Sometimes staying close to home is the best way to create traditions and fun celebrations during the holidays. From barbecuing to lighting sparklers and setting off your own fireworks, there are a lot of fun activities you can do with the whole family to make a memorable 4th of July! 

BBQ in the Backyard

Plan on making your favorite family BBQ recipes and add homemade ice cream to the day of festivities. There are loads of quick and easy recipes for ice cream you can make with the kids at home. Here is a simple recipe we found for ice cream with kids. It also introduces science into the mix, so it’s both educational and delicious! 

Keeping their delicious catering recipes secret, Kaylie and Aaron with Smokin’ Hot Catering LLC share their favorite “recipe” they make at home during the summer. “We have lots of favorite recipes that we make during the summer, but we had to actually write them down because we usually just cook on the fly,” Kaylie jokes. 

Potato Papoose


  • enough potatoes to feed your crew
  • a sweet (or white) onion
  • olive oil
  • 1 stick of butter
  • paprika
  • fresh ground pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • bacon (optional)


  1. Thinly slice the potatoes and onion; for best results, use a mandolin. 
  2. Place the potatoes and onions on a long sheet of aluminum foil — keeping them in the middle of the foil. Note: If you have a big crew you’ll want to use two to three foil sheets so the potatoes cook faster.
  3. Plentifully, add the seasoning, a light amount of olive oil and mix it all up to disperse the flavor. 
  4. Slice the butter and place evenly on top of the mixture. Optional: Add slices of bacon over the top before closing up and cooking. 
  5. Fold the foil up like a package. 
  6. Cook on a grill, over a campfire, in the oven, or a smoker. Let the magic happen for approximately an hour (depending on how hot your fire is, how close it is to the heat, etc.); you’ll want to keep an eye on it and check every 20-30 minutes or so to gauge how much longer they will need to cook. 

Get crafty! 

Before the barbeque begins keep the kids entertained with some patriotic themed crafts. Here’s one DIY: American Flag Tie Dye Towels. 

The best thing about this craft is, it requires very little materials. Buy some cheap white towels and a tie dye kit and dig through your drawers for a few good rubber bands. The instructions are pretty straightforward, and the results are beautiful! 
Note: Depending on the age of your children, supervision and aid are suggested!

A little more complex, creating paper star lanterns would be great for tweens. The lanterns offer great decor for the backyard as the sun begins to set, so the party can continue. If you don’t have red, white, and blue paper, color the paper with crayons, markers, or paint to keep the patriotic theme going. 

Cool Off 

Summer heat can be a drag. While the adults are enjoying cool beverages (check out this list of holiday drinks!), keep the kids cool with water games in the backyard, from slip ‘n slide kickball to water balloon tosses. If you make the towels a day or two in advance, your kids can dry off or sunbathe with their new colorful craft! Look for more water-themed ideas here!

Camp Out in the Yard

End the night with a little backyard camping. Set up a projector against an old building or hang a white sheet and show some classic patriotic films before the night ends or give the kids a few sparklers to run around with while the adults are setting up to watch the fireworks show.