Fourth of July feels like the kick-off of summer, and while you celebrate Independence Day with family and friends, here are some cheap and frugal, even free ways that you can celebrate together.
Fun at home
Buy crepe paper, streamers, mini-flags and other patriotic decorations from the dollar store and encourage the kids to get creative in decorating their bikes and trikes. Then have a mini Fourth of July parade down the sidewalk or have a contest and award prizes for the decorated bikes.
On July 4 at 10AM, kids ages 4-12 are encouraged to ride their decorated bikes in the Arlington Heights 4th of July parade. Check in at Oakton/Highland Streets, no Big Wheels please.
2. Grand Old Flag Fruit Pizza
Bake sugar or chocolate chip cookie dough (homemade or store-bought) into circles or rectangles. Then spread with vanilla yogurt or frosting, or whip cream and dot on red and blue fruits and berries like strawberries, raspberries, watermelon, cherries, blackberries and of course, blueberries.
Water Ballon Toss
Whether it’s hot, or not, water balloon fights are fun in summer. Fill balloons from the dollar or craft store up with water, and bomb away. It’s good ol’ summer fun.
Watermelon Seed Spitting Contest
Nosh out on watermelon (usually on sale during Independence Day) but save the seeds. Have a seed-spitting or cherry-pit spitting contest, and give goofy small prizes or candy for the winner.
Watermelon Soda at Chicago Parent
Watermelon Salsa at Chicago Parent
Fourth of July Craft Fun
1. 25 Free Fourth of July Crafts at Fave Crafts
Make a star-studded Americana Mason Jar, Popsicle Stick Flags, Patriotic Luminaries from empty tin cans and more with these fun and pretty crafts.
2. Glowing Fourth of July Table Laterns at Creative Green Living
Old glass jars and glow-sticks combine to make stunning table lanterns for your Fourth of July get-together…you can even add glitter.
3. 100+ pages of Free Fourth of July Printables for Kids from Motherhood on a Dime
Motherhood on a Dime has rounded up tons of patriotic printables, perfect for homeschoolers or families looking for something simple, fun, and educational for kids on Independence Day
4. Fireworks in a Jar at Chicago Parent
This science experiment/craft recreates bursts of firework color with food coloring and a few basic ingredients hiding in your house already.
Fourth of July Fun: Festivals, Fireworks and Events
1. Fireworks in the ‘Burbs Guide at Daily Herald:
Want to know which towns are lighting up the skies when? Check this list.
Viewing tip for the Arlington Heights fireworks: Instead of viewing the fireworks at Arlington International Racecourse, see them for free from Twin Lakes Park in Palatine. Don’t forget the bug spray!
2. Festivals Galore: Guides at Chicago Parent and the Daily Herald
Summer festivals are part of the Fourth of July traditions around Chicagoland, from Arlington Heights’ Frontier Days with free main stage entertainment and family activities and shuttle bus transport, to Red, White and Blue Bargain Day at the Fox River Trolley Museum in South Elgin, with $2 trolley rides.
Money-saving festival tips:
Set a budget before you go, and review the schedule for free entertainment or carnival bargain rides. Also, pack a lunch and set a spending limit per person since it’s easy to blow cash on snacks, crafts, and games.
Have a great and safe Fourth of July this summer!