Teen boy sliding down a slip and slide outdoors

This year’s 4th of July is bound to look far different from previous years. Parades have been canceled. Festivities, games, amusement rides and food in the park are no long scheduled. While many of our favorite traditions won’t be happening this year, we still can find new ways to celebrate our freedoms, create new memories and possibly even start some new traditions, all while social distancing. Luckily, we do have a new way of watching the Stadium of Fire fireworks!

To help get some ideas for new traditions, I’ve jumped online to research some great ways to fully enjoy this summer holiday despite the chaos and restrictions that coronavirus has brought. Here are some great ideas for indoor parties, backyard fun and even technology-aided family gatherings. For more ideas, visit our 4th of July Fun board on Pinterest.

Indoor parties

Staying safe and staying home can still be fun, even on a holiday where you’re normally out at the lake, camping with family and friends or meandering through vendor booths while indulging in snow cones. If you are planning on staying home this holiday, take your favorite tradition and transform it into something new. For example, if you’ve loved watching the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating contest (happily still scheduled to be televised), why not hold your own eating contest for the family. Don’t love hot dogs? Try Twinkies, watermelon, marshmallows or other fun snack foods.

In addition to indoor picnics, patriotic trivia games and even making some red, white and blue crafts, you can also host a patriotic-themed movie marathon. Cue up movies like “American Graffiti,” “Independence Day,” “Captain America: The First Avenger,” “The American President,” or “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” for a fun classic. And, if you have Disney+, be sure to watch the premiere of the Broadway hit “Hamilton.”

Backyard fun

The 4th of July is a perfect holiday for having fun in your own backyard, particularly when you can center the day’s festivities around a barbecue. While you’re prepping for a grilled feast, set out the sprinklers, Slip ‘n’ Slide and kiddie pool and create a game of water kickball. Or, grab some old towels, a volleyball net and a bunch of filled water balloons for a great game of water balloon volleyball. And, be sure to cap everything off with a good old water fight.

As an enhancement to your traditional backyard barbecue, why not add a fun snow cone or Italian soda station? For the soda station, grab all the essentials for the perfect red, white and blue flavor combinations. To see club soda, add in some raspberry puree and some half and half for a delicious, refreshing drink. Don’t forget to top with some whipped cream. Or, to that soda you can add 2-3 pumps of your favorite flavored syrup like cherry or even coconut. Add in cream and fresh berries to finish it off.

Technology-aided fun

Summer holidays are when most people also schedule their family or school class reunions. Thanks to COVID, those reunions likely won’t be happening in person this summer. If you typically host loads of family for your 4th of July celebrations, thanks to technology, you can still enjoy some quality family time, just in a different way. Go ahead and host that backyard barbecue party and invite your entire family crew, via Zoom.

To liven up your virtual party, plan some specific group activities that will work over video conferencing. You could host a cooking challenge for picnic side dishes. Do you love dressing up in your patriotic best for the holiday? Create a virtual fashion show for everyone to participate in, including your pets. Other virtual activities include hosting a patriotic trivia game using the app called Kahoot! And then round out the festivities with a dance party everyone can enjoy.

— Jennifer Durrant

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