Can you believe summer has settled in to stay for a while? And just around the corner is one of our favorite holidays: The Fourth of July. Our nation actually declared its independence from England on July 2, 1776. But the Declaration of Independence was not agreed upon and signed until July 4th.  And so our great nation has celebrated our independence on this fourth day of the seventh month every year since.

The history of our nation’s birth is a fascinating read and a testament to the bravery and intelligence of the men and women who fought for liberty, justice, and the pursuit of happiness. Here, then, are seven ways to honor their memory and celebrate the Fourth of July with your children:

1. Write Your Own Declaration
Start off by reading the Declaration of Independence with your child. You can find a picture of it here and a copy of the words here. Sam Fink also has a great book titled, The Declaration Of Independence: The Words That Made America, explaining the words of the document in terms that kids can understand.

Read Related: A Latino 4th of July

Talk about what the word “declaration” means, then ask your child to write his own declaration and have everyone sign it at the bottom. Don’t forget to date it at the top, just like the original! Teach your child about virtues and encourage her to list some virtues in her declaration. And to make it even more authentic, roll it up like a scroll or parchment and tie it off with a ribbon.

7 Fun Family Activities to Celebrate July 4th 2. Read About Our Founding Fathers
There are SO MANY fantastic books out now for kids about our Founding Fathers. Some of my favorites include the picture book biographies by David Adler, as well as the Who Was….? series, which includes very informative, yet engaging and easy to read biographies on George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and even Paul Revere.

3. Make Your Own Liberty Bell
“Proclaim LIBERTY throughout the Land unto all the Inhabitants thereof.”  So reads the inscription on our country’s Liberty Bell. Originally ordered from English bell makers to be part of the 50th anniversary celebration of William Penn’s 1701 Charter of Privileges (Pennsylvania’s original Constitution), the Liberty Bell quickly became a part of history as it helped to call together the people for important announcements including the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence. The poor bell repeatedly cracked and was recast three times before its final crack permanently disabled it while ringing on George Washington’s birthday in 1846. You can read more about the bell’s fascitating history here. Then help your children create their own Liberty Bell following these instructions.

7 Fun Family Activities to Celebrate July 4th 4. Decorate the Table
There are lots of ideas online for creating patriotic centerpieces. We love these Sand Centerpieces on Café Mom, and these Patriotic Paper Lollies from Make and Takes. These Popsicle Stick American Flags would be great for decorating individual place settings, and these Holiday Lanterns from Martha Stewart would be a festive addition to the surrounding walls.

5. Jazz Up the Entryway
Kids love decorating the entrance to their home as much as the next person. Why not invite company into your home with some homemade décor like this easy 4th of July Wreath or this Uncle Sam Door Hanger? Doorways may benefit from tri-colored garlands, and porches come alive with decorations like these Confetti Popper Rockets from AlphaMom.

7 Fun Family Activities to Celebrate July 4th 6. Make It In the Kitchen
Red, white, and blue foods can be easy to find and even easier to make.  Fruits, jello, and whipped cream are some of the basic ingredients to Fourth of July success in my book. But if you need ideas, Oopsey Daisy blog has what I think is one of the best collections of Fourth of July-themed recipes.

7. Make a Keepsake
Create a special piece that your family can use every year to celebrate the Fourth of July. You might choose a plain white tablecloth and have guests sign and date it every year. This makes for a great conversation piece, as well as a wonderful way to remember the people you love. Families with small children may prefer a one-time keepsake such as this Framed Flag Print.

¡Feliz cumpleaños, America!