With this holiday only a few weeks away, many families are planning their July 4th fun. When your child(ren) are old enough, how do you tell them about our Fourth of July holiday? When they are very young, it is about grilling out, fireworks shows, and long weekends. Our 5-year-old inquired about this recently, and I told her this is the date we celebrate winning our independence as a country. This, of course, made no sense to her at all. So I wondered, what is the best way to explain this holiday to a small child?
Some suggest starting with the Declaration of Independence since July 4th is a commemoration of this document being signed and put into place. You can read and explain it to your child and answer any questions. Keep in mind that they may or may not grasp the importance. While the Declaration of Independence is very significant, we chose to focus on the word “freedom” when teaching about Independence Day. What it means, what it includes, and a bit about how we won it.
There are some great videos out there too. School House Rock’s musical lesson about July 4th is concise and entertaining, in addition to FreeSchool “Why We Celebrate the Fourth of July” for older elementary age, and Wiki for Kids at Cool School “July 4th – Independence Day.” I also found an episode of Liberty’s Kids (episode 114) called The First Fourth of July” that was fun for kids and still informative.
Older children can really begin to understand the reason behind the holiday and may have questions. Do not be afraid to look up things with them! Parents are not Encyclopedias, and I personally feel that teaching a child to seek out information both online and in books leads them to develop the ability and tendency to continue this on their own when old enough, thus keeping themselves informed.
So, while your family is planning and attending fun events this holiday, take some time to teach them about our Independence Day. And from our families to yours, Happy Fourth of July!