The Fourth of July is one of those special holidays that’s perfect for a traditional family barbecue. However, when you invite your neighbors and all your best friends, you transform that great backyard barbecue into a huge party, one that everyone will be talking about for weeks to come. This year, make it even more special by preparing some fun games for your guests to enjoy before night falls and your attention turns to the sky for fireworks. You can make any of these games with just a few supplies, and there are plenty of fun ways to entertain both adults and children. Get out your notepad and start your list so you can prepare an amazingly entertaining backyard party for the Fourth of July.
Fourth of July Scavenger Hunt
Everyone loves a scavenger hunt, so why not make a fun game specific to the Fourth of July? You can download and print pre-made lists like this one, or you can make your own. Try including all the different things that the kiddos will find at the party, then hand out the lists and watch them run around having fun. You can also make this more adult-friendly by including a few adult beverages or more mature topics of conversation as some of the categories.
Have a few prizes handy for those that complete the list. A special Fourth of July dessert would make a great prize, or you can pick up some fun outdoor toys at your local dollar store for easy prizes. Whether you keep this one just for the kids, or you decide to include the whole party in the afternoon scavenger hunt, it’s a great way to enjoy the day while you wait for the sun to set and for the fireworks to light up the sky.
The kids love Easter Egg hunts, so try this version that’s perfect for the Fourth of July. Hit the dollar store and pick up a bunch of those inexpensive American Flags, then number each flag and hide them all over the yard, but be sure to make a list of each flag’s number and where it’s located. Give each kid a notepad and a pencil, then tell them not to take the flags, but to write down the number and corresponding location of each. The first kiddo to find all the flags wins a prize. Or you can make a word game out of it, and tag each flag with both a letter and a number, using the letters to spell out any word or phrase of your choosing. When the kids find all the letters, the numbers will indicate the order of the letters, and the first one to figure out the special phrase is the winner. Then treat everyone to an ice cream sundae bar or other special treat for a job well done.
Uncle Sam Hats
Sometimes it’s best to give the kids a craft and let them enjoy a few hours playtime on their own. You can set up a special Uncle Sam Hat craft table complete with construction paper, star cutouts, markers, glitter, glue and all the craft supplies needed to create an Uncle Sam hat of their very own. Give the kids an hour or two to make their own hats, then let them parade their fantastically patriotic new creations for the parents in a special Fourth of July parade. It’s also a great photo opportunity for the parents, and all the kids get a fun handmade souvenir to take home as a reminder of the awesome barbecue they were at for the Fourth of July.
American History Trivia Challenge
Don’t leave the adults out of the days’ festivities, either. Set up a trivia challenge filled with questions about American history. You can compete in teams, or everyone can go for it on their own, and make sure to find the perfect charismatic host to run the trivia challenge. You can even pick up cheap bells or buzzers at your local dollar store and set up the event just like a game show. If you want to really go the extra mile for this one, try creating a DVD mix of American history-related clips from different movies as bonus questions for the game, or even use the DVD to display each question and answer. This can be done with a little bit of creativity and some basic movie editing software like iMovie or Windows Movie Maker, or go really simple and use Power Point. Then set up a computer projector in your backyard and project the game show onto a white sheet, and you’ll have your own backyard patriotic game show.
Every summer, tossing games pop up in backyards and bars all over the country. It’s a fun way to enjoy a little sporty activity while the adults enjoy an ice-cold beer. You can make your own using one of those inexpensive blue tarps from the sporting goods section of your local department store. Pick up some red and white duct tape and a football while you are there, then simply cut out some holes all over the tarp and line each hole with the red and white tape. Use some paint or a marker to identify a point value for each hole, making sure the smaller holes are worth more. When the tarp board is ready, simply string it up in the backyard between a couple of trees and sit back as you watch everyone attempt to throw the football through the holes to win points. If you want to make sure the football doesn’t go too far, hang a second tarp without any holes in it a few yards behind the first, to prevent having to chase down the football every few minutes.
Deborah Flomberg is a theater professional, freelance writer and Denver native. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.