Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Fourth

When we were younger we used to attend huge 4th of July celebrations among great crowds of people, with a featured band, lots of noise, in a carnival atmosphere.

As the years have gone by we have given it all up for a home celebration. We felt safer and more comfortable, were able to use our own kitchen and find a restroom more easily. The first year we stayed home, we studied how people celebrated the fourth of July in previous centuries and tried to immitate that. Some of our ideas came from The American Girls Handibook and The American Boys Handibook, which were reprints from the late 1800's.

These books explained how to make harmless fireworks out of bright, sparkly cellophane and metallic papers. These were cut to make fringes, and tied around little beans to give them weight, then dropped from a high place such as an upstairs balcony. They twirl as they make their way down to the lawn. Lacking a balcony, trees or a ladder give a good height. Another simple child's fireworks consisted of a straw to hold, on which was stuffed some sparkly paper that the child could wave around. We had great fun with many of the fireworks crafts from these books, and still get them out of the tin where we stored them, each year.

One year we had a dog and pony parade. To do this, the family just finds everything they own with wheels, and every animal that will cooperate and stay in line. Wagons, tricycles, bicycles, lawn mowers of any type (push or ride), will do. The children carry flags while they ride in the "parade," and we take pictures.

This year the traffic in the city was impossible to navigate in order to see the annual city fireworks. We stayed home in the country and had our own display, which was quite good. We talked to the children about the meaning of the Fourth and what it meant to other countries, as well. My email was interesting, as I received "Congratulations," on the birth of our country from Russia, The Ukraine, Romania, Great Britain, and Kenya. Our country is noticed by people all over the world and is of special concern to them. Many of these people know and understand the reason behind the existance of America more than some of our own citizens. Some of these countries actually appreciate it more, as they suffer things that we have never had to endure.

Then we took a quilt and laid it in a farmer's field in the moonlight and watched the fireworks on display from a nearby town. We had snacks on a tray and some cold drinks. While we were sitting outside we were commenting how pleasant it was to be experiencing this in peace and quiet, not having to turn our heads away from unpleasant scenes or try to ignore rude arguing, blatant immodesty, smoking or the smell of alchohol, and having opposite values flaunted before us. We all commented on the fact that harmony was so present between us all.

Having our own quiet 4th celebration was so much more meaningful to usn than forging our way through traffic to see a show.Last year we videotaped the children singing "Hail to the Chief" and marching in their own parade.

From Pierside Gallery.com: Seaside Memories by Susan Rios

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Lady Lydia,

We, too, enjoy the 4th at home and it was so nice to hear about yours through the years. This year we had a patriotic program on our front porch with all ages of our extended family participating. We had a 21 gun salute (with a BB gun) while we sang "The Star Spangled Banner", a review of 4 important Presidents, an acrostic poem using the word "America", riddles, songs, and a special appearance by Betsey Ross who told about her life and showed how to cut a 5-pointed star with one snip. Homemade popcorn and fireworks ended the evening. Give me celebrations at home any day!
Warmly,
Tonya

Anonymous said...

Interesting approach to the fourth. Not to mention quite original This year, my mom and stepdad, and I didn't get to do much mainly because of scheduling conflicts, I think. We did, however, get to see the citywide fireworks. But, we didn't have to go anywhere to watch them. The location and setup of the house/property that my mom and stepdad bought almost a year ago made it possible for us to watch them from our own front yard. Some cars were parked across the street from us. I believe that we also invited one family to watch from our front yard too. Next year, we might invite some friends for a barbeque.

And yes, it can be tiresome dealing with huge crowds of people and seeing and/or hearing things you wish you didn't. Although I don't personally mind going to public celebrations, I've been in huge crowds and also seen things that would be problematic. You said that one of the things you had trouble with was "blatant immodesty". Well one year during the Fourth when I was visiting my real dad, I saw one girl who had on a bikini with short, denim, button-fly shorts over it, and the fly of said shorts was (gasp) open (I never mentioned it to anybody).

People have their own ways of celebrating the Fourth (if they do), and good for you for finding yours.

Regards,
Cory

Thoroughly Mormon Millie said...

