Written by Kimberly Davis Guerra
Lazy, hot summer days fill my childhood memories. Being a product of the 70’s, I recall eagerly waiting until that final school bell to ring to release us for the summer break. We didn’t normally get out until later in June, so it seemed like the 4th of July was our big deal that made the summer feel official!
Backyard or beach barbecues, popsicles melting down your arms, music and fireworks blasting and lots of friends and family gathered to celebrate fill my thoughts these days. With everything being what it is, how do we recreate this feeling for our families while staying safe?
Here are some thoughts to get you started:
Most of us have spent time with family or close friends during the pandemic. As long as everyone is still healthy, invite them over for a backyard bash. Plan the whole 9 yards. Instacart or Shipt everything you need for a great afternoon/evening of celebrating. (Suggested menu in side bar)
Get the kids involved through music
If your kids are anything like mine, they love music. Have them help create the playlist for the party. Suggestions could be:
- Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA
- George Michael’s Freedom
- Lee Greenwood God Bless America
- 4th of July Shooter Jennings
- John Mellencamp Rock in the USA
- This Land is Your Land Woody Guthrie
- Yankee Doodle
- Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy
- God Bless America
- You’re a grand ole flag
- America the Beautiful
You get the picture – possibilities are endless!
Create outdoor décor and games
- Think flags made out of popsicle sticks. Have the younger kids color and glue popsicle sticks together to make flags to place around the backyard.
- Pick up bags of red, white &/or blue balloons to fill with water for a good water balloon fight.
- Take a couple of pieces of wood, cut a hole in the center, paint it with a big star around the center hole and make yourself a corn hole game. https://awonderfulthought.com/diy-cornhole-boards/
- Pick up red white &/or blue glow sticks, crack them and throw them in the pool. Kids will love diving and retrieving!
Fireworks are super fun, but not recommended for most backyards. Fortunately, there are many alternatives available. Throw firework celebrations on the TV, crank up the tunes and pop some of the sparkle poppers or confetti cannons (order online from WalMart or Amazon)
- Order a 12 pack of confetti poppers for $15.00. www.walmart.com/ip/PARTY-CONFETTI-POPPER-SPRING-LOADED-4-INCH-12-PACK/940496428
- If you have confetti eggs left over from Easter, those will work, too! Don’t have any, here’s a great DIY: https://www.happinessishomemade.net/4th-of-july-confetti-eggs-cascarones/
- Need the ‘pop’ of fireworks, how about blowing up a bunch of red, white and blue balloons. You can pick up a helium tank, add some confetti inside to each balloon before you blow it up and the once they are inflated, hang them around the porch &/or backyard low enough for the kids to run around and ‘pop’ all at the same time! It will be fun, loud and they will get some exercise!
Want to look the part? Tie-dye is really popular look right now. Grab some plain white t-shirts, rubber bands, buckets, gloves and dyes to start. There are many kits to choose from, or you can do it yourself. Either way you go, it’s a process, so if you want your party guests to wear the shirts that day, you are going to need to start early. Plan on at least an hour for the creative process, then it needs to cure for about 4 hours. You are probably going to need to wash them, too, so another hour to wash & dry.
Here’s a great How-to guide: www.wikihow.com/Tie-Dye-a-Shirt
Or, if this sounds like too much work, just color coordinate everyone. Think dads in Red, moms in white and all the kids in blue. It will make for some awesome photos with everyone color coordinated!
If you aren’t feeling comfortable having a big bash, just scale this back to just your family and have a virtual celebration!! Schedule time to catch up with friends and family through Zoom, Skype or FaceTime! It won’t be the same, but it is the next best thing!
No matter how you decide to spend your 4th of July, with a little brain power and ingenuity, you’re sure to make it one to remember.
Backyard Bash Menu
Go Traditional with Hot dogs and Hamburgers!
Have a buffet of toppings and buns for guest to choose from
Grilled Corn on the Cob
Grill these in the husks for that true bbq taste
Mac & Cheese with or w/out ham
Tomato Salad with bacon vinaigrette
Spicy Peach & Avocado Salad
Blue Bell Vanilla Ice Cream
Top it with red, white & blue sprinkles
Red, White & Blue Rice Krispie Treats
Old Fashioned Ice Tea and Homemade Lemonade
Add in some fresh strawberries and blueberries for a festive flare and a refreshing taste!