4th of July Mini Round-Up of Media, Shaping Youth

july-4th-clip-art.gifRemember when games were played rather than viewed; outdoors instead of in? Every year our funky little neighborhood celebrates 4th of July with old-fashioned kids’ lawn games like three-legged races, sack hoppin,’ horseshoes, a water balloon toss and Star Spangled banner salute, run by (you guessed it) yours truly.

From this kids’ 4th of July book list from Daggle, to Common Sense Media’s movie picks, to BlogHer Maria Niles’ music links, and the turnkey quizzes at EduPlace (grades 1-8) I always find myself in the role of sifting and sorting ‘old and new’ media to compile some relevant offerings of family fun. Guess I’m hitting the ‘information overload’ media wall I wrote about here.

There’s only so much media one can consume…freebie screensavers, animated American Greetings, online patriotic dress up ducks (ok, they’re cute, but…huh?) a gazillion 4th of July craft sites and lists (do styrofoam ant sculptures equate to freedom?) music classics, and umpteen ways to use blueberries, strawberries and yogurt in patriotic parfaits.

Fun, yes, but you might want to toss in some factoids, a few arcane trivia stumpers and relevant history into the day, because somehow we need to remind children 4th of July is not just about flag waving, BBQs and blowing things up (much less winning prizes for the biggest bubble).

I’ve had my own bubble burst a few times (one year the ‘gimmes’ were so prevalent I got blue) but it’s worth it to continue the tradition because each year new faces from all over show up to experience ‘Americana’ in our strange little quirky cosmopolitan S.F. Bay area enclave.

Tomorrow, I’ll post international tidbits to show how even the most “American of holidays” has a global twist, from a cool compilation of fun factoids sent to me by global branding guru Darrel Rhea, CEO of Cheskin.

It’s worthwhile to take our America-centric focus into a larger cultural dialogue with kids.

From the invention of gunpowder in a Chinese kitchen 2000 years ago, to the West Indian term ‘barbacoa’ meaning slow cooking meat over hot coals, kids begin to see our global interconnectivity…why freedom matters…and how most EVERY country in the world marks the date they gained independence!

Have a sparkling 4th of July…



  1. Video Gamer says:

    Some obscure factoids

    Thomas Jefferson = Inalienable
    John Adams = Unalienable
    Unalienable is in the Declaration of Independence

    Ben Franklin wanted the national bird to be the turkey

    Thomas Jefferson suggested that there be an armed overthrow of the government in this country every 50 years to ensure the voice of the people is actually heard.

  2. More fun factoids from ClubMom blogger Denise at “Fast Times at Homeschool High” here: http://fasttimes.clubmom.com/fast_times/2007/07/independence-da.html
    (she has a great sidebar of mom bloggers, though I’ve always found those ClubMom e-mails to be ad-driven spam, so must not be using their network right…I love BlogHer where there are tons of moms blogging on family issues a well—Denise, can you enlighten me?)

    She includes, “How sparklers are made” http://blog.nam.org/archives/2007/07/cool_stuff_bein_82.php

    And a huge thanks for directing me to the music list of Maria Niles on BlogHer (who wrote about Springsteen, X, quoted the Wash.Post & more on the ‘patriotic music’ front in an excellent post here: http://blogher.org/node/21796

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