3 Kids doing a fizzing chalk 4th of July activity

Arts, crafts, and other forms of creative play are a great way to celebrate Independence Day with your preschoolers and/or toddlers. From baking to banner making, chalk art to community celebrations, a variety of Fourth of July activities for preschoolers and toddlers exist to keep your kiddos entertained on this summer holiday. As a messy and sensory play expert, many of these preschool patriotic projects I suggest will involve getting your kiddos’ hands a little bit dirty, ensuring that they’re not just having fun, but also learning along the way! Take a look at the list of Fourth of July projects for preschoolers and toddlers gathered below, as well as a few holiday-themed items you can purchase from Messy Play Kits to make celebrating this season both easy and fun for your family!

Table of Contents - 4th of July Activities

Independence Day Craft Ideas
4th of July Art Projects
4th of July STEM Activities
4th of July Sensory Activities
4th of July Dessert Ideas for Kids
4th of July Projects For Toddlers
Buy 4th of July Activities for Preschoolers & Toddlers

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Independence Day Craft Ideas

There are so many Independence Day craft ideas for preschoolers that will keep your kids focused, while they practice following instructions. Crafts have specific steps and a clear outcome to be achieved. By explaining each step to your children, as well as showing them the final result before they begin, the little ones in your life can visualize and create until they’re satisfied with their work. Remember that they may need reminders of the next step as they go, as well as assistance to execute each one. Depending on the age and developmental stage your children are in, some of these patriotic projects can be completed independently, while others will need significant adult oversight.

Make a Wind Ornament

A blue wind ornament with red and white streamers as a 4th of July activity

With a few cardboard tubes left over from paper towels, paint, glue, string, and/or construction or tissue paper, your kiddos can create a hanging decoration from the window indoors or outdoors!

Hang a Star Banner

Red, white, and blue stars hanging across a string as a July 4 banner

Create your very own star banner with some simple string and cardboard star cutouts! Your kids can paint or color the stars. If they’re older and practicing their letters, they can try writing their names on the stars or words that express what makes them feel free.

Create Sparklers

3 paper 4th of July sparklers made from construction paper and skewers

 Just combine sticks and some cut strips of colorful construction paper for a safer sparkler that your children can wave all night along! Create them with one color or multicolored depending on your child’s preferences. 

Paint a Flag

Child holding a painted flag as a 4th of July activity

Flags can be painted with the traditional colors or with fun alternatives! You can use this activity as a history lesson to teach your children about the flag, like the reason for the 50 stars and 13 stripes, as well as invite them to practice math by counting!

Make a Lantern

Two lanterns made from mason jars and votive candles

Make a lantern by painting a transparent, glass container like a mason jar or a small metal vase. Then simply add small electric tea lights or candles. Use red, white, and blue paint and materials, as well as stars and stripe shapes, to make this into a Fourth of July preschool craft!

Tie-Dye a T-Shirt

Red white and blue tie-dyed shirts for July 4

Tie-dye is always such a fun way to celebrate a holiday. Simply buy white t-shirts and red and blue dye. Twist sections of the t-shirt and secure them with rubber bands. Then dip the individual sections in red or blue dye. Let the dye sit for a while, then rinse your garment. You can then sport your new patriotic craft at holiday parades or other celebrations!

Create a USA Bracelet

A USA-themed bracelet made from rubber bands as a 4th of July activity

The braided band in this picture might be too difficult for toddlers and preschoolers, but a simple string with red, white, and blue beads, stars, or USA letters would definitely make for an easy and age-appropriate Independence Day craft idea.

Make a Paper Rocket

An example of 3 paper rockets as a 4th of July activity

Make a Fourth of July paper rocket with a toilet paper cardboard insert, some construction paper, scissors, and glue. Little ones may need help with the cutting and gluing, but they can surely choose their favorite colors and shapes to include.

4th of July Art Projects

Art with kids is a form of creative play, or recreational experiences without procedures or plans so that they can practice being explorative and spontaneous. These Fourth of July art projects for preschoolers can aid in flexible thinking, resilience, and independence, as your children choose the process that drives their play, as well as the story supporting it! Take a look at the compiled list of Fourth of July art activities for preschoolers and choose the ones that align most with the resources, time, and energy of your family.

