How to Explain 4th of July to Kids: A Picnic Activity

Updated on June 25, 2013

In the Beginning....

You are going to be initiated as a great 4thof July story teller. Good stories sometimes use props. Gather the kids and the props around the picnic table and begin the story of how Relish emancipated America from King Ketchup of Great Britain.

You Can Explain the Whole Revolutionary War Using Condiments

The Declaration of Independence.
The Declaration of Independence.

You Will Need

  • Ketchup
  • Mustard
  • Relish
  • Plastic Spoons
  • Plastic Forks
  • Napkins
  • 10 Pennies for Each Child
  • and... Onion Ring for a Crown (optional)

Gather the kids around the table with the supplies and begin your story outlined below.

Fourth of July Story

"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 other’s what to do, 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.

Unrealistic Demands...

The children are giving the King of Great Britain, seen here as Ketchup with a crown of an Onion Ring, their taxes.
The children are giving the King of Great Britain, seen here as Ketchup with a crown of an Onion Ring, their taxes.

Fourth of July History

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 desert because you must give it to me!"

Demonstration: Have the King, um, the ketchup bottle go around and take 2 more pennies. And the desert, apple pie!

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 desert 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.

No Taxation Without Representation!

Colonists upset with the King of Great Britain for taking their pennies and apple pie.
Colonists upset with the King of Great Britain for taking their pennies and apple pie.

Fourth of July History for Kids

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.

Demonstrate: Line up the spoons as the Colonist's against the forks as the Britain's. If you have time to prepare you can draw faces to represent the soldiers.

The Revulutionary War is About to Begin

(See how serious my kids are... they are really getting into the story.)  King Ketchup of England is fighting against George Washington, as Relish.
(See how serious my kids are... they are really getting into the story.) King Ketchup of England is fighting against George Washington, as Relish.

Independence Day for Kids

The American Revolution was the war that began between the colonists (spoons) and the Britain’s (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 Britain’s.

Demonstrate: 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 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.

The Kids Will Enjoy This Part of the Story.

The kids will love this part of the demonstration. Note: As a parent you probably won't.  Unless of course you are drunk or are eccentric.  You are the one who has read this so you can leave this step out if you want to, and they will never know.
The kids will love this part of the demonstration. Note: As a parent you probably won't. Unless of course you are drunk or are eccentric. You are the one who has read this so you can leave this step out if you want to, and they will never know.

Ready... Aim... Fire!

George Washington as Relish, supporting the colonists, Spoons, to fight against King Ketchup and the Forks.
George Washington as Relish, supporting the colonists, Spoons, to fight against King Ketchup and the Forks.

History of Fourth of July Celebrations

Relish, George Washington was the driving force behind organizing and fighting against the Britain’s. He was in the trenches with the spoons, um troops and taught them how to fight. Unlike the King, George the relish listen to other’s 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.

Demonstrate: 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.

Demonstrate: 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 gain their freedom from King Ketchup and his Forks.

Happy 4th of July! Let’s eat some pie!

Thomas Jefferson as Mustard, writing the Declaration of Independence.

If you have the big fancy napkin, because you wanted to impress your family and friends this holiday with your tableware, you can write the whole word, "FREEDOM."
If you have the big fancy napkin, because you wanted to impress your family and friends this holiday with your tableware, you can write the whole word, "FREEDOM."

© Copyright Carly Sullens 2012. All Rights Reserved.

Questions & Answers

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      • sarahspradlin profile image

        Sarah Spradlin 6 months ago from Little Rock, Arkansas

        This is so cute... how did you think of this?

      • CarlySullens profile image
        Author

        CarlySullens 4 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

        I appreciate all your comments. I was out all day celebrating the 4th of July with my kids and family all day. It is so exciting and special to get HOTD for this hub, because I worked on it with my children. Thank you all for your comments.

      • ComfortB profile image

        Comfort Babatola 4 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

        Hope I'm not too late to say congrats on your HOTD award. Well deserved! Enjoyed reading your very interesting hub. :)

      • torrilynn profile image

        torrilynn 4 years ago

        Hi Carly, i think that this is a great way to get kids interested in history and wanting to learn more. Voted up and shared!

      • Your Cousins profile image

        Your Cousins 4 years ago from Atlanta, GA

        I relish the opportunity to share this creative HOTD, which gives kids a great way to ketchup on their history!

