Celebrating the Fourth of July with kids in Chicago is hands down one of the best experiences of the year. Sparklers, firecrackers, fireworks, picnics and barbecues, carnivals, fairs or parties, blankets on the grassy lawn to watch the celebrations…the fun is endless!
Here are some ideas for your Fourth of July this year:
1. Have a family picnic
Load up the whole family (don’t forget Fido!) and head to your neighborhood park with some blankets, picnic items, cool drinks, festive decorations, charcoal, and plenty of delicious foods to throw on the barbecue. Bring a slip n slide or small kiddie pool to help keep cool and have some fun. Play games like ball, frisbee, tag, corn hole, etc., and have a fun time frolicking outside together on a beautiful summer day.
2. Venture to a lake
Bring the kids, grab some lifejackets, and get a rental water vessel for a day celebrating on the water. Rent a rowboat and row everyone around, maybe do some fishing off the side. Or grab some tandem kayaks and paddle the kids around, or maybe you can find some pedal boats and you can laugh about how it’s just like riding a bicycle, only on the water. Alternatively, you could rent a stand-up paddle board if you’re feeling adventurous and fit. Depending where you go, you could even look into motorized options – whether a small motorboat, a larger pontoon boat, or even jet skis. There are lots of ways to have fun on the water! Or, if being on the water isn’t so much your thing and you prefer to be in the water instead, what kid will say no to splashing around on the shore or jumping in from a safe dock or floating platform when the air and sun is hot and the weather is cool!
3. Go to a parade
Many communities have wonderful festive Fourth of July parades that are a lot of fun for kids (and adults!) of all ages to gather on the street curbs to watch – or even better, volunteer to participate in! Make sure to get there early to get a good spot or seat on the curb, and bring plenty of water and sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat since you’ll probably be out in the sun for at least an hour!
4. Watch the fireworks
Of course everyone’s biggest association with the Fourth of July is the awesome firework show at the end of the night! If you have very little ones, or if it’s your child’s first time seeing fireworks help them be excited by knowing what to expect – maybe have an art session that afternoon drawing or fingerprinting some fireworks of your own at home. Be sure to warn them the fireworks can be very loud and may make noisy, even scary noises, but that they’re safe with you and it’s just noise that’s necessary to make the pretty colors and designs they see with the fireworks. Fireworks are a lot of fun, but can be a scary experience for the first time, and knowing what to expect beforehand can help!
Happy Fourth of July!