Pom Pom Splatter Painting

Paint splats created by pom poms on paper inside a plastic bin

Buy a bag of poms poms, throw them in some watered down red, blue, and white paint, and let your little go wild by throwing or squishing them onto a blank page! They can make their very own fireworks with this Fourth of July art project. If your little one is still putting things into their mouths, then be careful with this activity because poms poms are a choking hazard.

Firework Salad Spinner Painting

Another fun way to create painted fireworks is through salad spinner painting! Cut white cardboard (I use 6” cake rounds!) or paper into a circle then place it at the bottom of your salad spinner. Water down some red, white, and blue non- toxic paint — or whatever other colors your kiddos prefer, drip the paint onto the paper, then place the lid on top and spin away! Stop the spinner, open the lid, and let your little see the firework they created to celebrate the Fourth of July!

Firework Rubber Band Painting

If you don’t have a salad spinner, grab a plastic tray and some large rubber bands. Place a piece of white paper on the tray, then wrap the rubber bands around the tray in whatever positions your kiddo prefers. Paint the rubber bands, then pull the painted bands back and release them, letting them snap on the paper. Watch as a firework scene sky is created before your kiddo’s eyes as they complete this Fourth of July art project!

Firework Spray Bottle Painting

Mix red and blue liquid watercolors with water and pour into easy-trigger spray bottles. Then hang a white sheet outside or in a creative play space and let your kiddos spray the sheet with the Fourth of July themed colors! You can use star stencils too!

Patriotic Raised Salt Painting


This Fourth of July art activity is so fun! Grab some white glue, salt, construction paper, and liquid watercolors. Use the glue to draw firework shapes, stars, or a flag. Sprinkle salt on top of the glue, then shake the extra salt off of the construction paper. Drip the liquid watercolors onto the glue/salt pattern and watch as the colors expand and combine to dye the salt. Then let your masterpiece dry!

Red, White, and Blue Ice Painting 

Hands rubbing paint ice cubes on paper

Combine red, white, and blue paint and water into separate bowls and pour the mixtures into ice cube trays. Let the cubes freeze overnight. Then place them on white paper and let your little ones paint with the ice! Prepare them for the cold and have them use gloves if they find the ice uncomfortable.

4th of July STEM Activities

STEM — or science, technology, engineering, and math — activities introduce your children to basic educational concepts through play. Below are a few Fourth of July STEM activities that combine chemistry, color, and creativity! 

Learn About Fireworks

You can teach your kids all about the history and science of fireworks as a great Fourth of July STEM activity! From how they burn to why they burst, from the chemicals of colors to how shapes are created, learn more about fireworks in this video. Although fireworks are so fun and interesting, always remind your kiddos about firework safety.

Alka Seltzer Rocket Fireworks

This is one of many great Fourth of July science experiments! Gather some safety goggles, old film canisters, Alka Seltzer tablets, and watered down, non-toxic paint. Adult guidance, supervision, and demonstration is imperative for the safety of this STEM activity. Put on your goggles, add some paint and an Alka Seltzer to a film canister, put the cap on, then step aside and wait until the lid blows off the top and creates a small paint firework!

Fizzing Firework Chalk Paint

Combine cornstarch, baking soda, and liquid watercolors. Then add water to the mixture to make it whatever consistency you want. Then use vinegar or citric acid (mixed with water) to spray or drip on your paintings to make them fizz! If you don’t want the hassle of buying all these ingredients and making it from scratch, purchase the Messy Play Kits Fizzing Chalk Paint Kit!

Make Patriotic Slime

July 4th themed slime with red and blue specks and beads

July 4 Slime Recipe Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup of clear glue
  • 4-8 tbsp of liquid starch
  • 1 tbsp water
  • Liquid watercolors (optional)
  • red, white, and blue glitter or beads


Combine the water and colorant with the glue until mixed. Slowly add the liquid starch, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the slime starts to coagulate and pulls away from the edges of the bowl. Put a tiny bit of liquid starch on your hands and scoop the slime out of the bowl, using your hands to finish mixing and kneading it. Your slime should stretch and pull but not break or stick to your hands. Add fun glitter and beads to celebrate this patriotic holiday! The slime in the photo above was made with white glue and no colorant, then decorated with red and blue glitter and patriotic beads. Make this a Fourth of July science experiment by explaining that slime is a non-Newtonian fluid!

