts section, including the white t-shirts.  

Look at Zhen’s first 4th of July t-shirt she made in 2014. Her cute little hand prints bring back fond memories of when she was a toddler.

Ten 4th of July Activities
Zhen’s first 4th of July t-shirt (2014). Sweet memories.

PLAY OUTDOOR GAMES

Get outside and play a few fun outdoor games with the family! Here are a few simple games you may enjoy.

Volleyball

Badminton

Patriotic Scavenger Hunt

Bean Bag Toss

Slip and Slide

Four-in-a-row Giant Board Game

Kickball

Sack Races

Glow in the Dark Ring Toss

Ten Fun 4th of July Activities | Celebrating 4th of July at Home
I helped Zhen with writing the greeting using a marker and she went over the letter with fabric paint.
4th of July Crafts for Kids
As she worked on her 4th of July t-shirt, Zhen asked me why does the American flag have 50 stars and 13 stripes. It ended up being a teachable moment as I explained to her the symbolism behind the design of our flag!
4th of July Shirts for Kids

CREATE A PATRIOTIC FLOWER DISPLAY

This year, I felt crafty and I wanted to create my own patriotic-themed flower arrangements for our front porch. I bought terracotta pots and acrylic paint to design my flower pots. I purchased red, white, and blue flowers from a local greenhouse.

You can also buy 4th of July outdoor flower arrangements for your garden or for a festive porch display if you’re short on time. Retailers like Kroger and Walmart sell 4th of July flowers or you can get them at your local garden store. I think they turned out pretty good. What do you think? 

DIY 4th of July Flower Pot
It took me a couple of days to finish painting my flower pots. I like how they turned out!
DIY 4th of July Flower Pot
I used acrylic paint and a top coat spray on the pots.
DIY 4th of July Flower Pots

4th OF JULY DIY FAMILY PHOTO SHOOT

Don’t forget to capture photos of your family celebrating! You can make your own family photoshoot at home by using 4th of July decor and props.

For our holiday photoshoot, we wore patriotic-themed clothing and used 4th of July decorations. We took our pictures in a field near our home. You can take your family pictures in your backyard or at a local park.  

Here’s what you’ll need for your DIY family photo shoot:

  • 4th of July shirts or Patriotic-themed clothing (red, white, and blue should be your color theme)
  • 4th of July home decor for props (you can find inexpensive Independence Day decor at the Dollar Tree or Target)
  • a DSLR camera or your cell phone (I used my DSLR Nikon camera.)
  • any location of your choice (your backyard, a park, a local farm, or in the city for an urban look)
Ten Fun 4th of July Activities | Celebrating 4th of July at Home
Creating your own festive photo shoot is super easy. All you need are patriotic-themed outfits, 4th of July decor (you can get at the dollar store), and your camera!
Fourth of July Family Photography
Happy 4th of July!

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All photographs are courtesy of Jennifer Hamra for Good Life Detroit.

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