Teaching Kids the Meaning of 4th of July

The Internet, books and films can teach kids to appreciate history

Fourth of July videos, books and news articles for kids are some of the materials parents can use to help children understand the significance of the holiday.

While July 4th is filled with fireworks, parades and picnics, the kids may not fully grasp why. The same goes for when parents take kids out to see the local high school band, floats and fire engines. on the holiday. Afterwards, families go home and fire up the grill in preparation for enjoying the rest of the day with friends and loved ones. The day ends with spectacular displays of fireworks and the kids holding sparklers in the dark.

What gets lost in all this activity is the meaning behind the Fourth of July celebrations. Help kids understand why Americans celebrate this day, also known as Independence Day with the tips that follow. 

1
Watch Fourth of July-Oriented Movies

mother and daughter celebrating July 4th
Ariel Skelley/Blend Images/Getty Images

Whether your kids are young or old, there are some great movies to watch about Independence Day. If you have family and friends over, everyone can watch together. If movie watching doesn't fit into your holiday schedule, you can watch the day before and talk to the kids about what took place in the movies.

Top Ten Movies for the Fourth of July
There is quite a bit of variety in these movies, most of which are for teens and adults. Two favorites on the list are "1776," a musical about the writing and adoption of the Declaration of Independence, and "The Patriot" with Mel Gibson.

2
Read Some Books

Pay a visit to the local library or bookstore and grab one or more of these children's books about the Fourth of July.

3
Watch Fourth of July Videos and Take Some Quizzes

You don't need to go out and buy, rent or borrow books and movies to help your kids learn about Independence Day. You can find some things for the kids to do online.

American Revolution

The Neok12.com site has some interesting educational videos and presentations about the Revolution (including one from Sesame Street). There are also quizzes and a way for the kids to create their own pictures and text presentations about the Revolution!  (For kids in fifth grade and up.)

This is a brief history of Independence Day that you and the kids can read. Then you can take the quiz and see how much you remember!

4
Surf the Internet

There are many great websites where kids and adults alike can go and learn about the American Revolution and the meaning of July 4th. Here are some of the best: 

The American Revolution

The History Place: The Declaration of Independence
This site is really cool!  It has a portion of the original draft of the Declaration of Independence written by Thomas Jefferson with edits by John Adams and Benjamin Franklin. There is also a link to an audio file so you can listen to a reading of the Declaration (Did you know it was meant to be read out loud, not read?).

Revolutionary War
This site has short stories about very important people, some of whom you might not have heard about!

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