The Fourth of July, American Independence Day, is just around the corner. For those of you who celebrate it, I’ve put together a big list of links to crafts, recipes and ideas for making the most of the holiday. For those of you who don’t celebrate it, most of the list could be tweaked to be non-holiday-specific, and there’s a lot in here that’s great for taking advantage of your warm season, whenever it occurs.
Since this is a big holiday for kids, I tried to choose as many kid-friendly craft projects as possible.
- Sidewalk chalk stars – a recipe for making your own red, white and blue sidewalk chalk in the shape of stars.
- Napkin/utensil holder made from toilet paper cardboard tubes – I love crafts that recycle stuff you already have. This is a brilliant little project for a picnic table or backyard, and again, it doesn’t have to be Fourth of July themed
- Red, white and blue paper garlands – this one’s simple enough for kids to make, with a little supervision if they’re young.
- Kitchen Fireworks – this one fascinates me! You pour a pan of whole milk, put drops of food coloring in it, then put drops of dish washing liquid in there, and the colors burst and swirl.
- Windsock Flag – turn a plastic shopping bag into a windsock decorated with tissue paper to look like the U.S. flag.
- Printables – print off pictures for kids to color or patterns that fold into paper hats and such that are perfect for the holiday. Great stuff, especially if you’re short on time.
- Make a baton – take a dowel stick, ribbons, a little paint (red, white and blue, of course) and you’ve got a baton to twirl.
- DLTK’s list of online jigsaw puzzles and printable games – Fourth of July themed games like bingo, crossword puzzles and memory games.
- Pinwheel – this is a great craft for kids. Just beware it uses a pushpin, so younger kids will need some help.
- Wind chimes – uses recycled paper towel or toilet paper tubes plus some inexpensive stuff. Kids can probably do this one by themselves.
Holiday recipes are usually either classic foods associated with the holiday or ordinary food items dressed up with a holiday-themed color scheme or shape. Since the Fourth of July is a great time for barbecues, I collected recipes ideal for backyard get-togethers.
- Bratwurst with onions: Forget hot dogs! Hickory smoke your own beer-marinated bratwurst on the grill for a deliciously down-to-earth yet memorably special entree.
- North Carolina Barbecued Ribs: several US regions have their own specific barbecue flavors. North Carolina’s is heavy on the vinegar and spice, not the smoke, and it has no sweetness at all. Similar to Buffalo sauce, but better.
- Barbecue Chicken Crock Style: if you’re not barbecuing, here’s a way to get the flavor in a slow cooker. It’s a simple recipe you can tweak a million ways – change the barbecue sauce to your liking, shred the chicken and serve it as a nachos grande platter, whatever you like.
- Lime and Peanut coleslaw: Coleslaw doesn’t have to involve mayonnaise. This delicious recipe is very light and flavorful.
- Cheyenne Burger: this burger is made of turkey, but not for health purposes. Also includes two strips of bacon, real cheddar and onion rings. All squished between the two halves of the bun of your choice.
- Bean Casserole: several types of beans with bacon, onions and barbecue-ish sauce
- Bacon and Cheese Deviled Eggs: take the usual deviled egg recipe to a new level with bacon, cheese and honey mustard
- Tangy Dill Potato Salad: a lightly seasoned potato salad
- If you’re into making your own ice cream, Taste of Home has some July 4th-themed recipes for you: strawberry cheesecake, apple streusel, Rocky Road, butter pecan, Java Crunch and more.
- Nutella and Banana Smores: smores are perfect for evening time, right before the fireworks. Nutella and banana put a new twist on an old classic.
- Need some cocktails? Check out the Fourth of July shooter, and remember you can never go wrong in summertime with margaritas. For the non-alcoholic gathering, you can’t go wrong one of these iced tea recipes or agua fresca (water infused with fruit, veggies or herbs).
If you’re having an outdoor party or barbecue, check out our extensive guide to throwing great parties in your backyard. Remember to plan your events for afternoon so you can get to evening fireworks displays on time. If you’re in a major city, the traffic can get backed up to the point that some people will be stuck on the road when the fireworks go off, so leave in time to get there early.