Looking for ways to keep friends and family busy at your Fourth of July get-together? Simple craft projects are a great way to pass the time and can be enjoyed by guests of all ages.
What's better than a craft you can eat? Homemade ice cream sandwiches look festive and taste refreshing on a hot summer's day. For each sandwich, you'll need two cookies. Prepackaged ones work fine, but large, home-baked chocolate chip cookies make this project especially tasty. Lay one cookie upside-down on your work surface. Scoop on some just slightly softened ice cream, and top that with the other cookie. Push the cookie down gently until the ice cream begins to squish out the sides a bit. Pick up the cookie sandwich and roll the sides along a plate of red, white and blue sprinkles, so the confections stick to the ice cream. Admire your work for a moment, then eat it before the ice cream melts!
Sparklers can be unsafe for small hands, so add some glittery fun to your party in another way. Cut off the bottom third of a sturdy disposable cup. Tie a deflated balloon closed, and cut off the tip. Stretch the cut end of the balloon over the top of the cup. Red or blue cups and balloons will give this craft a patriotic look. Add star stickers to the cup for even more festive decorations. When your project is finished, drop a glittery pom pom into the cup. Hold the shooter with one hand, and pull back on the balloon with the other. Let go of the balloon, and your pom pom firework will fly into the sky.
An outdoor party provides just the right setting for a messy project on which everyone can collaborate. Hang a plain bed sheet to use as your canvas for this fireworks painting. Make sponge balls by cutting kitchen sponges into strips. Gather the strips together, tie them tightly with string, and fluff them out into a ball shape. Guests can dip the balls into paint and throw them at the sheet. By the end of the party, you should have a bright, colorful fireworks collage.
Independence Day Cracker
Crackers or poppers are a British Christmas tradition, but you can make a simple American version for a Fourth of July activity. Start with an empty toilet paper tube or half of a paper towel tube. Cut a sheet of tissue paper about four inches wider than the tube. Wrap it around the roll a few times, securing it with double-sided tape, and twist one end shut. Wrap a pipe cleaner around the twist to hold it in place, and curl the ends around a pencil. Fill the tube with small treats, then use another pipe cleaner to close up the other end. Decorate the cracker with stickers or sequins, then give it to another party-goer to pop open and enjoy.
Work together on a project that will decorate your party area after the sun sets. Cut festive designs, such as stars or rockets, from the sides of paper lunch sacks. Alternatively, you can use a decorative hole punch to make designs along the tops of the bags. Place the cut sacks around the edges of the yard, and pour two cups of sand into each one to make sure they stand up. Put a tealight candle in each bag, and when dusk falls, light the candles.
Meghan Ross is a freelance writer covering all things home and living. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.
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