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10 Festive Ways to Celebrate the Fourth of July—Without Leaving Your House

Who said you had to go out for Independence Day? From hosting your own creative party to creating a backyard oasis, there are a slew of ways to make the holiday amazing right where you are.

Young black boy holding flag at 4th July family gardenmonkeybusinessimages/Getty Images

Celebrate the Fourth Safely

While we know the holiday might look a little different this year, we bet you’ll still want to celebrate it—safely. COVID-19 may have put a damper on large social gatherings and indoor festivities, but there are plenty of ways to enjoy the patriotic holiday without ever leaving your backyard. With some outdoor space, internet connection, and a little imagination—the world is your oyster! Whip out the fireworks (and learn these fascinating things about firecrackers you never knew) and toast to the founding of the Nation! Celebrate the Fourth and flatten the curve by using this guide.


Boost your basic BBQ

If you didn’t get invited to a party this year—or if parties aren’t safe due to social distancing guidelines—host your own! You can even take it up a notch from the same old hot dogs and burgers on the grill. Host a bake-off and invite your family to make their favorite recipe in a specified category—then vote on a winner (maybe even create a trophy and make it an annual tradition). Feeling brave? Host an Independence Day reenactment. (If you have kids, this is a good time for them to practice researching). Need inspiration? Try one of these 14 perfect Fourth of July appetizers.

Movie night at back yardM_a_y_a/Getty Images

Watch a movie under the stars

Enjoy the time at home celebrating your favorite traditions, but after the sun goes down, consider getting a projector and outdoor screen to watch a movie. Pop some popcorn and make some s’mores. These family-friendly films are perfect for the Fourth!

Family watching a virtual tour on laptopFG Trade/Getty Images

Revisit history through a virtual tour

If you’re hoping to learn a little more history this Independence Day, try taking a virtual tour of some of the Nation’s most impressive collections and locations. Gather the family around the computer and take a vote on what tour might interest you. Maybe try the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, The Museum of Flight, National Women’s History Museum, NASA, The American Battlefield Trust Virtual Battlefield Tours, or any number of others. What better time to learn about the country than on the Fourth! Can’t decide? Try one of these 15 virtual tours of American landmarks.

Friends Celebrating 4th Of July Holiday With Backyard Partymonkeybusinessimages/Getty Images

Create a backyard oasis

Make your backyard THE place to be this Independence Day. Create a theme—host your own carnival, have an adult slip ‘n’ slide, kiddie pools to soak away the heat, and fun games. Think of all of the summer activities you like the best and include them. Decorate in a unique way to make it a fun day for you, your family, and friends. Don’t have a backyard? Talk to your landlord about using your rooftop, find a park nearby, or even turn your apartment or house into the most amazing holiday space! Serve these Fourth of July drinks to ensure your party is a success.

Watching online showsDragonImages/Getty Images

Enjoy the alone time

Though summer is supposed to be a time to unwind and relax, it seems that the calendar stays just as full as ever. Check your schedule to see if the Fourth of July might be one of the only days you have one hundred percent free to dedicate to your spouse or family. If so, maybe shirk the traditions and have a special date night or family night to spend time with the people you love.

Father and sonvorDa/Getty Images

Rewrite the Declaration of Independence for the America you want to see

History is never over—we are writing it every single day. Take this time to read over the Declaration with your family (or go over the highlights) and then talk about what the Founding Fathers had in mind. Next, talk to your family about the ideals you think they should have included. There has never been a more important time to talk about our Nation’s history, for better and for worse, and envision the world you want to live in. The whole family can rewrite a version of the document for your home and take the historic document into the present. Take a moment to discuss the world as it stands, maybe even read one of these 13 books about race to your family.

Family Camping in BackyardLOUISE BEAUMONT/Getty Images

Go camping…in your own yard

Set up tents, a fire pit, and “live off the land” from the comfort of your own backyard. Enjoy a night under the stars and outdoor cooking with your family. Having inclement weather, but still want to have a little fun? Create forts, get out your sleeping bags, and have a camp out indoors!

Young boys (3 yrs and 6yrs) in capes playing in backyardMoMo Productions/Getty Images

Let the kids plan the day

Have kids? Let them plan what you’re going to do. Set a budget, give them some guidance if they need it, and let them plan a fun Fourth of July for you at your home.

Happy extended family having fun while playing table tennis in the backyard.skynesher/Getty Images

Have a sports-a-thon

It’s time for some friendly competition! Set up a volleyball and badminton net, invest in corn hole equipment, and toss around a few hula hoops. Make sure all ages you’ll have at your house will have a sport to participate in. If your family and guests are interested, have a friendly competition with fun prizes. You’ll feel like you live in the nicest small town in America.

Grandmother and grandson knitting togetherRicardoImagen/Getty Images

Give back and craft

Not one to spend your time out in the heat? Thanksgiving and Christmas aren’t the only holidays where you should have others in mind. This is a great opportunity to reach out to your favorite charity to find out about any in kind needs they may have. Knit hats and blankets for babies, put together bags of toiletries for shelters, write letters to military personnel overseas, etc. Find a volunteer opportunity that’s meaningful to you, your friends, and families and make this a memorable holiday because you did something for others!

If you’re on a Fourth kick, keep learning with the surprising reason we set off fireworks on the Fourth of July!

Julia K. Porter
Dr. Julia Porter has worked in Higher Education since 2008, following a career as a High School teacher in Brooklyn, NY. She holds a PhD in Global Leadership from Indiana Tech, an MA in English Literature from Brooklyn College, and a BS in English Education from Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis (IUPUI). She lives in Indiana with her husband, daughter, and rambunctious Australian Shepherd.