This is a really lovely post. Our family has also opted to stay at home on the 4th, mostly since we have very young children that we don't want to lose in the big crowds, but your post brought back all the memories of the loud music, smells of alcohol and marijuana, and the bad behavior of some fellow citizens. I don't know that we'll ever go back now.

Emmarinda said...

Dear Lady L

Sounds like you live in a really lovely place to be able watch the fireworks from a farmer's field. I couldn't help wondering if you brought your bug-spray!! We are being inundated with "skeeters" right now from all the recent rain.

This year we again celebrated with neighbors (5 houses altogether), and some family friends. There were 19 of us altogether. Three of the men brought their grills out in front of our house and cooked and we all brought side dishes to share, which were laid out on a plywood "table" with saw-horse legs. We brought tables and chairs outside and ate there in the front yard. After that I made coffee and served homemade angel food cake (courtesy of a friend) with blueberries, strawberries and whipped cream. Really simple and really good.

My husband and one of the neighbor men have become the resident fireworks afficionados and this year they put on a really grand show. They were so delighted as we gave them lots of appreciative oohs and ahhs and applause!

We had also decked out the front porch with very inexpensive decorations and of course had the flag flying. I am so thankful for this wonderful country and the opportunity to freely celebrate and freely thank our heavenly Father who has placed us here in this lovely little corner of His creation.

Funny thing is, we live in a big beach resort town, but we never seem to mind leaving the beach and the big programs for the tourists as we remain joyfully at home.

Homemade holidays are the best!!!

Blessings,
Em

Lady Lydia Speaks said...

There were no bugs. We haven't had a problem with mosquitos this year.

Mrs. Reece said...

You know, I am so glad you posted this because I had never heard of the concept of "homemade" fireworks like the ones described. What a great way to celebrate without the hazard. My husband and I watched the town fireworks this year from a few blocks away, and there was a family (with a very young boy) all setting off fairly large fireworks right in front of us on the street. It made us so nervous, and I couldn't believe the parents were letting their young child light these things.

I also agree that staying at home is much better as far as avoiding immodest and worldly activities.

Lady Lydia Speaks said...

For those interested in children's harmless fireworks you can make, I snatched this from a site. Scroll through and find the firework crafts. We've got a box of them we made years ago and they still work and they still bring delight to young and old alike:

ART PROJECTS:

- FIREWORKS PAINTING Use a very large piece of paper (like bulletin board size) Let children drop small amounts of paint (different colors works good) Have the children swirl the paint out with a spoon, let them keep swirling from the center, in all directions around the drop of paint. Some of them may overlap, and that is fine, too. When it is finished it looks like fireworks bursting in the sky.

-TORCHES: Use old newspapers and roll them in a large cone shape. Let children paint the cones. When dry, stuff with red and yellow tissue paper. to be the "flame" of the torch/ * Have the children make crowns, and then they can be the statue of Liberty. I often let them parade.

-FLAGS: Start with white construction paper. Children glue on red strips, to make red and white stripes. Then glue a blue square in the top left corner. For the stars you can use white tissue paper, crumpled up, or star stickers.

-BELLS: Use paper cups and let children decorate them. (have them add a "Crack", like the Liberty Bell) use string through the bottom of the cup, aand tie on a small 'jingle bell'

-ROCKET: make a cone shape, out of construction paper. Decorate with markers. Cut a narrow (approx. 2" long) slits on opposite sides of the wide open end. Use 18" of string, and with the point up, put the string through the slits, and pull sharply on the ends of relaxed string (rocket will fly into air)

WIND SOCKS: use red, white or blue construction paper and roll it length wise. Glue, tape or staple together. Add string as a handle to one end. Add red, white and blue streamers to the other end.

-Use only red white and blue items in your art center.

- FLAG CAKE: Bake a cake (rectangle shape like 9x13). Frost with white frosting (or whip cream). Put sliced strawberries for the stripes, and use blueberries in the corner.

Songs, Fingerplays, and Grouptime Fun



Fourth Of July Information...

Tell the children that Independence Day is celebrated on the fourth of July each year. It marks the day many years ago that the United States Became independent, or when we decided that we would be our own country. Have the class set up a birthday party for America. Talk about what games children play at their own birthday parties and play some of those games. If possible play "Stars and Stripes Forever" and encourage children to play imaginary instruments along with the music.

