Fun Fourth of July Picnic Ideas

Declare your independence from a hot grill this July Fourth. Gather the gang for a make-ahead meal and games, then spread your blanket, kick back, and focus on the fireworks.

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Make It a Day

Tara Donne

Make It a Day

Plan your day around the main event: the picnic! Prepping most of your food the night before will help you relax and enjoy a full day of fun with the entire family.

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Chicken Hummus Wraps

Tara Donne

Chicken Hummus Wraps

Sub in rotisserie chicken if you're short on time. For a patriotic presentation, wrap each sandwich in a strip of red, white, or blue paper and tie with colorful twine.

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Great Grains Salad

Tara Donne

Great Grains Salad

Toss together a healthy mixture that keeps well all day long.

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Broccoli Mac 'n' Cheese Salad

Tara Donne

Broccoli Mac 'n' Cheese Salad

Transport this salad -- a fresh update on macaroni -- to your picnic in a cooler and bring to room temperature a half hour before serving.

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Red Velvet Summer Trifle

Tara Donne

Red Velvet Summer Trifle

This festive dessert is durable enough for travel and, even better, can be made a day ahead. You can make it all from scratch or use a cake mix.

Recipe by Stephana Bottom

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Rosemary Lemonade

Tara Donne

Rosemary Lemonade

Keep the lemon mixture chilled until picnic time. Don't forget the ice!

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Can Toss Game

Tara Donne

Can Toss Game

What You'll Need:
Can (rinsed clean and label removed)
Drill and 1/4" drill bit (or hammer and 1/4"-diameter nail)
Colored duct tape
1/4"-diameter threaded rod (20" to 36" long)
1/4" locking nut
Two 1/4" washers
1/4" wing nut
Small balls

Make It:

  1. Using a drill with a 1/4" bit or a hammer and 1/4"-diameter nail, puncture a hole in center of bottom of can.
  2. Decorate can with strips of colored duct tape.
  3. Thread locking nut onto end of threaded rod, then thread on a washer.
  4. Slide rod through the hole you made, so washer and locking nut are inside the can.
  5. Slide remaining washer onto rod on outside of can.
  6. Thread wing nut onto rod; tighten as much as possible. Repeat steps with cans of different sizes.

To Play:
Spike cans into ground and mark a line for throwers to stand behind. Give each player an equal number of balls on their turn. Award one point for each ball they get into a large can, two for medium-size ones, and three for the smallest (and most challenging) cans.

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Pin-Worthy Ribbons

Tara Donne

Pin-Worthy Ribbons

Three cupcake-liner sizes form these patriotic badges: candy cup, mini cupcake, and full-size. Use scissors to fringe the ruffled sides; flatten and stack a variety of papers to form each. Secure with double-stick tape. Stick a bar pin to the back with duct or electrical tape.

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Patriotic Pinwheels

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Wonder Wands

Tara Donne

Wonder Wands

These DIY wands will entertain your kids twice: first as they create them, later as they play with them. To make, cut wooden dowels to 14 inches and screw a small eye hook into one end. Kids can decorate with washi tape and knot on ribbons for the streamers.

Originally published in the July 2015 issue of Parents magazine.