We are so lucky to live close a historic downtown that hosts a 4th of July parade each year. It’s just a great community parade with Boy Scouts, church floats, firemen tossing out candy, and nothing really special but a lot of small town fun all the same. It is, however, hot as Hades. So even though we won’t be at the parade this year, I started thinking about what could make it an easier experience. Maybe you can use these ideas at your hometown parade!
Any public event comes with certain challenges that can make it tougher to enjoy what should be relaxing family time. My husband calls it “the hassle factor.” Here are my tips on how to take those 4th of July parade challenges more fun.
1. The parking is far away from the parade route.
“How much fuuuuurther?” I don’t want to hear that either. That’s why we’ve kept our little red wagon long after the girls have outgrown it. They don’t care that their knees bump when they’re riding in the wagon. They’re just happy to be pulled by Daddy. If your kids are still stroller age, that may be your default, but the wagon will give them more freedom, which will feel better on a sticky July day. And when your little ones’ legs get tired, they can plop back down in their wagon seats.
Come back tomorrow for my tassel tutorial — they’re made from dollar store plastic table covers!
2. You have to go early to get a good spot.
Early arrival means bored kids, which means hungry kids. I used blue gingham sacks from The Sugar Diva to hold snacks. Just insert your snacks and fold over the top, then seal it with double-sided tape and a free party circle from The TomKat Studio. Even though the snacks were just our everyday munchies, the girls were all sorts of excited at finding out what their surprise was. Dole out the snacks one at a time to build the suspense and keep them entertained until the parade starts.
3. The candy-gathering gets competitive.
Dollar Tree to the rescue! I found small red pails, two for $1. Personalizing the pails with names and fireworks took just minutes. I just used a white paint pen, then added more party circles from The TomKat Studio to dress the pails up a little more. Now when the parade participants toss out candy, the kids have a place to stash their loot.
4. It is hot, hot, hot.
Children get dehydrated easily, so $1 more at Dollar Tree will get you an extra large water bottle with a handle and spout. No spills, easy to hold. I also decorated these with the girls’ initials and more fireworks.
5. The air is still and stuffy.
Make your own fans! I used a printable from Skip to My Lou to turn paper plates and plastic forks into festive fans. I’ll have the tutorial up on Wednesday.
6. You’ll want to dress the part.
Independence Day is one of those holidays where it’s just fun to dress your little ones up. I packed one more surprise for each girl in the gingham sacks: patriotic necklaces from one of the daily deal sites. (I wish I knew who made these; I’d love to give credit, because they are really cute!) Pick up a little accessory in the Target dollar spot, or find something on Etsy, but either way it’s fun to give your children a little something extra they can be proud to wear at the parade.