Celebrating Independence Day with Kids

Before Children (B.C.), the Fourth of July was filled with the beach, bikinis, drinking, hot dogs, and cupcakes. The Fifth of July was filled with headaches, an insatiable thirst for water, and swearing I wouldn’t eat another bite for at least a week.


 After Children (A.C.) things got a little different, but, as far as I’m concerned, a whole lot better.

There’s still a beach involved, but now there are also cabana tents, sunblock, and bottles of ice cold water. Hot dogs and cupcakes have been replaced by lobster rolls and tarts. While there’s still a little bit of drinking, it’s mixed with lots of ice and even more lemonade.

And no, there are no bikinis involved.

This year, our plans included an old-fashioned, small town parade, the kids running around with sparklers, glow sticks, sand adhering to hands dripping with sticky snow cone syrup, and wide eyes watching explosions of color light up the night sky. The kids will listen, as they usually do, as I explain what Independence is and why the Revolutionary War was fought. They’ll ask about the Minute Men, the Red Coats, and George Washington. I keep it simple as I tell them about the rockets’ red glare and the bombs bursting in air.

This August, when we visit Boston and travel to Concord and Lexington, I hope they remember the stories as history comes to life. It excites me, sharing history with my children. It excites them, hearing the stories and knowing the meaning behind our holidays.

But not as much as the fireworks excite them.

How did you celebrate the Fourth of July?