As the nation prepares to honor the Fourth of July with parades, parties, and special ceremonies, get ready to celebrate Independence Day in your classroom and beyond with fun, patriotic, educational activities. Help kids grasp the history and significance of the Fourth of July as we celebrate this honorable day this summer.
What is the Fourth of July in the US?
Independence Day, also referred to as the Fourth of July or July Fourth, is an American federal holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. On this day, the Continental Congress declared that the thirteen American colonies regarded themselves as a new nation, the United States of America, and were no longer part of the British Empire. The Fourth of July is commonly associated with parades, fireworks, barbecues, concerts, and ceremonies all celebrating the history and independence of America.
How Do Students Benefit from Studying the Fourth of July?
The Fourth of July is America’s birthday. Learning about the birth and history of our country helps students gain a better understanding of what it means to be an American. In America, people have freedom because on Independence Day our country’s founders signed an agreement that meant we no longer had to follow the rules of the King of England and Scotland. Honoring and studying this national holiday will help kids understand and feel more connected to their country.
Educational Activities to Celebrate the Fourth of July
Celebrate Independence Day in your classroom, virtually, or at-home with these educational activities.
Fourth of July Births and Deaths (Grades 6-8)
As we celebrate the birth of America on the Fourth of July, this date also coincides with the death of three Founding Father Presidents, as well as the birth of the 30th President of the United States. For this activity, kids will use their research skills to figure out which U.S. Presidents died on Independence Day and which one was born. Here is an example of a writing prompt.
- Three of the five Founding Father Presidents died on the Independence Day anniversary. Use your research skills to figure out who these Presidents are. Then write a paragraph explaining if you think this was a coincidence.
- Which United States President was born on the Fourth of July? Name that President and write a few facts about him.
Fourth of July Online Scavenger Hunt (Grades 3-12)
Kids of all ages can become super sleuths in a patriotic, online Forth of July scavenger hunt. To begin, split them into small teams and have them work together in breakout rooms to scour the internet for answers to the scavenger hunt. Be sure to set a specific time limit, and once the time is up, everyone must all meet back as a class to reveal their answers. Here are a few ideas for questions.
- Which President of the United Sates of America was born on the Fourth of July?
- Many towns and cities set these off on the Fourth of July; what are they?
- Who wrote the Star-Spangled Banner?
- Which President of the United States of America died on July 4, 1981?
Assign a “What If” Presentation (Grades 6-12)
What if the Declaration of Independence was never signed? How would America be different today? Challenge students to write an essay answering these questions. Students should use historical facts from research and get creative when writing their essay. Once they have written their essay, they are to create a short Flipgrid presentation stating their reasons how America would be different today if the Declaration of Independence was never signed. This activity is especially useful for virtual learning.
Visit Philadelphia’s Virtual Online Tour (Grades K-12)
Help kids remember the history behind the Fourth of July by virtually checking out ionic sites on Philadelphia’s virtual tour. Make sure to highlight important places such as Independence Hall where the Declaration of Independence was signed, as well as other important landmarks, such as the Liberty Bell and the Betsy Ross house.
Watch the Declaration of Independence (Grades K-5)
Young children can learn about the Declaration of Independence by watching a short video that announces the beginning of the United States of America. Remote kids can then go off into breakout rooms to discuss what they learned in the video, or in-class students can get into small groups or discuss with a shoulder partner. Then, students can come back together as a class to talk about what they discussed in the groups. After the class discussion, assign students to fill in a graphic organizer that shows four facts they learned from the video.
Show a Music Video (Grades 6-12)
Another exciting way to learn about the Fourth of July is to show children a music video. Too Late to Apologize: A Declaration is a song parody of Thomas Jefferson singing about the Declaration of Independence and why he wrote it. If showing in the classroom, make sure you stop at several points in the video to explain things and ask students to guess who they think the people are portraying. After the video, divide kids into small groups and give each group a handout of the song lyrics. Instruct students to work in their groups to answer the following questions about the video and lyrics.
- List specific laws and events that the lyrics “There’s no fair trials, no trade, no liberties, no tea,” are referring to.
- What is your favorite line from the lyrics?
- Name all of the historical figures that are being represented in the video.
- List all of the symbols of the American Revolution.
Learn the Science behind Fireworks (3-12)
The Fourth of July is known for celebrating and honoring America with fireworks. But do you know how they work? For this activity, kids will learn how fireworks work by going to the website Wonderopolis to read about them and watch a short video. Then, kids can take the wonder word challenge as well as test their knowledge to see how much they learned about the science behind fireworks. This activity is perfect for all grade levels and ages and can be completed through virtual instruction.