Yesterday, Boy 3 asked why we celebrate 4th of July.
None of the other children could quite explain it.
Clearly, we have failed them as good American parents and citizens. (Good thing we’re studying American history in the fall. Otherwise Mr. Fantastic’s Marine Colonel grandfather might come and take them away for a while.)
So I plan to make the most of this glorious and fun holiday, and give my children a reason to celebrate their history and nation by doing ten very American things. Here they are:
10. Watch the old government-themed Schoolhouse Rocks cartoons. We will have them singing and dancing before they realize they are actually learning something.
9. Buy a flag for our front yard. I admit with shame that my children have asked me to do this in the past, but I have chosen to spend our flag money on new shoes or ice cream or a cute vase instead. Please don’t judge me.
8. Teach them the words to the national anthem, You’re A Grand Old Flag, America the Beautiful, and God Bless America. Every citizen should know these songs. I think I know them…sort of…if I try really hard to remember everything I learned in third grade and then google the lyrics I should be good.
7. Do a giant American states puzzle and point out the states we have been to together. Or we could color a print out of all the states and put stars on the states we have been to as a family, print out patriotic worksheets, or have a spelling bee using the states’ names. Learning can be fun!!
6. Memorize the presidents in order. Besides being good mental exercise, teaching them to produce useless information like this in large gatherings of people can prevent them from becoming too cool in high school, thereby slowing their chances of getting into too much trouble. 😉
5. Read this book about the Fourth of July. (We have read it many times before, but clearly they have yet to internalize this information!!) Then we might head to the library to try to find more.
4. Read the Declaration of Independence out loud. I realize they may not understand all of the language, but I have a deep affection for words, and particularly words crafted for the purpose of establishing freedom. I want them to hear the inspiring hope in that historic document.
3. Make a cake together that looks like a flag using strawberries and blueberries. Cliché? Yes. Delicious? Absolutely!
2. Buy noisy poppers or firecrackers to set off in the driveway. Last year, because of a drought, we weren’t allowed to do anything like that. This year will be different!!
1. Drive to a scenic spot and watch fireworks. Two years ago we sat in the back of our van and watched from Austin’s 360 bridge as a majestic display of color blazed in the sky. This year we hope to grab some friends and do the same.
Happy Independence Day, America!! Anyone have any more ideas of ways to celebrate?