Don’t you just love the Fourth of July? Dazzling fireworks, delicious barbeques, thrilling parades – it just brings out the little kid in all of us. For your little kid, though, all these festivities can seem quite overwhelming. However, there is no need to spend the day indoors- with a little advance preparation and some age appropriate activities you can make it a day to remember.
Prepare for the holiday with some special fourth of July crafts and activities.
- Finger Paints: Spread newspapers on the table and give them red, white and blue finger paints. Let them have fun decorating a poster board which you can hang up on the door.
- The Flag: To prepare, pre-cut stripes and stars and draw an outline on a poster board where your toddler should glue it. Have them make their own flag by pasting all the pieces in the correct spot.
- Break out the sidewalk chalk! Have your children decorate the sidewalks in bright hues of red, white and blue.
- Prepare some delicious red and blue ices! Try this easy recipe
1bag frozen strawberries or blueberries
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup sugar
Thaw fruit slightly. Mix all in the blender. Pour in strawberry layer then blueberry layer. There is no need to freeze between layers. You can freeze in cupcake holders, individual mini silicone pans or in cups with a popsicle stick.
- Countdown: Teach your child how to count to four by counting down to the holiday. Make a big calendar with four boxes, starting July 1st, and color in a box every day.
- Teach them: Independence Day is a complicated holiday for toddlers to understand. To simplify it, explain to your toddler that you are celebrating the birthday of our country. Prepare a birthday breakfast with pancakes topped with a candle or make festive cupcakes with candles to share with friends.
Most kids will be mesmerized by the sights. If your child gets overwhelmed in crowds explain to them before you go what they should expect. If there is no parade in your neighborhood, why not organize a fun kids parade right on your block? Pick a time (preferably after nap time) and have all the kids bring their trikes or bikes. Little tots can placed in their strollers. Distribute mini-flags, red, white & blue balloons or tie streamers to their bikes. Blow a horn, blast the music and let everyone march to the beat!
Fireworks can be scary for little toddlers. Talk about it with them in advance. Show them pictures, as well as videos, of fireworks before you go. Tell them it will be as loud as thunder but is really cool.
Find a spot that is not too close to the action, but where you can see well. The further away you sit, the less loud it will be. Prepare to hold them close when the fireworks start. Consider bringing along earplugs. If your child is really sensitive you may want to find a place where he can watch the action from indoors.
Be sure to dress your child up in patriotic colors and get plenty of pictures! Holidays make the most special childhood memories. Happy Holiday!
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I absolutely love parenting. My children are the joy of my life and I love spending all day with them. That being said- there are some places that children do not belong. Weddings. Funerals. Airplane Flights. The Grocery. Actually, pretty much anywhere in public. The problem that I have is that children can not be neatly folded and put away every time you have to go on errands. So I adjust, adapt and pray.
Recently, I had the misfortune of having to renew my license. Yes, I know I should have gone in the beginning of the month, when the DMV is always emptier. I got the notice of renewal and promptly forgot about it until five days before my license expires. As any suburban mom knows, we live in our minivans, and not being able to drive just won’t work.
As soon as I walked into the Department of Motor Vehicles, I knew I was in for trouble. There was a huge ‘no cell phone sign’ and the place was eerily quiet. I have gotten so used to the background noise of everyone talking to themselves that I found it spooky to see adults just sitting on chairs and staring into the distance. As soon as I made myself comfortable on the chairs, with my toddler on my lap, I began to get the dirty looks. You know the looks. The “I can’t believe you are ruining my peace and quiet with that kid” look. If you are a seasoned mom you’ve probably gotten your fair share of them on airplanes, buses and at upscale boutique shops.
My toddler was quiet for the first five minutes. That was a feat in and of itself. Then the whining began, followed by the running in circles, followed by the window banging. I felt so stuck! If I leave to take her outside for a bit, I might miss my turn. If I stay, the looks I was getting from the audience would kill me. I pulled a book out of my bag to read to her, but my seatmate gave me a glance that said “don’t you dare read that and make even more noise!” Thoroughly cowed I put it away. I got a “Honey, don’t let your kid pull on the window shade” and a “Dear, don’t let her stand on a chair.” After a half an hour of pure torture it was finally my turn.
A word to the wise. Never take a picture of yourself after trying to keep your tot quiet for a half an hour. The photo on my license is a picture of a harried, overstressed mom. Kind of like I’m going to look when the cop pulls me over.
Walking out of the DMV I heaved a huge sigh of relief. At least when I go to renew my license next time this kid will be 6 years old!
Bottom line – if you need to go somewhere in public you may want to leave your little toddler at home. If you can’t find someone to step in and cover for you be sure to bring some strong tranquilizers. You’re going to need them!
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