Designs In The Sky
(Frere Jacques)
Fourth of July, Fourth of July,
It is fun, it is fun.
A picnic in the park,
And then after dark,
Designs in the sky, Fourth of July.

On the Fourth of July...
(London Bridge)
It's our country's birthday,
Birthday, birthday.
It's our country's birthday,
On the Fourth of July!

On Independence Day...
(Mary Had a Little Lamb)
Fireworks go snap, snap, snap!
Crack, crack, crack!
Zap, zap, zap!
Fireworks make me clap, clap, clap
On Independence Day!

Way up in the Sky...
(Row, Row, Row Your Boat)
Wave, wave, wave the flag,
Hold it very high.
Watch the colors gently wave,
Way up in the sky.

March, march, march around,
Hold the flag up high.
Wave, wave, wave the flag,
Way up in the sky.



Who's Birthday Is It?

Some birthdays come in winter, Some birthdays come in spring. On birthdays there are games to play And lots of songs to sing.

My favorite birthday is in July, And it doesn't belong to me! It's the birthday that lights up the sky For all the world to see!

Rockets glare, trumpets blare, And bands begins to play. Happy Birthday America It's Independence Day!

Fireworks...

Use black construction paper and make fireworks using net scrubbies that you use washing your pots and pans. Mix tempera paint in a tray and add paper towels to make more of a stamp pad. The paper towel should be wet not soaking. Too much paint and it won't work. Touch the scrubbie to the paper towel and press on paper. I have gold tempera which really looks spectacular. Use white and red as well and add glitter to the paint. It is a great effect on the black paper.

Star Crowns...

Pre cut stars out of red, white and blue construction paper. Give each child a long white band (about 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide) of construction paper long enough to fit around a child's head. Let each child glue (I colored my white glue with some red paint) as many paper stars on the band as they want. I also put out some red, white and blue stickers for the to put on. When dry, fit to each child's head and staple. The kids just love the star spangled crown.

Baton...

Take a large sheet of newspaper and fold in half. Start at one cornerand roll into a long stick shape. Tape. Children can color newspaper with markers/paint, etc. Attach crepe paper streamers or strips of tissue paper at one end (or anywhere)with a glue stick. Decorate with foil star stickers. Can be used for a parade, dancing, etc.

Playdoh Fun...
Set out red, white and blue playdoh and let the children's imaginations run wild. Art Table... Using a black piece of construction paper, straws, and various colored paint allow the children to drop a small amount of paint onto paper and gently blow through the straw for fireworks in the sky effects.

Sensory Table...
Place red, white or blue colored water in the sensory table with pitchers, measuring cups and other containers to allow the children to experience measurement.

Housekeeping...
Set up the housekeeping area with items you would take along on a picnic. Have the children pretend to make sandwiches and gather items to bring with. Then allow them to imagine what they'd do while they were picnicking.

Cooking Activities

Hamburger Cookies...
The rolls were vanilla wafers. The inside could be a chocolate covered mint or any thing round that looks like a burger. Yellow and red icing from tubes were the ketchup and mustard.

Lesson plans for a 4th of July unit!

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/kaboom/ Anatomy of a Firework - Grades 5-8, 9-12 Click on a drawing of a firework to learn about its components.

Pyrotechnics: It's Elemental (Hot Science) - Grades 5-8, 9-12 Click on highlighted elements to find out their contributions to the whiz, bang, pop, and color that make up a firework.

Background
Tell the children that Independence Day is celebrated on the fourth of July each year. It marks the day many years ago that the United States Became independent, or when we decided that we would be our own country. Have the class set up a birthday party for America. Talk about what games children play at their own birthday parties and play some of those games. If possible play "Stars and Stripes Forever" and encourage children to play imaginary instruments along with the music.

4th of July wands

Materials: newspaper, red, white and blue streamers, markers or paint, glue stick, star stickers

Take a large sheet of newspaper and fold in half. Start at one corner and roll into a long stick shape. Tape. Children can color newsparer with markers/paint, etc. Attach crepe paper streamers or strips of tissue paper at one end (or anywhere)with a glue stick. Decorate with foil star stickers. Can be used for a parade, dancing, etc.

