This Fourth of July Have a Kids' Parade in Your Neighborhood!

by tandemonimom

My kids enjoyed being in a parade with their friends, in their own neighborhood, more than any parade they've ever watched.

A Neighborhood 4th of July Parade

Start a new tradition in your neighborhood!

One of the most memorable and enjoyable Independence Days I've ever spent with my kids was the year we participated in our neighborhood's Fourth of July Parade, put on entirely by the kids themselves.

The children of the neighborhood decorated bicycles, scooters, and wagons with streamers, stars, banners, and all manner of patriotic sundries. They all wore red, white, and blue, and decorated themselves too, with hats and headpieces and whatever else they could think of.

Then they all set out around the neighborhood, ringing bicycle bells and shaking noisemakers. Most of the parents walked alongside, and a great time was had by all! 

My two kids, decked out for
the parade. I helped them
decorate her bike
and his Big Wheel.

A lot of the kids had red,
white, and blue balloons tied
to their bikes.

This enterprising young man
built a decorated "float"
to drag behind his bike!

You can see in the background
the street blockades to
ensure the kids have empty
roads to parade upon!

We made stars from
silver and gold pipe cleaners
and fixed them on a
wide headband for my
daughter's headpiece.

Popsicles are the perfect
(and maybe the only) way
to end a parade, especially
if you are wearing a star-
striped construction paper
stovepipe hat!

Planning Your Neighborhood Parade

You'll need to start planning well before the 4th!

1. Find out if you need a permit from your city, or if you can block off part of the streets so the kids can have a safe route to travel. You'll probably want to do this at least a month in advance, maybe two.

2. Start getting people interested at least two weeks before July 4th rolls around. The kids can pass out flyers to the neighbors. This helps not just with getting kids interested in joining the parade, but also in publicizing it so that folks will turn out to watch!

3. Set definite stop and start points, and a planned route to follow.

4. Set a start time, keeping in mind what your July weather is like in your area! Most places will want to start early enough that it's not sweltering, but late enough that people will be up, dressed, and ready to come watch.

5. End at a neighborhood park or someone's big yard (be sure to get permission first!) with lots of shade, and invite everyone to stop for cold drinks and popsicles for the kids.

6. Award prizes for the best costume, best decorated transportation, best decorated pet, most patriotic spirit, oldest and youngest person in the parade ... give as many as you can, so most kids get something!

7. Play Pin the Beard on Uncle Sam or whack a patriotic-themed pinata with the kids, and don't forget the patriotic background music!

Patriotic Costumes

Your kids will liven up the whole parade with these fun costumes!
Uncle Sam Child Costume Child (Large)

Forum Novelties
Only $12.14
Liberty Torch

$23.07  $10.95
Kids Statue of Liberty Patriotic Halloween Costume L Girls Large (810 years)

Red Cheerleader Costume: Toddler's Size 2T-4T

California Costume Collections
Only $25.00
Uncle Sam Set- Vest, Top Hat, Bowtie and Beard Patriotic Costume Accessory

$31.95  $13.39
Uncle Sam Pet Costume, Medium

Rubies Costume Company
$16.99  $7.90

Make Your Own Costumes!

Here are some simple directions to make your own cool patriotic costume for your child to wear in the 4th of July Independence Day Parade in your neighborhood! There are plenty of other costume ideas to try too: The Statue of Liberty, Uncle Sam (or Aunt Samantha!), George Washington, Benjamin Franklin (with a kite!), Betsy Ross, a Minute Man, Thomas Jefferson, a colonial rebel, Molly Pitcher ... so many possibilities!

Patriotic Prizes

If you're organized enough, at the party after the parade you can have a panel of judges (maybe the moms, or some elderly people in your neighborhood will do the honors) and award as many prizes as you can think of! Most patriotic costume, best overall costume, best animal costume, best bicycle decoration, best float or signage, most enthusiastic parader ... the possibilities are endless, so everyone can get a prize! You might think up a few categories beforehand to encourage the kids, and allow the judges to come up with more as they watch the parade, to ensure everyone receives a patriotic prize!

Wear a Patriotic T-shirt!

Paraders and parade watchers alike will enjoy a patriotic t-shirt ... or a hat, or button, or even tennis shoes! Click this cool flag shirt to see it in multiple colors and styles for any age from infant to adult 6XL, plus other fabulous patriotic designs as well on shirts, hats, buttons, and more patriotic paraphernalia!

Patriotic Bandana

Century Novelty
Only $2.71
Glitter Patriotic Tattoos

Century Novelty
Only $13.80
Patriotic Star Bead Necklaces

Century Novelty
Only $2.95
Patriotic Stovepipe Hat

Century Novelty
Only $28.99
Patriotic Flag Pencils (48/PKG)

Only $6.89
7" Patriotic Star Beach Ball Inflate

Century Novelty
Only $2.29

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Updated: 07/01/2011, tandemonimom
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CorreenK on 07/09/2011

All the kids look like they had a blast at your neighborhood parade. Even though I am an adult, I'd sure love one of the star-studded headpieces you made for your daughter ;)

Guest on 07/03/2011

Your neighborhood looks like a fun place for kids :)

Jimmie on 07/02/2011

Old fashioned fun that involves bikes, costumes, and Popsicle! Love it.

Dianne on 07/02/2011

This looks like such fun for the kids! Thanks for featuring my American flag t-shirt

sandyspider on 07/02/2011

Enjoyed the photos and neighborhood parade.

Thom on 07/02/2011

My neighborhood has been doing this for years. We include the cub scouts, boy scouts, girl scouts and usually have a fire engine, police car, and a utility vehicle in the parade. Last year we even had a couple politicians walk in the parade which was a first for our little 1 mile parade route.

ohcaroline on 07/02/2011

This would definitely be a kid's highlight on the 4th of July. Great article and photos.

pkmcr on 07/02/2011

Looks like great fun

lakeerieartists on 07/01/2011

So much fun. Great idea here, Carma. :)

petunia on 07/01/2011

What fun photos! All the children look like they are having a ball! We do have a neighborhood parade - this is our 57th year. The parade includes dogs and a few horses, too. Lots of bicycles. My children loved riding their bikes in the neighborhood parade when they were young. And those of us not in the parade are out in the yard to cheer them on! It won't last 20 minutes, but it's a great tradition.

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