Friday, July 3, 2009

4th of July Ideas

Here is a great list of patriotic ideas from Pioneer Party:

I love the 4th of July! Not only does it remind me that I truly am proud to be an American, it is a great time to be with family, have a picnic or barbeque, watch beautiful fireworks light up the sky, the list could go on and on! I came upon a great list of ideas that might help your party the party to be at this weekend! Thanks to Studio 5 for letting me use this... and if you have ideas or traditions that you love, let us know! Leave a comment and let us know what fun things you have done...

Studio 5 Party, Holiday and Idea Contributor Alisa Bangerter shows how to make it a fun, festive atmosphere.
Invitation Ideas:
• Simple invitations could be printed and attached to small flags. If these need to be mailed, simply roll the flag and mail in mailing tubes.
• A creative invitation would be to fill a balloon with red, white and blue confetti or paper shred and a rolled up invite. Fill the balloon with helium and tie on a ribbon. Attach a small tag that states the recipient must pop the balloon to find the invite. Balloons filled with confetti would also make fun centerpieces the kids could pop at the end of the party or take home as favors.
• Attach a printed invitation to a box of sparklers. Ask the recipient to bring them to the party and at dusk everyone can do fireworks.
• Create a "formal" invitation written in the same language was the Declaration of Independence as an invitation to your barbecue. Print on parchment paper, roll it up and tie it with a ribbon. You could even fold it and use a wax seal on the envelope.
• Attach an invitation to a patriotic photo.
• Be really creative and have someone dress like Uncle Sam, Betsy Ross or the Statue of Liberty and deliver the invitations personally.
• Ask guests to come dressed in red, white and blue.
Table Setting and D├ęcor Ideas:
• Cover tables with white paper and sprinkle red and blue crayons on the table for guests to use. • Tables covered with newspaper and stamped with red and blue stars using acrylic paint can look nice and save on the budget. Newspaper can also be used as sandwich wraps.
• Print the Declaration of Independence on paper and use as placemats or napkin wraps.
• A quick centerpiece would be to fill red or blue sand pails with sand and insert small flags or stars on wire.
• Sprinkle red, white and blue wrapped candy down the center of tables. Another option would be to fill different sized jars and containers with candy and place on tables for easy snacking.
• Hang flags around everywhere or line walkways with them. Place some string or strong fishing line across the area of the barbecue and hang small flags and/or stars from the line. (You could also hang festive paper napkins, fabric triangles, curled ribbons, etc.) This will create a low ceiling effect and add to the atmosphere. Tiny lights and paper lanterns also would add if at dusk.
• Play patriotic music in the background.
• Print coloring pages (patriotic images) for children to color. Place them on the tables. It might be fun to create and print 11x17 (or similar size paper) placemats with patriotic puzzles, trivia, images to color, facts, etc. This is similar to what kids would get in a restaurant.
• Wrap silverware with napkins and a band with a patriotic trivia question or fact on it.
• Have patriotic stickers for kids (and adults!) to decorate their drinking cups with.
• Use inexpensive kitchen towels as napkins. These wash up great and are nice when having messy food such as ribs, sloppy joes, etc.
Creative Food Ideas:
• Place large bowls of popcorn in the center of tables for everyone to snack on while the food is grilling.
• Use flag picks in food such as burgers and sandwiches.
• Serve bottled drinks in an ice filled red wagon. Stick some flags in the ice for a festive touch. An ice filled child size swimming pool is also a great way to serve drinks for a large crowd.
• Wrap bottled drinks and water with customized bottle wraps. If they will be in ice, cover the wrap with clear packing tape.
• Use red apples with blue or white ribbons tied to stems as centerpieces. Place them in baskets, bowls or tiered display pieces to create a fun and tasty edible display.
• Be creative when grilling food. Use circle skewers for kabobs, cut stars out of cheese to melt on burgers, etc.
• Set up an ice cream bar with a variety of red, white and blue toppings and ice creams.
• Serve red, white and blue chips. Terra Chips makes some exotic vegetable chips called: Stripes & Blues. They are made from red sweet potatoes, blue potatoes and candy striped beets. They are found in local grocery stores and are very fun!
• Float a few raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and/or blueberries in a drink jar.
• Set up a cupcake decorating station where everyone can decorate a cupcake or two for desert. Have several icings to choose from and lots of red, white and blue candies and sprinkles for toppings.
• Serve homemade ice cream. You could have a homemade ice cream making contest.
• Ask guests to bring a homemade pie and have a contest. Give a prize to all and then serve the pies for dessert.
• Make star watermelon pops. Simply cut slices of melon and then cut into star shapes using a cookie cutter. Insert a wooden Popsicle stick in the side and freeze.
• Make s'mores over a fire pit using red, white and blue star marshmallows available at grocery stores.
• Serve patriotic floats by scooping vanilla ice cream in red or blue soda. Use three straws in each…red, white and blue!
• Serve red white and blue fruit on skewers. These would also be fun used as drink stirrers.
• A creative way to make a flag using fruit is to alternate strawberries and banana slices on skewers and lay them on a platter side by side to make flag stripes. Thread blueberries on the top of several of the skewers to create the blue portion of the flag when the skewers are set on the platter.
• Take the time to place chips in bowls and buns on platters. Something simple like this can add to the presentation of the food.
• Press the sides of purchased ice cream sandwiches in red, white and blue sprinkles for an easy and quick treat.
• Serve foods in single serving cups such as cut up fruit, salads, etc. This can add a fun dimension to serving the food and even can help control portions.
• Use ice cream cones as serving containers for fruit, salad or candy.
• Use name cards or food picks to identify foods served. Use creative names such as star spangled sloppy joes, patriotic potato salad, liberty lemonade, firecracker chicken, etc.
• Remember to use food coloring in cakes, salads, breads, etc. to create fun red, white and blue looks.
Simple Activity Ideas:
• A fun activity would to give each family (or group of 5-6) a sack with some random items in it. Give the groups 15 minutes to come up with a skit using the items. Have the skits be patriotic in theme and maybe give a specific word or line each must say somewhere in their skits. Have some items in the bags that are red, white and blue or patriotic in nature. These skits are often hilarious and a ton of fun!
• Make cards for someone in the military. It might be nice to have a veteran come and give a little presentation about his/her service for our country.
• Have a karaoke time and make sure to include some patriotic songs.
• Make up a patriotic trivia quiz and give a prize who can answer the most.
• Have readers take turn reading the Declaration of Independence. Have the readers dress the part.
• Hide paper stars or tiny flags all throughout the yard. Have the kids find them and give prizes. • Hold a sidewalk chalk mural contest for the kids. Tell them to draw something patriotic and give prizes.
• Play a game patterned after "Who Wants to be a Millionaire". Create patriotic or American history type questions. This is a lot of fun and can be educational.
• Have a photo station for families or individuals with lots of fun patriotic props.
• A favor packet, bag or basket could be sent home with each family or individual. Place simple items inside such as wrapped patriotic cookies or star shaped rice krispie treats, simple fireworks, handmade patriotic games or puzzles, a copy of the Declaration of Independence, red, white and blue popcorn or other items, etc. Make these simple and inexpensive but a fun surprise for your guests to have. . You could also make grab bags for each child filled with simple activity items, candy etc. and give these at the first of the barbecue.

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