In my college days, I spent the Fourth of July playing True American. (Any fellow "New Girl" fans out there?) We had to play multiple years in a row to perfect our version of the drinking game, of course.
Now, we're all spread out across the world and there are little ones running around in the picture. I'm still down to host the party - but a family-friendly one this time.
When the festive summer day rolls around, channel your patriotic spirit with these Fourth of July games and activities:
1. Break out the classic party games
Take a trip down memory lane and set up classic outdoor games. Corn hole, relay races, potato sack races, tug-of-war, ring toss, water balloon fights and pie-eating contests will bring out the kid in all of your guests - and the actual kids will have a ball, too. If it's an adults-only party, the red solo cups can make an appearance for some good old-fashioned beer pong, flip cup and other drinking games.
2. Take part in America's favorite pastime
Round up the baseball fans for some friendly competition! If you have the room, feel free to host an entire game of baseball. Otherwise, Better Homes & Gardens suggested incorporating the sport by having a baseball throwing contest.
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3. Snap some festive pics
Reserve an area to hang a festive backdrop, creating a pop-up photo booth to capture those Instagram-worthy moments. Whether hand-crafted or store-bought, don't forget to include some red-and-white-blue props. Fan favorites include hats, glasses, paper mustaches, balloons and sparklers.
4. Set up a craft table
Keep the kids entertained with a craft area stocked with all the supplies they need to get creative at the Fourth of July gathering. Bonus points for letting them help you create do-it-yourself decor ahead of the party. If you need some inspiration, check out these easy Fourth of July craft guides from Good Housekeeping, including patriotic suncatchers, confetti poppers, paper flowers and wreaths.
5. Create a bike decoration station
While you're in the creative spirit, why not set the kids up with supplies to retrofit their wheels? They can show off their festive bikes around the neighborhood, and maybe even participate in a Fourth of July parade. Parents magazine offered some tips to keep the decorations fun but also out of harm's way from moving parts.
6. Have a splash
If you're among the lucky homeowners with a pool in the backyard, tell everyone to wear their suits because there's no better time to have a pool party. Make it festive with red, white and blue pool floats and toys. When in doubt, sprinkle the pool with balloons and it's party time.
7. Make food part of the fun
All these games are sure to work up an appetite. Don't forget the festive dishes to complement the entertainment. If you have a fire pit in your backyard, you're basically required to set out the s'mores fixings. Go all out and create a gourmet s'mores bar, complete with fancy chocolates, fruit and maybe even some homemade marshmallows. Handle the Heat has a whole guide to help you pull it off.
8. Watch the fireworks finale
There's bound to be a fireworks show in your neighborhood - and you might even be able to see them from your own backyard. All you need are some chairs, blankets and pillows to create a comfy viewing spot. If you can't see the fireworks from where you are, pack up the party and head to your local Fourth of July gathering to watch the sky light up in celebratory fashion.
If you haven't already, hosting a summer party is the perfect reason to prep your home for the season. And also a good excuse to revisit your backyard decor and finally install those outdoor ceiling fans.
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