Learning doesn't stop because schools close for the summer. Parents can keep their children engaged with 4th of July arts and crafts. Some projects are simple but fun; others a little more scientific. More crafts embed science and computer coding, but not all coding projects require a computer. In celebration of Independence Day, here are a few projects kids can play with, or at least try.
Build a July 4th Freedom Kite
Online and retail stores sell kite-making kits for children, including toddlers, but some children enjoy kite building from the ground up. Although this particular DIY kite project is geared to fourth graders, older children and adults will also enjoy making and flying this 4th of July Freedom Kite. The required materials are relatively inexpensive:
—One 24-inch wooden dowel
—One 20-inch wooden dowel
—Red, white and blue paper cut into at least 26"x 26" pieces
—String, twine or fishing line
There are different ways to construct this kite. Parents and children can work together, or children can work as a group under adult supervision. This Independence Day project is quite immersive.
Launch a Canister Rocket
Create the rocket's red glare without real fireworks by using Alka-Seltzer and H20 to fuel the rocket. Although this Science Bob project does not require tons of rocket science, several rounds of testing might be needed before a successful launch. When the rocket does go off, there's a loud POP! Here's what it takes for this canister spacecraft experiment (better suited to older children):
—One empty 35mm white plastic film canister and lid. You can buy film canisters from a photo development or art supply shop (Or you can shop the Science Bob online store for canisters at $7.95 each)
—One Alka-Seltzer tablet (In the name of science, parents might like the idea of substituting an antacid tablet for a regular allowance)
—Plain bottled or clear tap water
—Safety goggles (protective eye gear for the project)
Although assembling this rocket is relatively simple, for safety reasons novice rocketeers should work with a science teacher or adult mentor. After a few successful launches, junior scientists and artists can figure out ways to apply red, white and blue touches.
Block UV Rays with UV Beads
Want to be sure your sunglasses effectively block harmful UV (ultraviolet) rays? Place a few UV beads on or under the lenses and watch the reaction under sunlight or a UV light bulb. Also called "solar energy beads," these translucent beads contain photochromic dye. The beads change color when in contact with ultraviolet light and also glow in the dark. String a few together as a bracelet or necklace and notice the changes in color. Do the beads become a July 4th mosaic of red, white and blue? This art/science project is suitable for young and older children. Retail and educational supply stores sell solar energy plastic beads.
Code a Designer LED Dress
In the LED Dress Project, computer code is used to generate patterns, color, measurements and animated movements. Creating designer wear from computer algorithms is definitely a learning curve that's worth the fun. First, select the dress size and other specs from dropdown lists. Then move the LED dress pattern onto a workspace. Making the dress light up in July 4th colors will take some doing, but pink, white and blue might be acceptable. The LED dress is a creative project that introduces teens to the art and science of algorithms.
Do LEGO Computer Coding
If your kids love building things with LEGOs, they would certainly be candidates for LEGO computer coding. Many children already know how to use the iPad, iPod, laptops, smartphones and other digital devices. An interesting coding project is an alphabetic binary table for a July 4th decoration, built from LEGO bricks, beads, straws and other ordinary materials. For an example, see the Christmas Coding Ornament.