Along with parades, picnics and fireworks, Fourth of July fun for kids can include some holiday-themed crafts.
"The Fourth is such a great crafting holiday for kids," says Mary Giles, deputy editor of FamilyFun magazine. "They can decorate their bikes or make silly hats and noisemakers for the local parade, then help create decorations and games for a backyard barbecue with friends."
Some simple, kid-friendly crafts for Independence Day:
FOURTH OF JULY POM-POM (From Martha Stewart Living magazine's July/August issue)
These giant, glittery pom-poms are like safe sparklers. "Metallics are so hot right now that adding either silver or gold to your palette is striking," says Hannah Milman, the magazine's executive editorial director of crafts. "We love creating fringed tassels, pom-poms and garlands."
Various shades of red, white and blue 30-by-20-inch tissue paper sheets
Scissors or fringe cutters
¼-inch wooden dowel
1. Fold a sheet of tissue paper into thirds vertically. Cut one edge to get three stacked strips, then fringe them using scissors or fringe cutter. Repeat with two more sheets of tissue paper.
2. Cut a strip of Mylar paper to match tissue-paper segments; fringe.
3. Layer fringed segments together. Roll up on end of dowel, applying tape repeatedly along unfringed edge of tissue paper as you roll.
4. Cut a cone of card stock. Wrap around base of pom-pom; tape to secure.
HATS OFF TO AMERICA (from FamilyFun's June/July issue)
18-ounce disposable cups
Assorted craft supplies, such as pom-poms, pipe cleaners and ribbon
Glue, such as glue dots or tacky glue
1. Get "FamilyFun's" template for hat brims (at familyfunmag.com/printables) or draw your own on card stock. Cut out. Attach plastic cup to hat brim using tape.
2. Decorate plastic cup with pipe cleaners, pom-poms and/or ribbon.
3. To keep hats on heads, cut 18-inch lengths of elastic beading cord and knot the ends. Use duct tape to secure the ends, just below the knots, to the inside of the cups.
WATERMELON CRAFTS (from Woman's Day magazine's July/August issue)
Kids can help carve edible centerpieces.
One small watermelon
Large, star-shaped cookie cutter
1. Press the cookie cutter into the watermelon, then cut along the lines with a paring knife and remove the shape.
2. Scoop the watermelon out with the spoon and fill with assorted berries.
3. For added fun, cut assorted melon into a variety of shapes using cookie cutters and melon ballers. Mix with summer berries.
STRAW-SPANGLED WREATH (from FamilyFun)
Template downloaded from magazine website
Paper straws, striped red/white and blue/white
1. Download the round template (from familyfunmag.com/printables) printed on card stock — or handprint your own "Happy Fourth of July" message. Cut out the circle and trace it twice on corrugated cardboard. Cut out both circles.
2. Make several rings of tacky glue on one cardboard circle and attach striped paper straws, alternating red/white and blue/white straws, leaving 2 inches of space in the center.
3. Thread a 1-inch straw piece onto a long length of fishing line or string, and knot the ends. Attach the straw piece with tacky glue to the center of the cardboard circle. Add rings of glue over the straws and gently press on the other cardboard circle.
4. Let the glue dry. With a glue stick, attach the card stock center.
5. Trim the straws to different lengths. Hang with the fishing line.