July 4th is one of the biggest celebration holidays here in the United States. A celebration of this magnitude means fireworks, cookouts, water activities and family fun. But for some families with autism, the loud noises and large social events can be hard. These families often struggle to find ways to celebrate July 4th, without meltdowns and making their child feel uncomfortable. Since Independence Day is this week here are our ten fun ways To help parents with autism here are our ten fun ways families with autism can celebrate July Fourth.
Picnic in the Park
July 4th does not have to be spent around large crowds watching fireworks. Families with autism can easily have a picnic in the park, away from others. I love being able to take my son to the park and lay out a blanket and enjoy the peace and quiet. We have the options to pack our lunch, or even stop by our favorite restaurant and grab some food to go.
Fireworks from Afar
Firework displays are known for large crowds and loud noises. Both which could trigger someone with autism to have a meltdown. Our son loves fireworks but doesn’t not like the big booms and bangs. Therefore, we always chose to watch fireworks from afar. Depending on where your local fireworks are, sometimes you can park in a parking lot or empty field, and still see the show, but the noises will be at a minimum. Also, by watching from afar, you do not have to deal with the heavy traffic as soon as the show is over.
If crowds and noises are not feasible for your family, a movie night is perfect. Some of my favorite movies include; Disney’s Johnny Tremain, The Patriot, National Treasure and 1776 for music fans. Others patriotic flicks include Independence Day and the 2016 Hamilton’s America. Independence Day makes the thrill seekers happy, while Hamilton’s America covers music and dancing. Warning though, this may lead to your own dance party in your living room.
One thing about family cookouts is how low-key they can be. It does not matter if you want steaks, or hamburgers and hot dogs, fun is sure to follow. Another great thing about cookouts is that kids or young adults with autism can help prepare the side dishes. Sometimes, kids will not try new food. By including them in the making of side dishes, that may tempt them to try them too.
Red, White and Blue Crafts Party
While this could be combined with a cookout, how about making a red, white, and blue party. Everyone loves food, and kids love crafts, so this is a win-win for everyone. Kids and young adults with autism, often feel left out of family activities, so gearing a holiday that they can be hands-on with, will make them happy.
Stage a Family Play
Family plays are outside of the standard thinking box for the 4th of July. What I like about plays, is that families can pretend and be silly together. For a successful play, the family does not need to memorize lines, build a set, or even have ideas written out. Everyone can participate, and if you all are feeling adventurous, you can also record your play to watch later. Here are a few great ideas for a play: favorite movie scenes, favorite music songs, or even the storyline of your favorite books.
Plan a Museum Day
Visiting a Museum or two on the 4th of July is also a great way to spend the day. I would recommend history or military geared museums as well as presidential libraries. Our favorites in the L.A area are the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library that has historical reenactments as well as an old Air Force one on display.
Family Road Trip
Family road trips can create long-lasting family memories. Now, for a road trip, you do not have to plan across country adventure. Just a few hours away to a lake or park would work for July 4th. A perfect plan for a road trip would include going to a place that has historical significance during the US War of Independence. Our favorite spots include Boston, Concord Mass, and Philadephia.
Start planning for next year!
Camp or Glamp in a National Park
The US has many incredible national parks. Whether you reside on the East or West Coast as well as anywhere in between there’s bound to be an incredible park you can drive to. The only caveat is you have to book ahead! These places fill fast and book an entire year ahead. So, looking forward to next year, check out the different locations and start booking earlier than later. Our top favorites include Yellowstone, The Grand Tetons, and Yosemite.
Party at a Disney Resort
Yep, I probably saved the best for last! In case that you did not know, Disney has resorts on both United States coasts, and they really know how to throw parties! If your kid is ok with crowds ( some are) and you book in time, you’ll enjoy a memorable family vacation. As a frequent Disney visitor, I can tell you that Disneyworld and Disneyland feature parades and fireworks that are well worth the wait and expense if you can make your reservation in time.
As you well can see, there are so many ways families can celebrate the US Independence Day. With proper planning, parents do not have to subject their kids to uncomfortable situations for them. In fact, they have many ways to include them and make it fun for them too.
How does your family celebrate Independence Day? Please share your ideas!