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Celebrating the 4th of July as a Family

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The 4th of July brings back some of the best memories of my childhood: homegrown parades, the beach, warm summer evenings, the delicious food, laughs with friends and family, red, white, blue everywhere and, of course, the fireworks. It’s a fun day the whole family, the whole neighborhood—the whole country- celebrates. The feeling of community is strong. There’s nothing else quite like July 4th in America. The few times I have been out of the country for the 4th of July, I have longed for the patriotic sentimentality that the holiday always delivers.

There is no shortage of great ways and ideas of how to celebrate the 4th. A quick Internet search had me practically running to our household craft closet for some Elmer’s Glue, tissue paper and scissors. Modest materials can produce some pretty show-stopping results with a bit of creativity. Pinterest is a great place to find ideas. A lot of the crafts are easy enough for young children to do and a great way to keep them busy and engaged on a summer afternoon. There are plenty of ideas for festive outfits and things to make in the kitchen too.

Once you have your patriotic ensembles put together, your special occasion dishes prepared and the house looking festive, I highly suggest getting out and heading down to a local parade or other family-friendly public event that takes place on July 4th in your community. Invite your friends or extended family and pack a colorful picnic. Kids’ decorated bikes, red, white and blue mermaids, dogs dressed in tutus and Uncle Sam walking on stilts. It’s useless to resist. Have fun.

Have fun… and be careful. This is especially true when it comes to fireworks. Apparently, 50% of the injuries that occur on the 4th of July involve children and fireworks. Over half the injuries are from burns, and most involve the hands, fingers, eyes, head, and face. In other words, fireworks and kids do not mix well unsupervised. Even sparklers can be dangerous. (That lovely, sparkly flame that is such a part of so many of our childhoods can actually reach 1,800° Fahrenheit (982° Celsius.) That temperature is hot enough to melt gold and catch clothing on fire.) To ensure that your child’s memories of the 4th of July are happy ones, keep the fireworks in the hands of the experts. Anticipate crowds, parking issues, warm temperatures during the day and cool temperatures at night. Like so many holidays, the 4th is to be shared and celebrated with those you love. Keep the kids close and safe.

Happy 4th of July.

[AUTHOR: Hilary Doubleday]

June 30, 2015

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