Mini Marching Band
Join the big parade or stomp around the backyard to the beat of this recycled coffee can.
Drum: Trace a 10½-inch circle on a Tyvek sheet (we used a mailing envelope) and cut it out. Lay the circle over the open end of a 27.8-ounce coffee can. Secure it about 2 inches from the rim with rubber bands.
Pull the Tyvek taut and trim the excess. Use strips of clear tape to hold the Tyvek in place and remove the rubber bands.
Cover the edges of the Tyvek with colored duct tape, using a single strip around the perimeter of the can. Use more duct tape to embellish the rest of the can. Measure and cut a length of ribbon for the neck strap and knot its ends. Tape the ribbon ends (just above the knots) to the side of the drum.
Mallet: Cut the neck from a 12-inch balloon. Stuff the remaining piece with half a paper towel sheet. Squeeze a bit of white glue into the balloon and insert the tapered end of a chopstick. Secure it with a strip of duct tape and let it dry.
United We Stand Game
A steady hand leads to success in this carnival-inspired challenge, in which players try to set a bottle upright using a ring on a string.
Use red and blue washi or decorative tape to embellish two 18-inch wooden dowels (we cut a 3-foot dowel in half), two cleaned and dried plastic bottles (we used 12-ounce soda bottles), and both rings of a 3-inch embroidery hoop (we bought ours at a craft store for $2.50). Use one color for each 3-piece set.
Tie each hoop to its matching dowel with a 28-inch length of string. Place ½ cup rice in each of the two ziplock bags. Add 12 drops red food coloring to one, blue to the other.
Seal each bag and shake until the rice is evenly tinted. Snip off a corner of each bag and funnel the rice into its matching bottle. Screw on the caps.
To play: Mark spaces on a flat playing surface with child-size hula hoops or use chalk to draw two 24-inch circles. Lay a bottle in the center of each. At “Go,” players use their rods to right their bottles.
If a player’s bottle rolls out of the circle, he must retrieve it and start over. The first to stand his bottle up wins.
Red, White and cool Cubes
Tricolored spritzers offer a refreshing way to celebrate the Fourth. Make several trays of ice cubes with beverages colored red, white and blue. (We used cranberry juice, water and Powerade Mountain Berry Blast.) To serve, place the cubes in separate buckets and let guests make their own drinks with plain seltzer.
Hats Off to America
Set up a crafting station where you can turn plastic cups into custom caps, and creative sparks are sure to fly. Along with 18-ounce disposable cups, we put out sparkly pipe cleaners, pom-poms, card stock, glue dots, tacky glue and tape. If you like, you can print our templates for brims at
familyfunmag.com/printables. To keep hats on heads, cut 18-inch lengths of elastic beading cord and knot the ends. Use duct tape to secure the ends, just below the knots, to the inside of the cups.