      • KawikaChann profile image

        KawikaChann 4 years ago from Northwest, Hawaii, Anykine place

        Awesome Carly, great delivery and worth becoming a 4th of July family tradition. Congrats on HOTD! Welcome to the HOTD club!! Up/Awe/follow. Peace. Kawi.

      • truthfornow profile image

        truthfornow 4 years ago from New Orleans, LA

        A fun and neat way to teach some history. Very creative.

      • Kathryn Stratford profile image

        Kathryn 4 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

        I was curious about this before I even realized that you won HOTD. Congrats! This is a very creative, entertaining, and fun hub on something that would be educational for children here in the USA to learn. I really enjoyed the sprinkles of humor in it!

        Great job. Happy 4th of July!

        ~ Kathryn

      • rebeccamealey profile image

        Rebecca Mealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

        Congratulations! Well deserved honor!

      • rose-the planner profile image

        rose-the planner 4 years ago from Toronto, Ontario-Canada

        Congratulations on HOTD and Happy 4th of July from all your friends to the north! I thought this was an awesome idea and story. I totally love your images and the children are so darn cute! Thanks for sharing. (Voted Up) -Rose

      • RTalloni profile image

        RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

        I was expecting this, for sure! Congrats on your Hub of the Day award--how nice that it came right on the 4th so we can highlight it with comments today. Pinned to my Patriotic Holiday/... board.

      • thumbi7 profile image

        JR Krishna 4 years ago from India

        Congratulations on the hub of the day. It is a fun activity to keep the children engaged.

        By doing this they also learn the history of your country in an enjoyable manner and the memory is sure to be retained!

      • Nancy Owens profile image

        Nancy Owens 4 years ago from USA

        Congratulations on having this hub chosen as a Hub of the Day! This is a really fun and creative learning activity that children will remember for years to come.

        It is so important, especially in this day and age to remember how we came to be as a nation and to remember the basis of the American Dream.

      • Musadiq Khan profile image

        Musadiq Rahim 4 years ago from Islamabad, Pakistan

        A creative way indeed :)

      • Thelma Alberts profile image

        Thelma Alberts 4 years ago from Germany

        Congrats on the Hub Of The Day award! This is indeed a great story telling idea. I love this and I enjoyed reading this. Thanks for sharing.

      • deepateresa profile image

        DEEPA JOHN 4 years ago from Trivandrum, Kerala,India

        gReat Idea... keep up the good work

      • marion langley profile image

        marion langley 4 years ago from The Study

        I am very much looking forward to this ketchup relish war this forth of july! Thank-you for writing the catalist to the history lesson this holiday season. :-)

      • CarlySullens profile image
        Author

        CarlySullens 4 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

        Thanks Toyasting.

      • Toytasting profile image

        Toy Tasting 4 years ago from Mumbai

        Carly, this is awesome. I really like the idea.

      • CarlySullens profile image
        Author

        CarlySullens 4 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

        RTalloni, you had me smiling with your comment. We, ate it up too! Even the pie. Glad you liked it. Thank you very much.

      • RTalloni profile image

        RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

        Well now, I do believe that is the most creative retelling of how we got the 4th of July as a patriotic holiday that I have ever read. Why, I ate it up! King Ketchup, however, can't hold a candle to your cute kids. :)

      • CarlySullens profile image
        Author

        CarlySullens 4 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

        Thank you Rebecca. My kids and I had a lot of fun doing this together.

      • rebeccamealey profile image

        Rebecca Mealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

        REAL cute, and so fresh and original. Thanks for a good share. Shared for the upcoming holiday.

      • CarlySullens profile image
        Author

        CarlySullens 5 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

        Thanks Mama Kim 8, I have great ideas for the little ones too...

      • Mama Kim 8 profile image

        Sasha Kim 5 years ago

        This is great! ^_^ I will re-visit this hub when my kids are a little older.

      • CarlySullens profile image
        Author

        CarlySullens 5 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

        Thank you Randomcreative!

      • randomcreative profile image

        Rose Clearfield 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

        What a great topic for a hub! I love your ideas and all of the photos that you included.

      • profile image

        Andrew 5 years ago

        Love it!

      • Julie DeNeen profile image

        Blurter of Indiscretions 5 years ago from Clinton CT

        Yes Love it! It's a great story and your kids are hysterical!!!! :)

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