Red, White, And Blue Puffy Paint Pictures

Materials:

Flour Salt Water Red and blue food coloring Empty mustard squeeze bottles Cardboard

Directions:

1. Mix equal parts of flour, salt, and water to make the puffy paint.

2. Divide mixture into three different bowls and color one bowl of mixture blue, one bowl red, and leave the last one white.

3. Fill the mustard bottles with the mixture (one color per squeeze bottle).

4. Let the children squeeze the different colors onto the cardboard. 5. Allow the children's artwork to dry. When it is dry, the design will be raised and will sparkle!

Red, White, And Blue Salt Jars

Materials:

Empty baby food jars with lids 9 cups rock salt Red and blue food coloring (PI) cup rubbing alcohol

Directions:

AN ADULT MUST DO THIS PART

1. To make the colored rock salt: Measure 3 cups of rock salt to be blue, 3 cups to be white, and 3 cups to be red, and place each in three separate bowls.

2. Combine (pi) cup of rubbing alcohol with (PI) a bottle or more of red food coloring (you want the colors to be bright). Do the same for the blue food coloring.

3. Mix the red alcohol mixture into one of the bowls of rock salt. Mix well and let sit for about 1 minute. Drain the excess alcohol mixture off of the rock salt. (WARNING: This will smell pretty yucky!) Spread the colored rock salt on cookie sheets and set outside in the sun to dry (this will take only an hour or so). Repeat the same procedure for the blue food coloring. 4. Do nothing with the remaining rock salt because you want it to stay white.

ACTIVITY FOR THE CHILDREN

1. Once the different colors of salt are dry, place them on a table with spoons and baby food jars. 2. Guide the children to spoon the colored rock salt into their jars. 3. Seal the children's creation with the lid.

Stars and Stripes collage:
Give each child blue construction paper(9x12) with strips of red and white paper cut 1x9. Have them glue the strips on and add silver star stickers. (I usually cut my stars out so they are bigger!)

Firework Painting
Go to the grocery store and buy the scouring pads that are round with holes in them.(They are made real stiff-the old style scouring pads) Put out red white and blue paint and have them paint in a circular motion to make fireworks! They turn out real cute!

Fourth of July Windsocks
Assemble this project the same way as the Fourth of July collage however staple together making a cylindar and add streamers on the bottom and a piece of yarn on top to hang!

TISSUE FIREWORKS

Materials Needed Black construction paper, one sheet per child White chalk Glue White and colored tissue paper Scissors

What to do 1. Cut tissue into 1" squares. 2. Draw fireworks patterns on the black construction paper with chalk (3 per paper). 3. Give each child one piece of prepared black paper and a container of 1" tissue paper squares and a container of white glue with a squeeze top. 4. Instruct the children to use fheir finger tips and ball up each square of tissue. Be sure they pick up only one piece at a time. 5. Instruct the children to place glue dots along one line of a firework, and to place the balled-up tissue on the glue. 6. Have them complete the task, using any color patterns they desire.

Paper Plate Watermelon

(Hint: Use the cheap, flimsy paper plates) Paint inside of paper plate red. Paint outside of paper plate green. Gluewatermelon seeds on red section. When paint is dry, fold plate in half.

Adult: use a fancy scissors to cut out a half circle on fold at top to represent a bite out of the watermelon. Now you have a watermelon slice - a Fourth of July picnic favorite!



FIREWORKS

need bowls of various colors food coloring/water mixtures, straw for each child, white paper

have children dip their straw into the food coloring and blow onto paper. makes a great fireworks effect messy, but fun!

Fireworks painting.

Materials

Liquid tempera paint in vivid, light colors Dark construction paper (blue, black) Queen Anne's lace (with at least 6-8 inch stems) both large and smallblossoms pie pans or shallow plates

Pour paint approximately 1/4 inch deep into pie plates. Have kids dip blossoms face down into paint, then gently onto paper. Looks like fireworks!

hint...encourage kids to place flowers gently down onto paper. Brushing will look like streaming fireworks, gently placing, like starbursts.

