How to Explain 4th of July to Kids: A Picnic Activity
You Can Explain the Whole Revolutionary War Using Condiments
You are going to be initiated as a great 4th of July storyteller. Good stories sometimes use props. Gather the kids and the props (see below) around the picnic table and begin the story of how Relish emancipated America from King Ketchup of Great Britain.
You Will Need
- Plastic Spoons
- Plastic Forks
- 10 Pennies for Each Child
- (optional) an Onion Ring for a Crown
Gather the kids around the table with the supplies and begin your story outlined below.
Fourth of July Story and History for Kids
"One day, there was a King of Great Britain. He is represented here as the ketchup bottle."
Demonstration: If you have an onion ring, you can place it as a crown on his head.
"Well, this king would go around and tell others what to do, what to say, and what to believe in. He told everyone that you must give me 5 of your pennies."
Demonstration: Have the ketchup bottle walk to each child and take 5 pennies. If a child resists, jokingly send them to the dungeon. If you are a dysfunctional family, you can jokingly say, "Off with your head!"
"So some brave people left Great Britain on a large ship and came to America. They settled in and created towns. They created a community kind of like the one we live in now. But the King kept saying, 'I don’t care if you are over there or here, I still rule and you still need to give me your pennies. And I have made yet another rule you must follow. And that is no one here tonight can have dessert because you must give it to me!'"
Demonstration: Have the King, um, the ketchup bottle go around and take 2 more pennies. And the dessert, apple pie!
No Taxation Without Representation
"So the people in America, also known as the colonists, were getting upset with the King for making more and more rules and taking more and more of their money, also called taxes. And they wanted their dessert because they are the ones who made it. Why should the King get the apple pie? The apples are from their trees that they grew, picked, and washed. They made the pie, and they should be the ones to eat it, not the King."
"With no apple pie and little pennies, the colonists started to get mad. They no longer wanted the King—who was living all the way over in Great Britain or in condiment land—to rule what was happening in their country. So they told the King, errr, Ketchup that they are going to be independent, which means they can take care of themselves and make their own rules. They declared war to get their freedom from Ketchup! But we know that Ketchup is a strong King, and he wouldn't let go that easily. So he sent the forks to fight the colonists."
Demonstration: Line up the spoons as the colonists against the forks as the British. If you have time to prepare, you can draw faces to represent the soldiers.
The Revolutionary War Is About to Begin
"The American Revolution was the war that began between the colonists (spoons) and the British (forks). The colonists strongly believed that they should be independent from the Ketchup and fought hard to be free from the king’s rules. Relish, also known as George Washington, became a strong leader to fight against the forks, I mean the British."
Demonstration: Relish telling the spoons what to do and how to best attack the forks. If you have been drinking a lot by this time in your holiday, or if you are extremely eccentric, you can scoop some of the relish onto a spoon and teach the kids how to flick the relish at the forks and ketchup.
"Relish, George Washington, was the driving force behind organizing and fighting against the British. He was in the trenches with the spoons, um troops, and taught them how to fight. Unlike the King, George, the relish listened to others, even the colonists, and used their ideas to better everyone.
In the end, the war was won by the colonists and Relish! They were no longer told what to do from Ketchup."
Demonstration: The forks and ketchup returning to another part of the table.
"Thomas Jefferson, also seen here as Mustard, wrote down on paper that the colonists in America will no longer be governed by Britain. This very special paper is called the Declaration of Independence."
Demonstration: Using mustard, write the word ‘FREE’ on a napkin. If you bought the extra-large fancy napkin because it was on sale, you can probably write ‘FREEDOM.’
"It was on this very day on July 4, 1776 that America gained its independence from Britain. Now there was no ketchup to tell them what to do. Now they can make and eat their own apple pie. Now they can work hard, and their pennies will not go to a country that they do not even live in.
And that, kids, is how Relish, Mustard, and Spoons gained their freedom from King Ketchup and his Forks.
Happy 4th of July! Let’s eat some pie!"
© 2012 Carly Sullens