By Beth Pinyerd
I have always loved living in Lee County. Our community always comes together and celebrates the holidays BIG. With gas prices being quite high this summer, much of our family summer fun can be centered right here in our community. Monday rolls in that annual summer holiday celebration of July 4. Don’t you just love the holidays during the year? Each holiday, no matter what culture, family or tradition, provides many learning experiences for young children. July 4 offers so many fun learning activities. I have listed just a few tried-and-true fun activities for young children and their families.
We are celebrating the birthday of our country right in our communities and backyards. It is so important to celebrate the fact that a diverse group of people came together to form the United States of America. It’s so important that we declared our independence on July 4. As we celebrate this day, the colors of our flag — red, white and blue — seem to be our focal point. Red represents bravery, blue signifies perseverance and white represents purity. These are three strong principles that our country is built on, and children can easily put these truths to heart.
Here are a few ideas I’d like to share with you that I hope will help make your July 4 celebration one to remember. These are simple:
1. Make red and blue Kool-Aid with your child. Freeze the different colored drinks in ice trays or pans. Your young child will love putting red and blue ice cubes to his lips on a hot day.
2. Another simple food that young children enjoy are red and blue Jello jigglers that can be cut into simple shapes. Young children love the bouncy texture of this child-favored treat.
3. Fun together time can be celebrated by baking simple sugar cookies, spread with white icing and sprinkled with blue and red sprinkles. Young children love to do this.
4. Also, having your young child help you make July 4 cupcakes with seasonal strawberries and blueberries is not only a delicious but healthy dessert. A variation of this is to sprinkle blueberries and strawberries into vanilla ice cream.
5. Build excitement with your young children by including them on July 4 picnic preparations. Color styrofoam cups with red and blue stripes. You can do the same with decorating napkins. White paper plates make up an easy young child’s creation wreath as they color and scribble red and blue. It can be hung on the door to show that your family is truly patriotic, right from the hands of a young child. Share with them the different foods you are going to grill out, prepare or buy. With young children, make sure food is cut up in eatable portions.
6. In many cities and communities, there are hometown parades that start off July 4. Too, you and your children can have a family July 4 parade by decorating bikes, tricycles, wagons or just marching around the house and yard with red, white and blue streamers. It doesn’t matter what you do; it is the time spent celebrating with your child that matters.
7. On July 4, when having fun in the sun, remember to protect your little ones with suntan lotion, hats, being in the shade, etc. Also, keep your children, yourselves and family well hydrated. Remember the bug spray because little insects can make huge whelts to their young skin.
8. Playpens are so easy to tote as an infant’s bed or just a play area. Spreading out blankets or quilts make it wonderful for toddlers to climb all around during the family’s festivities.
9. There are many fireworks shows in Lee County. Check in the newspaper, The Observer, for those times. Be sensitive to the fact that young children are very sensitive to loud sounds. You might want to keep your infants and toddlers at a distance where they can enjoy the beautiful display of colors and not be frightened by the big booms.
10. Last but not least, be thankful and pray for those folks who protect our freedom by serving in the armed services. Many of your families even now might have a family member serving in our armed services.
I hope these 10 simple suggestions create a child-friendly happy July 4 for you and your families. Take advantage of what our community has to offer.