There’s nothing quite like the Fourth of July. Between fireworks lighting up the night sky and the unmistakable scent of burgers on the grill, it has all the things that make midsummer the best time of the year. Just because it’s in the middle of the week this year doesn’t mean your party can’t be the best of the best. Today, we’re sharing a few small ways you can take your Independence Day bash from “just alright,” to the celebration everyone will be talking about for the rest of the summer.
Keep The Kids Entertained
Beers and horseshoes are an important part of Independence Day, but they can’t be fully enjoyed unless you find some creative ways to keep the kids occupied for a little while. One way to provide your children and their friends with at least half an hour’s worth of entertainment is by giving them some red, white, and blue sidewalk chalk and letting them decorate the driveway. To make it extra-festive, you can make some star-shaped chalk at home with some plaster of Paris, silicone molds, and paint.
Another way to get the kids in the spirit is by mixing up some patriotic treats with Pop Rocks. Firecracker Bark is colorful and sure to please. (Who doesn’t love chocolate?) Though this particular recipe suggests white chocolate, red pop rocks, and blue jimmies, feel free to be as over-the-top as you want to be. Mix in gummy bears, M&Ms, or bits of mochi. When it comes to creating desserts for kids, you can never do too much. Pop Rocks can also be used as a fun garnish on a kid-friendly favorite: lemonade! It’s simple to make your own fresh sparking strawberry lemonade with strawberries, sugar, lemon juice, and club soda. It’s a great option for keeping the children hydrated but can also serve as a boozy adult beverage by adding your favorite spirit. (We think Blueberry Vodka would be a great addition!)
All of the firecracker bark, sparkling lemonade, and festive sidewalk chalk will likely not be enough to keep your little ones entertained for an entire party — plus it’s going to be a hot one — so you should consider having some water games on-hand. Playing in the sprinkler is always a fun way to beat the heat if you don’t have a pool in your backyard, as is a good old-fashioned water balloon battle. While this idea may require more hands-on supervision, a Slip-N-Slide offers one-of-a-kind fun, and some liquid dish soap or tear-free shampoo can add even more adventure.
Keep The Drinks Flowing
First and foremost, before you even consider alcoholic beverages, it’s important to keep your guests hydrated, so having plenty of ice-cold water on-hand is important. Keep it festive by serving the water in a large glass jar with a tap and infusing it with berries and mint. Blackberries and strawberries are tasty and fit with that patriotic color scheme, and the mint is an optional but very refreshing touch.
When considering a signature cocktail for your event, you should keep it icy and on-theme. Why not whip up some Bomb Pop cocktails? Pre-make vodka-infused slushies in red, white, and blue by adding grenadine and blue curacao to separate batches then freezing them. Layer them in a cocktail glass or mason jar and serve with a colorful paper straw.
Keep The Grill Hot
Hot dogs and hamburgers are traditional Independence Day fare and should definitely be included in your cookout. If you want to offer a more interesting additional option, consider a build-your-own grilled chicken taco bar. A simple grilled chicken taco recipe is a good place to start but when it comes to toppings, the sky’s the limit. Classics like shredded lettuce and a few different kinds of salsa are important to have on-hand, but don’t be afraid to be a little adventurous. (Our forefathers would be proud.) Pickled onions, crumbled cotija cheese, and seasoned black bean mash are three slightly offbeat options that will be sure to please.
Even when everyone is full, don’t turn the grill off just yet! Desserts are also so much better with char marks. (Who would have thought?) We shared some ideas for grilled fruit dishes last month — peaches with ice cream is one of our favorites — but pie can also be made on the grill. A Fourth of July bash wouldn’t be complete without pie, but why should you heat up your kitchen when you can take the baking outside? When it comes to things you’ll need, the only difference between a regular pie and a grilled pie is two disposable foil pans — one for the pie, the other to prop it up off of the grates.
Keep The Pets Safe
Last but not least, it’s important to make sure your furry friends are safe and comfy during the festivities. Animal shelters are most crowded during the Fourth of July because animals have a tendency to try to escape because the sounds are too loud and scary for them. To keep your pets safe, make sure they’re in an enclosed room of your home, and consider turning on the radio or a white noise machine, and give them a frozen treat to keep them busy. Make sure that their collars and microchips are up-to-date just in case they do get away, and though it may seem like Fido will appreciate the displays, don’t bring your dog to watch the fireworks. We guarantee that he won’t enjoy it!
There you have it! The perfect Fourth of July celebration can be pulled off in just a few simple steps. Anyone else craving a Bomb Pop now?