4th of July Sensory Activities

My favorite forms of creative play are messy and sensory play. Both promote brain development while your child is having fun! Although most of the arts and crafts projects included on this list include sensory elements, here are a few specific Fourth of July sensory activities to keep your  kids having fun this holiday! 

Make Patriotic Water Beads

red, blue, and clear water beads in a hand

Buy some red, white, and blue water beads to create such a fun 4th of July sensory activity! Just add them to a bowl of water and watch as they absorb it and expand. Remove the beads from the water when they’re at your preferred size. Turn this into a science lesson by teaching your littles about osmosis.

Create 4th of July Sensory Bins

July 4 sensory bin with blue rice

Use a red, white, and blue sensory base like dyed rice or garbanzo beans. Then add all sorts of fun Independence Day themed toys and objects of various textures like felt stars, fabric flags, and a plastic scooper! Let your little ones use of their senses to touch, gather, and create a story of the materials!

Make 4th of July Sensory Bottles

Combine red and blue colored rice with white rice in a bottle, as well as patriotic themed toys and erasers to make a fun 4th of July sensory activity that can be played with at home or carried on road trips and airplane rides for summer vacation! You can also make firework shapes by wiring together small sections of red, white, and blue pipe cleaners, or, adding tinsel pom poms too!

Squish Patriotic Sensory Bags

Paint Bags

Pour red, blue, and white paint inside a bag and let your littles squish it. For extra fun, place paper inside first. After they’re done squishing the paint around, peel the bag open and let the paper dry. You can cut these into cute cards for friends if you’d like!

Oil Bags

Find a clear (or as light in color as possible), edible oil. Add a few drops of red and blue food coloring. Seal the bag shut and let your kid squish them around. The food coloring won’t mix with the oil so they will stay as separate droplets. Turn this into a food science lesson by teaching your little ones why oil and water don’t mix!

Make a Sticky Sensory Paper Scene

Buy white contact paper and stick it on the floor or wall, sticky side out. Offer your child red and blue accessories to stick to it: pompoms, tissue paper, small toys, etc. 

4th of July Dessert Ideas for Kids

Baking and dessert making are other great Independence Day activity ideas for preschoolers and toddlers. Although they can’t participate in parts of the baking process like placing things into hot ovens, they can help to measure, pour, and mix ingredients. Engaging your child in 4th of July dessert ideas like these will aid in your child’s understanding of volume and weight, as well as improve fine motor skills development

Patriotic Craft Ice Cream


 Patriotic craft ice cream ingredients include: 
  • 1 cup of half and half
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 3 cups of crushed ice
  • 1-2 cups of ice cream salt
  • Toppings of your choice
  • Red and blue food coloring
  • 1-3 quart sized plastic sealable bag
  • 1-3 gallon sized plastic sealable bag

Pour the half and half into the small, quart-sized plastic sealable bag. Then add the sugar and vanilla extract into the bag, followed by the toppings. If you want to make ice cream of multiple colors, repeat these steps two more times and add a few drops of the food coloring into the separate bags, making one red, one blue, and leaving the third bag plain (white).

Close the bag by first squishing out the air as much as possible. Dump most of the crushed ice and ice cream salt into the large gallon bag or bags. Then pour the rest of the ice in. Shake the gallon bag so that the ice and salt mix, then place the smaller bag with ice cream ingredients inside the larger bag. Mix, mix, mix it all up until the ice cream becomes your preferred texture. Once the ice cream/s are finished, add your Fourth of July themed toppings like star sprinkles! 

For older kids, turn this activity into a chemistry lesson by teaching them about Freezing Point Depression, or how salt lowers the freezing temperature of ice and water, so the ice cream will get colder faster. 

Bake a Flag Cake

July 4 cake decorated to look like the USA flag with red raspberries and blueberries on white icing

Once the cake is baked, you can invite your child to decorate it with patriotic-themed toppings. Some might want to design an American flag with blueberries and raspberries like the picture above. Or you can mix food coloring into white frosting to make blue and red, then paint the cake! Others may simply want to shake Fourth of July themed sprinkles onto the iced cake for a fun, summer-themed treat.

Sprinkle Patriotic Cupcakes

Red white and blue sprinkle cupcakes for a 4th of July dessert idea

If a cake seems like too much, try cupcakes instead! They can also be decorated with colorful frosting and tasty sprinkles to create a great Independence Day craft!

