What is Independence Day in America? Ever wondered how to explain 4th of July to a child? Check out our fun and educational Fourth of July activities for kids, starting with some July 4th facts and history!
WHAT IS INDEPENDENCE DAY USA? How To Explain Fourth Of July To Your Kids
Before we get to the activities, let’s learn about Independence Day…
Why do we celebrate Independence Day?
On July 4, 1776, during the American Revolution, the Declaration of Independence was signed and approved by the Continental Congress, proclaiming the legal separation of the original thirteen colonies from Great Britain – making them free and independent states.
How To Explain Independence Day to Preschoolers
The best way to explain Independence Day to preschoolers is to use something visual like an American flag or 4th of July preschool crafts like making an American flag craft. Discuss that the flag is a symbol, something that stand for something else. The stripes on the flag represent the 13 colonies that declared independence and the stars represent our 50 united states.
4th of July Facts and History for Kids
4th of July fun facts and trivia:
- Independence Day is also called July 4th because that’s the date the Declaration of Independence was signed
- The 13 colonies founded by the British were: Virginia, New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Delaware, North Carolina, South Carolina, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Georgia.
- Great Britain is now called United Kingdom
- The Continental Congress was made up of representatives from each colony
- The Declaration of Independence was written by a committee who was led by Thomas Jefferson, who later became the third president of the United States
- John Hancock, the President of the Congress during the Declaration of Independence signing, has the largest and most centered signature
- There’s a saying “Put your John Hancock” that people say when they want you to sign something
- The Declaration of Independence was voted on July 2nd, but was dated July 4th
- The Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, PA, rings 13 times every July 4th to mark the independence of the 13 original colonies
Questions to ask your children about America for July 4th
Getting kids involved and thinking with patriotic activities and questions can help with the concept of 4th of July explained.
4th of July for Kids Prompts:
What are some of the freedoms we have in America?
What would you do if you were President?
What does the government do for us?
What do the stars represent on the American flag?
Can you imagine what it would be like if the July 4th Declaration of Independence had not been signed?
Can you sing the National Anthem?
ALSO CHECK OUT: July 4th Food Ideas for Kids
Independence Day for Children
What Is Independence Day: Beyond the Stars and Stripes
Every time my sons see red, white, and blue together – they call them “America colors.”
Pretty much everything about Fourth of July celebrations are filled with excitement for a young child.
Hot dogs, popsicles, parades, swimming, baseball games, parties with friends and family, fireworks – what more could you ask for when you’re little?!
But as my children get older, and the idea of patriotism becomes muddled in an ever-changing political climate, it is important to me that they know more about why we celebrate Independence Day and what it means to be an American.
Independence Day is a wonderful time to show gratitude for our freedom and to model civic responsibilities to our children.
We can reinforce the ideas that good citizenship includes learning about your country’s history, obeying the law, practicing kindness and tolerance, and being active in your community.
What can you do on 4th of July at home?
Things to do on Independence Day:
- Put an American flag out
- Discuss when was the first Independence Day
- Have your own July 4 picnic
- Do July 4th Independence Day crafts
- Wear red white and blue clothes
- Make patriotic punch
- Fly a patriotic flag kite
- Make red white and blue layered drinks
- Enjoy sparklers (be safe!)
- Review some Declaration of Independence printables
- Read Fourth of July books
- Watch movies and documentaries on Independence Day
- Watch Declaration of Independence song Schoolhouse Rock (great Independence Day video for kids of all ages!)
- Make layered red white blue desserts
- Have a backyard campout
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Lesson Plans, Activities, Recipes for 4th of July
These are great independence day activities for elementary students and middle school, independence day for kindergarten, or even a Fourth of July preschool theme.
Independence Day Lesson Plans and Activities
- Visit the National Archives website and view the Declaration of Independence and other important founding documents.
- Read the Presidential biography of Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence.
- Download this printable pdf on Independence Day from PBS Learning Media.
- Review this lesson plan from Center for Civic Education on Independence Day, which includes important terms, discussion questions, and additional class activities (good for Declaration of Independence lesson plans middle school and elementary).
- Education.com has an assortment of various Fourth of July worksheets and 4th of July printables for kindergarten through middle school aged children.
- View a live feed from the U.S. Capitol on July 4th, read about July 4th history, and more on PBS.org.
- The Library of Congress website has classroom resources which could be adapted for a smaller group setting involving key concepts of the Declaration of Independence.
- Teach children the symbolism and importance of the U.S. Flag with this “Stars and Stripes Forever: Flag Facts for Flag Day” lesson plan.
- Review the Declaration of Independence and other supporting documents, letters, and printings in a comprehensive collection available through the University of Virginia Library.
- If you cannot visit the Nation’s capital on July 4th, do the next best thing and virtually join in on the festivities on the National Archives website page dedicated to the Fourth of July. You can even follow along on the day of by using #ArchivesJuly4 on social media.
- Learn all about the science behind fireworks from Everyday Mysteries: Fun Science Facts from the Library of Congress.
- Cool off with this clever red, white, and blue ice melt science experiment from Little Bins for Little Hands.
- Have a little one who is afraid of the loud noise of fireworks? Why not make some fireworks in a jar?
- Children will love discovering the secret patriotic mystery picture using the coordinates in this graph from Teachers Pay Teachers.
- Inspire your child to ponder America’s history with these patriotic writing prompts.
Fourth of July Inspired Crafts and Projects
- Enjoy this simple, yet adorable firework craft using only Q-Tips!
- Create fun designs and work on those fine motor skills with 4th of July Play Dough Kit.
- Entertain children and with this colorful and patriotic sensory bin.
- Make an Uncle Sam Paper Plate mask.
- Keep little hands occupied with some Star-Spangled Slime.
- Create some patriotic fidget spinner art with this fast and fun project!
- Read Magic Tree House “Revolutionary War on Wednesday” and accompanying non-fiction companion Fact Tracker “American Revolution” by Mary Pope Osbourne
- The Night Before the Fourth of July by Natasha Wing
- The 4th of July Story by Alice Dalgliesh
- The Story of America’s Birthday by Patricia Pingry
- Hello, Fourth of July! By Martha Zschock
- Blue Sky, White Stars by Sarvinder Naberhaus
- Curious George Parade Day by H. A. Rey
- What is America? By Michelle Medlock Adams
4th of July Recipes
With all this learning and crafting, your little one is certain to work up an appetite. Here are a few of our favorites for some truly patriotic recipes!
- Patriotic Popcorn
- Layered Red White and Blue Drink (Patriotic Punch)
- Red White Blue Drink for Kids
- Red, White , and Blue Rice Krispie Bites from Two Sisters Crafting
- Fruit Sparklers from Tastes Better From Scratch
- 4th of July Firecracker Dogs by Handmade in the Heartland
- Spinach Berry Salad from Modern Honey
- Patriotic Deviled Eggs from Plain Chicken
Wherever you find yourself this Independence Day, “from the lakes of Minnesota to the hills of Tennessee,” we wish you and yours a blessed, safe, and very Happy Fourth of July!