4th of July Activities

Fun for the Whole Gang

4th of July activities abound, but one that's already built into the holiday is, of course, our ever beloved fireworks! In fact, let's start there and work backwards. Plan your night around the grand finale of the light show in the sky. This means having your tote bags packed and ready to go before the party starts. That way, you can enjoy every last minute prior to taking off for the fireworks.

And what should be in that fireworks-viewing tote bag? Per 4 people, load the bag with the following:

  • 1 large blanket or quilt (for sitting)
  • 4 sweatshirts or oversized beach towels (for keeping warm)
  • 1 flashlight (for the walk back)
  • 4 glow necklaces (just because)
  • 1 bag of star sugar cookies (with red, white, and blue sprinkles on top)
  • 4 bottles of water (it's hot out, remember?)

Looking for more to do? There's loads of fun to be had on our Memorial Day Activities page. Still not pooped? 4th of July projects will keep you and your gang happily occupied turning out nifty crafts for the holiday. And don't forget cooking—it's an oh-so-yummy use of time. We've got plenty of recipes for 4th of July food, 4th of July desserts, 4th of July cakes, and 4th of July cupcakes to keep hands busy and tummies full!

Sparkler Painting

photo of outline of two grown-ups and a child made with a lit sparkler

If you haven’t already seen this, it's one of those 4th of July activities that is loads of fun. And you're in impressive company: Picasso created many sparkler paintings and made this technique famous as an art form. All you need is a box of sparklers, a lighter or matches, and a camera. This is a two-person-minimum activity.

Wait for dusk, then light your sparkler and start to draw a picture in the air. You're limited only by your imagination. Try writing your name or just swirl the sparkler around quickly in the air in front of you. As soon as you start to draw have someone take a picture with the flash off.

You may have to try this a few times to get the timing down, but that's half of the fun. Best of all, you'll have a great painting and a fabulous party favor for your guests to take home, too.

Star Scavenger Hunt

cell phone with picture of American flag on the screen

This 4th of July activity is a great way to get everyone in the party mood. Young and old alike can do their part.

Divide your guests into two teams and give each team a big star. Team A gets a red star; team B gets a blue star. You can really gaudy them up with glitter, glitter pens, paint pens, stickers, and streamers.

Each team gets the same list (see below). The objective is to take a picture of each item on the list, making sure the star is in the photo along with the item. The participants can use their phones or standalone digital cameras. Wow, remember the days when all a phone did was allow you to have a conversation?

Everybody gets to share the photos when the hunt is over. The first team to get all the items on the list wins!

Star Scavenger Hunt List

  • Flag
  • Red stripe (other than on a flag)
  • White star (other than on a flag)
  • Uncle Sam (find picture, make your own, or dress someone up)
  • Fireworks or sparklers
  • Barbecue
  • Bald eagle
  • Statue of Liberty (find picture, make your own, or dress someone up)
  • The number 4 (you can't write it)
  • George Washington (find picture, make your own, or dress someone up)
  • Liberty Bell (or any bell)
  • Needle and thread (think Betsy Ross)

Lawn Games

Remember we're working backwards from the end of the night (fireworks) to the afternoon. And what better way to spend your afternoon than passing the time in a little friendly competition. OK, maybe not so friendly...your choice. Create different game sections in your yard or on the beach ahead of time for these 4th of July activities.


Bocce consists of 8 bocci balls, 4 in each color; and 1 smaller ball, called a pallino. 2 or 4 people can play. Each person/team gets 4 balls. One player takes the pallino ball and tosses it approximately 50-75 feet. Each person/team takes turns trying to throw their ball closest to the pallino ball without touching it. The closest ball gets 1 point. The winner of this 4th of July game is the first one to get to 16 points.


Horseshoes or ring toss consists of 2 stakes and 4 horseshoes or rings. Place the stakes approximately 45 feet apart. Stand at one end (behind a stake) and take turns tossing at the opposite stake. As 4th of July activities go, scoring can be a bit tricky with this one, so you may want to read up on it before your guests arrive. In a nutshell, though, it works like this: A ringer is 3 points; closest horseshoe or ring is 1 point; and if one player has the closest 2 tosses, he or she gets 2 points for each instead of 1. First person to reach 20 points wins.


This is one of those rare 4th of July activities that requires a large watermelon, and one that's definitely not seedless! Draw a line in the sand or stand on the edge of a deck, and just spit away. Think pitching pennies, only more disgusting. Eating enough watermelon to have enough seeds to spit counts as something healthy, so now you're ready for your 4th of July desserts!

Return from 4th of July Activities
to 4th of July Celebrations

list of holidays in the fall

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for a boo-tiful party!

black martini
witch's brew

Crunchy party snacks,
yummy party fare!

chestnuts & pals
pumpkin seeds