The Fourth of July typically is the first holiday during kids' summer vacation. And by now, they're bored.
Here are three simple crafts that can involve them in preparations for the holiday's fireworks and picnics. Not only do you keep them busy, but you get decorations to reuse year after year.
"There's so much enthusiasm around this holiday," says Amanda Kingloff of New York City, author of "Project Kid: 100 Ingenious Crafts for Family Fun" (Artisan, 2014), who appreciates the inflexible color palette: It's red, white and blue — or nothing.
"Christmas has morphed into any color combination. What's trending in Christmas this year? It might be silver and gold," says Kingloff. "With July Fourth, you do not leave the path of red, white and blue."
Her book helps kids stay busy all summer — some projects are intentionally complicated. Like the yarn birdcage, they'll take time and patience to complete.
For Independence Day, she recommends two simple crafts: firework flowers and stars and stripes bunting.
The flowers take minutes to make, and the essential supplies are just cupcake liners and straws. Directions are below.
"Once a kid can use scissors they can do this project," says Kingloff.
The bunting requires no measuring: Cut out triangles from paper or fabric; Kingloff cuts 5-by-6-inch triangles from canvas drop cloth. Punch large or small stars out of thick, plastic-coated freezer paper, and either iron them on or the freezer-paper stencil to the fabric. Then paint it. Use painter's tape to mark out and paint thick and thin stripes. After the paint has dried, glue string or cord to the top back edge of each triangle, leaving at least 2 inches of string on either end for hanging.
The freezer paper provides crisper lines than a store-bought stencil, Kingloff says.