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Happy birthday, America!

June 30, 2008

by Jenni Sebora

Fourth of July, Independence Day, is the day we celebrate our nation’s birthday. It is the anniversary of the day on which Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

Independence Day was first celebrated in Philadelphia on July 8, 1776, and in 1941, Congress declared July 4 a legal holiday, according to www.apples4teachers.com.

Some celebrate it as a day to enjoy life and liberty, friends and family.

The website noted that John Adams, one of the founding fathers, said, “I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward for evermore.”

It seems the tradition carries. Many flock to hometown parades and festivals, to picnics and barbecues, to parks and lakes to enjoy pomp and parade, games and festivities, food and folly, relaxation and camaraderie, ending with a fireworks display, big or small.

These traditions are shared with many or few in the name of life and liberty. May we always remember the ones who brought and continue to bring us these liberties and freedom.

Create a USA handprint wreath using red, white and blue construction paper or paint, scissors and glue.

Either trace your child’s hand onto paper and cut out the handprints or make handprints on the paper with the paint and then cut those prints out.

Make nine handprints of each color (red, white and blue) or more or less if you like. Cut out and arrange to form a wreath. Glue and decorate as desired with such embellishments as glitter, small flags, stickers, photos, pom poms, etc.

(idea source: www.dltk-kids.com)

Make a cascading star mobile with your children using paper stars (thick paper, such as cardstock for the stars) a drinking straw and yarn (about one and one half feet of yarn).

Draw and cut out six stars of different sizes from the thick paper. Poke a small hole in the center of each star – this is where you will thread the yarn through.

Cut the straw into about one and one half inch long segments. Five segments of straw are needed for the mobile.

Cut a piece of yarn about two feet long and tie a thick knot at one end of the yarn. Thread the smallest star though the other end of the yarn pushing it down to the knot. Then thread a segment of straw, pushing it down to the small star.

Continue this process, threading stars and straw pieces. When the last star – the biggest star, has been threaded onto the yarn, tie a large loop at the end to allow you to hang it if youwish.

(source: www.enchantedlearning.com)

Enjoy some patriotic snacks. Indulge in some white popcorn and red licorice in a blue decorated Styrofoam cup. Keep it simple. Enjoy some blueberries, strawberries and bananas topped with some whipped topping.

In true birthday style, bake a patriotic birthday cake or cupcakes with your children. Bake white cupcakes and top with whipped topping or vanilla frosting. Add blueberries for the stars and strawberries or licorice strips for the stripes.

Then light some candles and sing happy birthday to America and/or sing some other patriotic songs.

Have a wonderful birthday celebration.