Come join a popping-good celebration of summer's grandest holiday. Razzle-dazzle decorations and easy-as-pie family activities pull it all together.
Homespun activities have always been a hallmark of America's birthday celebration. Turn your kids loose to craft party favors and a tablecloth. That will keep their enthusiasm high and your stress level low.
1. Cover the paper towel rolls with red tissue paper.
2. Before sealing both ends, fill with such things as dove feathers -- as a symbol of peace -- or print out famous patriotic sayings.
3. Add globe toys, foil-wrapped candy stars, or other treats.
1. Spread a white sheet across a driveway and have young ones use narrow paint rollers to apply the design with red acrylic paint.
2. After the paint dries, heat-set it according to the manufacturer's directions.
Why so much red in our holiday decorations? Some say it's a color that symbolizes sacrifice. But it's also true that only strong, bold personalities dare bring red to the party. And that's America: Bold.
To keep the stems standing straight, slip them into plastic drinking straws or vinyl tubing. Scatter spray-painted starfish along the table to complete the Old Glory theme. There's no need to scour the beach for starfish. You can buy them by the bag at crafts and imports stores. To keep the troops in line before the main meal is ready, set up a table topped with munchies and cold drinks, so hungry guests can nibble as they play and wait for dinnertime.
Your potluck menu could wind up as six tubs of potato salad, five pans of brownies, and not a single baked bean in sight if you don't plant ahead. Balance the menu by making suggestions about what friends should bring.
Any holiday centered around such lines as "...and the rockets' red glare; the bombs bursting in air..." begs for whirligigs and blasts of color. For early Americans, firing off muskets punched up the festivities. But nowadays, a homemade pinwheel works fine.
1. Cut the heavy paper or Mylar into 8-inch squares. Draw lines from opposing corners, making a giant X. Cut 4 inches along each line of the X from the corners toward the center.
2. Pierce every other corner with a ball-headed pushpin, then stick the pin through all these holes and into the center of the X. Push the pin into a balsa wood stick, which serves as the handle.
3. Use a 1/2-inch piece of drinking straw as a spacer between the pinwheel and the stick.