What an incredible Fourth of July! The only thing that would have made it better was if Big Brooks would have been here to celebrate with us. After taking it easy yesterday I was feeling up to the task of celebrating with the kiddos our nation’s Independence Day.

We knew we wanted to go to Freedom Fest on Fort Hood, thankfully a ten minute walk from our house on post, but I was a bit worried about the heat. I told the kiddos we would attend the event early and stay until it got too busy and hot at which point we would head back home to eat dinner, watch a movie, and wait for the fireworks. We plan on watching the show from our backyard and if I can manage it, we might pitch our tent as well.

So this morning we alternated activities/games with crafts/art. It was a good combination that the kiddos rather enjoyed and helped pass the time until Freedom Fest. The kiddos were so excited about the carnival and other activities that they couldn’t keep their eyes off the clock so I’m glad I kept them engrossed for a bit as they were finally able to stop tracking the time. I was only sorry that we ran out of time and weren’t able to engage in splat painting with balloons and never made frosted sugar cookies, but tomorrow is surely another day!

Here are some of the activities we engaged in:

(I’m including links to the corresponding websites)

Erupting Colors via The Artful Parent : http://artfulparent.typepad.com/artfulparent/2011/07/a-fireworks-art-and-science-activity.html


The first time Little B and I tried this activity was at the Gettysburg Children’s Museum in Gettysburg, PA. It’s a neat little museum and one those in the area should definitely check out and visit. It’s a simple activity to set up and engage in. Basically you take a pan, fill the bottom with whole milk (just enough to cover the bottom is fine), add drops of food coloring (The Artful Parent may have used liquid watercolors), and then with a dropper or other similar type of implement place a drop of soap (we always use Dawn) to the colors. As the molecules in the soap react with the fat and water in the milk you’ll see bursts of color and a boiling type effect. It’s pretty neat and always impresses The Boy. Well, me too.’

Face Painting via The Crafty Teacher:  http://craftyteacher.blogspot.com/2007/09/homemade-face-paint.html

Face painting is one of those fun parts of childhood that are so simple to incorporate into holidays and other special events. We made homemade face paints using the recipe posted in the blog above. The recipe was pretty simple: cream + cornstarch + a bit of water + food coloring. After mixing the different colors I painted a version of the American flag on Marilyn’s face. Little B passed on the face painting. He was worried it would all melt during Freedom Fest (a valid point, perhaps).

FYI: this is where I got the idea for the flag on Marilyn’s face :  http://familyfun.go.com/4th-of-july/4th-of-july-crafts/face-paint-705303/

The face painting turned out pretty neat except that after a while it began to flake off. I’m not sure if I mixed something incorrectly so although I’m willing to try this one again I may try a different homemade face paint recipe next time.

Sticker Star Twirlers, via Family Fun : http://familyfun.go.com/crafts/sticker-star-twirler-670823/

These twirlers were super fun to make. The kiddos picked out a plastic food container lid. I had to get creative finding these as I don’t purchase many items containing the type of lids required, but thankfully found two. After I made a slit in the top of each lid the kiddos pushed a rubber band through, affixed a paper clip to the top, and then threaded the rubber band through a portion of a cut up straw. My directions are not anywhere as clear as on the website, so check it out. The kiddos had fun putting these together and then of course Little B  had to try and make his fly (a little bit of success there). I was out of star stickers so the kiddos used rubber cement to attach pieces of cut up foam to the top.

Festive Fans, via Family Fun : http://familyfun.go.com/crafts/festive-fans-670813/




Alright, so knowing that we were attending a super hot event, with little shade, I thought creating fans would be fun and useful. It’s a super simple art activity, and although we had no tongue depressors on hand, we used two Popsicle sticks to make do. Marilyn decked hers out in red and blue and Little B, who hates following most craft instructions, chose brown, made a cross and four brown stars.  Those fans were super sturdy AND kept us cool while waiting in line for rides or activities. I only wish I had made myself one!

Rocket Balloons, via Family Fun : http://familyfun.go.com/crafts/rocket-balloons-668751/

This may have been one of our top favorite activities today. The Rocket Balloon was created by taking a blue balloon and filling it with about 1/4 cup lentil beans. After blowing it up and closing it we attached red and white streamers of various lengths to create a tail. We ended up with a neat looking Rocket Balloon that was fun to throw and catch and made quite a sight! We put on some fun music, moved some furniture out of the way, and danced and threw the balloon around. Too much fun!

Fireworks Art, via Family Fun: http://familyfun.go.com/4th-of-july/4th-of-july-crafts/fireworks-art-668703/

This art activity has been enjoyed at different times in our home. It’s quite simple. You add drops of paint to your paper and then blow the paint around with a straw. Your paint has to be watered down a little bit or you won’t be able to blow it as easily, if that makes sense.

And our absolutely favorite activity today:

Hose Head, via Family Fun : http://familyfun.go.com/playtime/sporty-games-photo-gallery-848241/

We laughed and giggled and ran around like crazy folk while enjoying this outdoor game, although I’m sure if your house is big enough you can play inside as well. The object of the game is to place pantyhose on your head (HILARIOUS), and then run around trying to take the hose off the other player’s heads while maintaining your head covered by a pair of women’s stockings. Too fun!

You all know I joined in the fun!

After all that fun we were able to walk to Freedom Fest and enjoy the carnival rides, games, and activities. You all, it was HOT! I was constantly drinking water and was so grateful I wore a Penn State (small shout out there!) cap, or we wouldn’t have lasted the almost five hours we were there. The kiddos were rather oblivious to the heat; they were having too much fun on the rides and various other games. I had to remind them to drink frequently and thankfully the lines were pretty nonexistent so we spent the majority of our time engaging in play vs. line waiting.


We’ve had a wonderful Fourth of July. We are currently watching Independence Day, we picked up some yummy food at Chili’s and ate that indoor picnic style on the floor of the living room, and now the kids are again time watching as they are anxious to see the fireworks. I can’t say I blame them!

Happy Fourth of July everyone!!!!