The Fourth of July is a wonderful time to honor our country, but it's also a prime opportunity to bond with family and friends outdoors. Take advantage of this spirited day and the summer sun by incorporating one of our fun ideas for 4th of July party games, races, contests, and activities.
Patriotic Scavenger Hunt
For a festive and fun 4th of July game, send players on a scavenger hunt around the neighborhood or backyard. Include patriotic items on the list, such as red, white, and blue things; a nickel in honor of Thomas Jefferson, who drafted the Declaration of Independence; and mini American flags.
Set up a jumbo version of tic-tac-toe with a burlap square and bean bags. Perfect for the beach or the backyard, this simple game will keep little ones entertained as they wait for the fireworks to start. For added patriotic flair, outline the game board with red or blue duct tape.
Red, White, and Blue Tag
Kids will have extra energy after visiting the desserts table, so help them burn it off with a fun game of red, white, and blue tag. Depending on the size of your group, designate two to four kids to be "it." Let all other players select a red, white, or blue token (think leis, ribbons, poker chips, etc.) to run around with. When "it" tags a player, the player hands over their token. The first "it" to collect an item in every color wins!
American Sand Castles
Spending the 4th of July on a beach? Celebrate by building sand castles. Mark your territory with red, white, and blue sand; American flags; colored shells; and more. Just make sure kids know to leave only natural items on the beach and bring everything else home.
Time to Race
A good old-fashioned race will inspire lots of fun and laughter. Here are some ideas to get you started.
- Potato Sack Race: Bring back the classic potato sack race for your Fourth of July celebration. Get in the holiday spirit by choosing red, white, and blue garbage bags, or decorate your own potato sacks with the image of the flag or the Statue of Liberty. Then line up the bagged participants and send them hopping and laughing toward the finish line.
- Abraham Lincoln Spoon Race: We named this Fourth of July game for one of our nation's founding fathers, and it's sure to be a hit. Divide the kids into two teams, and designate a starting point and finish line. At the starting point, place a bowl of pennies and two spoons or ladles (one for each team); at the finish line, place two empty bowls (one for each team). One at a time, one person from each team must fill the spoon with as many pennies as possible and then race to the finish line to discard them into the team bowl. Here's the catch: Any dropped pennies must be picked up and returned to the spoon, and the player must return to the starting point. The first team to transfer all the pennies to the bowl at the finish line wins.
- Flag Relay: Fill two large plastic buckets or bins with sand, and insert small American flags. Use the same number of flags as participants. Designate a starting point and a finish line, placing the buckets at the finish line. Split the kids into two teams, and have them form two lines at the starting point. On your "go," the first person in each line races to the bucket, grabs a flag, and marches back (for safety reasons, don't allow children to run with the flags). The next person in line cannot go until the previous person has returned with his or her flag. The first team to capture all of its flags wins.
Have the best-looking crew in the neighborhood by letting kids decorate their bikes before the big parade. Set out streamers, stickers, tinsel, garlands, and flags, then let kids go wild. Have an adult on hand to help attach decor—otherwise kids could get their fingers stuck in the bike chains.
Festive Yard Bowling
Breathe new life into old soup cans with a few coats of red, white, and blue paint or strips of duct tape. Then set up decorated cans in pyramid form for a fun game of yard bowling! This DIY 4th of July game can be made for only a few dollars, but it will bring hours of fun to your party.
Inspire some friendly competition with these creative contests, and be sure to have patriotic prizes on hand for the winners.
- Hula-Hoop Contest: Grab some Hula-Hoops and a few wiggly participants to get the contest started. The person who can continue to hula the longest wins.
- Baseball-Throwing Contest: Incorporate America's favorite pastime in your 4th of July celebration. The person who can throw a baseball the farthest wins. This game is best played at a park with an adult marking the distance each time.
- Tug-of-War Contest: Create two teams to tug on opposing sides of a rope. Make three knots in the middle of the rope and a line on the ground between the teams. The team that tugs the farthest knot across the line wins.