Fourth of July: Breakfast to Bedtime

Between the loud sounds and the late nights, a fireworks show can be tough for a lot of kids to handle. With the Fourth of July around the corner, how can young families celebrate without the late nights and the scary sounds? Let’s plan out your Fourth of July from breakfast to bedtime.

Breakfast and Thinking Ahead

Let’s start with the end of the day in mind: popsicles. Whip out the blender and get ready to wake everyone up. Into the blender goes a pound of watermelon chunks (no seeds, please), 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 tablespoons of lime juice. Blend until smooth. Pour this refreshing concoction into popsicle molds and stow your end of the day treats in the freezer. 

No one could possibly still be asleep after the GAAARRRRRR of the blender. A couple of ideas for breakfast: Heat up some frozen waffles and serve them with Cool Whip, blueberries, and sliced strawberries. Or, maybe some patriotic looking parfaits? Just layer vanilla yogurt with those same strawberries and blueberries and some granola. Make sure to save some of those berries and Cool Whip for later — those will go into our afternoon snack. 

One last thing before we head out. Let’s pack a picnic lunch. But, don’t overthink it. Grab some flour tortillas and make wraps with whatever you have around. Peanut butter and jelly. Hummus and veggies. Cream cheese and that leftover chicken — there’s endless possibilities. To get fun looking swirls when you cut your wraps in half, use less filling and wrap your wraps tight. Gather up some chips and juice pouches, and pack up all your picnic fare with ice packs.

Don’t Rain on My Parade

After everyone is fed and dressed in their best Independence Day duds, grab your wagon, folding chairs, and sturdiest bags for candy. The Black Hills hosts a wide variety of Fourth of July parades. Slather on the sunscreen and head out to one of these patriotic processions:  

Belle FourcheJuly 4th, 10:30 AM
CusterJuly 4th, 10:00 AM
DeadwoodJuly 4th, 3:00 PM
Hill CityJuly 2nd, 10:00 AM
Hot SpringsJuly 4th, 10:00 AM
PiedmontJuly 4th, 10:00 AM
SpearfishJuly 4th, 12:00 PM

Protip: not to get political, but 2022 is a midterm election year. Politicians running for office in the November elections will be making the rounds at these parades and they usually pass out the best candy. 

And remember, big kids, help the little guys out in the parade candy fray. They’re not as quick as you. Do the right thing: let the 2 year old get the Laffy Taffy. And if you see that your little brother is not getting his fair share — help him out. You can’t eat all of that anyway.  

Life’s a Picnic

Time to refuel. Head to one of the several parks in the Black Hills to enjoy your picnic goodies. Notable mentions include Canyon Lake Park in Rapid City, the Manuel Brothers Park in Lead, City Park in Spearfish and the Harbach Centennial Park in Custer. The towns and cities of the Black Hills are host to world-class parks. A Google search can lead you to these and many, many others. Claim a table or a shady spot under a tree and chow down on your wraps. 

Back at Home

After some playtime in the park (I think it was the Fourth of July!) head back home.

It’s been minutes since the kids have eaten anything. Let’s get a snack ready. Just take a graham cracker, smear a little Cool Whip on it, and arrange sliced strawberries and blueberries in the configuration of the stars and stripes. Voila. Patriotic snack. Depending on the age of your kids, you can just set out the ingredients and they can put their own star-spangled treat together. 

For little ones, it’s probably nap time. If the little guys go down, take a few moments to kick back and rest. You’ve been going all day, afterall. Maybe grab your own graham cracker and whatever is left in the Cool Whip tub. 

If there’s still kids awake, let’s try an experiment with them: fireworks in a jar. It’s not as dangerous as it sounds. Take a mason jar or another clear container and fill it up with warm water. Leave about 2 inches of space from the top. Fill the jar the rest of the way with vegetable oil. Add a few drops of red and blue food coloring and watch the colors burst like a teeny tiny fireworks display. Resist the temptation to drip too much coloring into the jar — the colors are a lot more vibrant and wispy with fewer drops.  

Dinner, Bedtime and Beyond

No need for an extravagant dinner. Wrap hotdogs in crescent roll dough. Place them all on a baking sheet lined with foil (easy clean up!) and bake them at the same temperature and time that the dough package says. Serve with baby carrots or whatever fresh produce you have around. Ranch dressing and ketchup would be a welcome addition.

It’s now time for our watermelon popsicles. It might be a great idea to eat these outside. We are, afterall, combining the messiness of watermelons with popsicles. Take a few pictures of the kids’ messy faces while they’re enjoying these. Remember this sweet summer moment next February when it’s negative 40 outside. 

PJs on. Teeth brushed. Faces washed. Maybe consider taking a few moments before bed to reflect with the kids on the second sentence of the Declaration of Independence: 

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Go to bed feeling grateful today: you have the freedom to make each day as wonderful and loving as this one.