Use new blossoms for each color of paint. [They don't hold up well to cleaning

Use only Red, White and Blue Supplies in the Art Center Have a Birthday Party for America Make Red, White and Blue Playdough

Fireworks Painting:
Use a very large piece of paper and let the children drop small amounts of paint (different colors work well). Have the children swirl the paint out with a spoon let them keep swirling from the center, in all directions around the drop of paint. Some of them may overlap, when it is finished it looks like fireworks bursting in the sky.

Statue of Liberty Torches:
Use old newspapers and roll them in a large cone shape. Let the children paint the cones. When dry, stuff with red and yellow tissue paper to be the flame of the torch.

Statue of Liberty Crowns:

Cut crowns from stiff paper to fit around the child's head. Let them decorate them and then with their torches do a parade.

Flags:

Start with white construction paper. Children glue on red strips to make red and white stripes. Then glue a blue square in the top left corner. For the stars you can use crumpled up white tissue paper or star stickers.

Rocket:

Make a cone shape, out of construction paper. Decorate with markers. Cut narrow approx. 2" slits on opposite sides of the wide-open end. Use 18" or string and with the point up, put the string through the slits, and pull sharply on the ends of the relaxed string (rocket should fly into the air).

Wind Socks:
Use red, white or blue construction paper and roll it lengthwise. Glue, tape or staple together. Add string as a handle on one end. Add red, white and blue streamer to the other end.

Stained glass stars materials: white paper, black felt pens, old crayons (peeled), warming tray, oven mitt, scissors. Process: use the black felt pen to outline a large star on the white paper. The blank space inside the lines will be "colored in" with melted crayon.

Place the paper with the star on the warming tray. Put the oven mitt on the non-drawing hand, hold the paper down with this hand. Using the peeled crayons, color in the star. Working slowly will allow the crayon to melt and soak into the paper. Remove the paper from the warming tray. Hold the paper up to the light or a window and see the stained glass effect. The star can be cut out and displayed in a window to resemble a stained glass window.

(note: rub the back of the crayon design with a cotton ball soaked in baby oil for a more transparent design).

Fourth of July parade

Decorate tricycles or other riding or pulling toys for a parade. Some decorating ideas are: weave crepe paper thorugh bicycle spokes; tie balloons or streamers to handle bars; make a float in a wagon; hang noisy cans or pie plates from the bikes. Start a parade around the playground or down the sidewalk. Add marching people, rhythm instruments or noise makers to the parade. Play marching music from a tape recorder. Note: some children have no concept of staying in line or "following the leader" in a parade setting. State a brief practice time before decorating. This will help to alleviate confusion later.

Glitter Paint Fireworks Pictures
Materials: matte board or cardboard white glue, thinned with water in a cup paintbrushes shakers with large holes powdered tempera paint glitter

Paint the entire surface of the matte board or cardboard with thinned white glue. Fill shakers with powdered tempera and glitter. Shake the paint glitter mixture onto the glue to make "fireworks". Dry the project for a long time (a couple of days).


Just Google in "crafts fourth of july fireworks" and see what you get. There is one that is a parachute made of tissue paper and string that works well, but it is not in this list.

Lady Lydia Speaks said...

This one is from "About.com" after I typed in Crafts safe fireworks." This is the sparkler from a straw. We sold a huge amount of these at a fourth of july booth we had. Parents were delighted to get them:

What You Need:
Drinking straws
Strips of construction paper or shiny wrapping paper
Tape
What You Do:
Place strips of paper into one end of straw. The more strips -- the fuller it looks.

Use scotch tape to tape srips in place.

Now you have a flameless sparkler.

Lady Lydia Speaks said...

This is a fun and safe way to celebrate the Fourth of July with you kids.

Fill paper lunch bag half-full with tiny pieces of colored construction paper or tissue paper. Go outside (or you can stay in!). Have kids grab the paper bag around the opening and blow it up (DON'T INHALE), or use a straw. Squeeze the bag tightly closed and pop the bag by slapping the other hand against the bottom of the blown up bag. Watch the confetti fly! Listen to the explosion!

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