July 4th Pinwheels & Fireworks :: Last-Minute Crafts for Independence Day

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I greatly admire those friends of mine who are always prepared. You know the ones. They make school lunches the night (or week) before; they carry an extra set of clothes with them; and they always remember holidays. I’m lucky to remember my child’s lunch as we’re walking out the door.

Despite the fact that red, white, and blue threw up all over every single store since Easter, the Fourth of July still somehow managed to sneak up on me. Luckily, there are two easy crafts that can not only give my child a taste of the holiday theme, but also serve as last-minute decorations.

Pinwheel, Pinwheel, Spinning Around…

red white blue pinwheel
Pinwheels serve as fun decor that kids can play with when they’re bored.

Pinwheels are surprisingly easy to make. All you need is a piece of paper, a hole punch, scissors, a straw or pencil, and a brad or thumbtack.

First, make sure your piece of paper is square. If you’re starting out with an 8.5 x 11″ piece of paper, take the top left corner and fold it down and across, making a triangle. Cut off the excess strip at the bottom. When you unfold the triangle, you’ll now have a square.

Note: I used a piece of paper with a blue print on one side. I opted not to decorate the flip side because I wanted it to be white and blue with a red brad in the middle. If you use a plain piece of paper, your child can decorate one or both sides. If you use a piece of paper that is printed on only one side, your child can decorate the flip side, or you can glue another printed piece of paper to the back so that you have a double-sided print.

Once you have a square piece of paper, fold the top left corner down and across, making a triangle (which is already done if you followed the step above). Unfold it and do the same with the top right corner. The creases should now make four equilateral triangles.

Next, punch a hole in the top left corner of each triangle (keep rotating the paper around so that each triangle has a turn at the top – this helps ensure your holes are in the right place). Then, punch a hole in the center of the square, where the four triangles meet.

Cut on each crease/fold line until you get about 1/2″ away from the center hole.IMG_3171

Take each corner that has the punched hole and bring it to the center of the square, lining up all five holes. Then, put a brad through the five holes, securing the pinwheel’s shape.

IMG_3175

From here, I take a red straw (you know those really pretty paper ones?), punch a hole in one of its sides and use the center brad to secure the pinwheel to the straw. Some people choose, instead of using a brad, to put a thumbtack in the center of the pinwheel, pushing it into the eraser end of a pencil. Because my kiddo is young, I prefer the brad method.

Voila! You’ve occupied the kids AND made holiday decor. Or you could pick up a plastic pinwheel at the dollar store. 😉

Painted Fireworks

All you need for this one is paper, leftover paint, and a plastic (or regular – but not fine china!) fork.

Provide your child with a palette of different colored paints (red and blue are great – if you have them on hand). Dip the tines of the fork into one color and press the tines on the paper, dragging the fork away from the center. Repeat with the same color, moving in a circle. Then, repeat the process with another color to make multicolored fireworks. If you have glitter, it makes a nice sparkly touch before the paint dries.

painted fireworks
Not all Fourth of July fireworks have to be red, white & blue. Especially when you don’t have red paint at home.

It may not have the same wow factor as real fireworks, but it’s a lot safer – and quieter!

Do you have a super fun and easy July 4th craft your kids love? Tell us about it! 

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The new mom of a baby boy, Cheryl Glantz Nail started her blogging and freelance writing career in 2008. She has written articles for several blogs and websites, including 24/Savvy and InterfaithFamily.com. Shortly after moving to Columbia, she turned her love of content writing and social media into a career in communications, currently serving as the Community Relations Director for a local non-profit. Prior to this career change, she enjoyed 10 years in education, both in the classroom and as a curriculum developer. When she isn't in front of her computer or wiping up baby drool, Cheryl can be found curled up with a young adult novel and a bowl of mint chocolate chip ice cream, looking at cats on Instagram, or attempting to be artsy. She blogs at Take a Second Glantz (www.secondglantz.com/blog), trolls Pinterest for recipes she'll probably never cook, and sleep tweets during late-night feedings.

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