What do your kids know about the Fourth of July? Do they know it’s a day when you have a barbecue, spend time with friends and neighbors, and watch a fireworks show? These hallmarks of the holiday certainly do make it fun and memorable, but they don’t really exemplify why we celebrate the Fourth of July, the anniversary of when the United States declared its independence from Britain.
So, along with the sparklers and hot dogs, here are a few fun facts about Independence Day you can share with your kids to help them understand the significance of the holiday.
The Fourth of July marks our country’s independence because it’s when the Continental Congress ratified the Declaration of Independence. This fact might seem like a no-brainer, but it contextualizes the holiday for kids. It’s a great jumping-off point to talk about why the United States wanted to be its own country, what the Continental Congress was, what the Declaration of Independence said, and what it means to “ratify” something.
Two future presidents signed the Declaration of Independence: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. They both died exactly 50 years later, on July 4, 1826. This fact is an interesting coincidence sure to fascinate both kids and adults. It’s also a great way to introduce kids to some of the Founding Fathers and share how they helped shape the United States today.
In 1776, the year the United States was founded, only 2.5 million people lived here. Today, the U.S. population is 331 million. Lots of people have been born in the United States since it was founded, and millions more came here from other places, hoping to find a better life. Many succeeded, too. Many people want to call this country home!
On the Fourth of July, around 155 million hot dogs are eaten in the United States. Okay, so this fact might not have anything to do with American history, but it’s still pretty funny! If anything, the fact that we have so many hot dogs to eat on that day is evidence of the prosperity so many people enjoy in the United States of America.