Frost Fun Cookies

A plate of patriotic iced cookies for a 4th of July Dessert Idea

Sugar cookies are always a great way to celebrate holidays. Just purchase a few Independence Day shaped cookie cutters — like stars, fireworks, or flags — then decorate! Your child may want to be more abstract or realistic in their creative process, so let them decide on how they want to execute this patriotic craft.

Freeze Patriotic Popsicles 

A patriotic 4th of July blueberry and strawberry popsicle

Ingredients for Patriotic Popsicles:

  • 1 cup strawberries or raspberries
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup plain or vanilla greek yogurt
  • Water or other clear liquid

Blend the blueberries in a blender with enough liquid to emulsify and fully liquify them. Then pour the mixture into the bottom of your popsicle molds. Freeze for 30 minutes until mostly solid.

Scoop the yogurt on top and freeze for another 30 minutes. Repeat step one with the red berries, placing them on the top of the popsicle molds. Freeze until they’re fully solid.

You can also make thinner layers and have more stripes! This looks really fun and allows the flavors to mix more as you eat the popsicle, but does involve more time in the freezer between layers.

4th Of July Projects For Toddlers

Child attending a 4th of July parade to participate

Many of the Fourth of July activities included are really for preschoolers and above. As toddlers often are still placing things in their mouths and learning fine motor skills, the Fourth of July projects for toddlers below are more age-appropriate.

Read an Independence Day Book

Books can be a great way to teach children about the history of the holiday. Many books have sensory elements like music and other sounds, as well as things kids can touch. Integrating audio or verbal storytelling with physical sensory stimulation and movement can help children to remember some fun facts about the Fourth of July.

Attend a 4th of July Parade

Independence Day parades can be a great way to connect with your neighbors, eat yummy food, listen to music, and participate in 4th of July projects with your community. If your child is riding a balance bike, tricycle, or two-wheel bicycle, dress it up for the holiday with colorful streamers and flags.

Firework Sponge Painting 

Purchase some star-shaped sponges — or cut some sponges into star shapes — dip them in non-toxic paint and let your little one make a star painting! You can also use food like tomato sauce or blueberry yogurt so that they can eat and paint at the same time.

Firework Stamp Painting

Take the leftover cardboard tube from the toilet paper roll. Then cut the ends to the halfway point into small strips. Bend the ends outward to create a firework shaped stamp. Then have your little one dip the stamp in paint or mushy food and place it on white paper creating their very own and extremely safe fireworks!

Firework Tennis Ball Painting

For a larger scale painting experience, buy some liquid chalk and find some old tennis balls. Hang a large white sheet or butcher paper from an outdoor wall or the garage. Then have your littles dip the tennis balls into the chalk and throw them against the white surface! Firework-shaped splatters will burst before their eyes while they practice developing kinesthetic intelligence.

Body Art Flag Painting

Your little ones can also place safe paint on their hands or feet and then paint stripes with them! Add a big blue box into the upper left corner and some yellow star shapes and you have a body art flag painting.

Squish Fireworks Dough

Buy black dough and add shiny accessories like tinsel, glitter, or pom poms, as well as red, white, and blue star beads to make a patriotic night sky!

Buy 4th of July Activities for Preschoolers & Toddlers

July 4th Activity Pack

The 4th of July Activity Kit with a sensory bottle, mini sensory bin, bubbles, and color-changing dough.

This activity pack contains four engaging activities to enjoy this July 4th!

  • DIY Sensory Bottle
  • 2 color-changing doughs that change color in the sunlight!
  • Bubbles
  • Mini sensory bin with water beads!

Enjoy the sunshine with the photochromic color-changing dough that changes from white to blue and from blue to purple/red! Make the mini sensory bin outside in the water to help keep things cool on a warm day, and use the DIY Sensory Bottle and Bubbles to relax at the end of the day! These activities are sure to spark fun and creativity in your kiddo all day long!

Fizzing Chalk Paint Kits 

Kids playing with the fizzing chalk kit for July 4th

Make your own fizzing chalk paint! This amazing "paint" is so simple to make and so satisfying to play with. Mix up a batch of colorful paint, draw on the sidewalk, and then spray with the citric acid solution to make it fizz! ​​Each kit includes enough materials for one 4 oz batch of paint in a single primary color, plus a paint brush and spray bottle. 

Hi I'm Robin

I'm so glad you're here. I love teaching how to incorporate messy play, sensory fun, and education into playtime!

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