I’ve been attending Independence Day parades for as long as I can remember. Growing up in California, I always went to the parade with my family. Now that I’m all grown up, I love taking my kids to the parade. It’s fun to watch the variety of floats, bands, animals, and tractors. Yes, we live in an agricultural community, and the tractors are exciting!
However, if you’re not prepared for the parade, what is supposed to be a fun family day can quickly go downhill. I remember one parade where I started to get heat sick, because I was dehydrated. Another time, one of my kids was bored out of his mind waiting for the parade to start.
Fortunately, it’s easy to put together a parade survival kit. What do you need to have a happy 4th of July parade experience? Read on!
Entertainment Before the Parade Begins
Where I live, you need to get to the parade site early to find a good place to sit. That usually means we need to wait an hour between the time we arrive at the parade route and the time the parade begins. An hour is a long time for a child, so it’s best to be prepared with entertainment.
The good news is, kids are generally easy to entertain. I went to Walmart and picked up some Crayola sidewalk chalk for writing in the street ($1.97), a couple of big bubble wands ($1 each), 2 four-packs of TNT Pop-Its noise makers ($2 each), and a four-pack of 4″ x 6″ US Flags for the kids to wave ($1.97). That should keep the kids busy for a long while. And if we run into friends at the parade, there’s enough entertainment to share, all for under $10.
Food and Drink
Never forget to bring food and drinks, especially drinks. If you don’t stay hydrated, you might end up like I did as a kid and find yourself sitting in a cool restaurant, drinking an expensive glass of juice while the parade goes on without you.
I pack along our stainless steel water bottles ($6.88 each at Walmart). The bottles come in different colors, so everyone is assigned a color, and nobody forgets whose bottle belongs to whom. The bottles also have a wide opening, so I fill them with plenty of ice and water.
I’ll also pack some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and other snacks in this cute little lunchbox I had laying around the house. When the kids get hungry, I’ll have something to eat, rather than having to buy expensive snacks from the street vendors.
One thing you should never be without on a hot sunny day is sunscreen. I apply plenty of sunscreen before we leave the house, but I bring some along in case the kids start looking red while we’re at the parade.
I also bought this little spray bottle fan ($7 at Walmart), in case we start getting too hot. I quick cool spray will keep us comfortable until the parade is over.
Finally, make sure you bring your camera, so you can capture the day’s festivities.
I packed everything into this great market basket I found at Walmart for $8. It’s wide open, so everyone can reach what they need, and it collapses for easy storage.
*Disclosure: I am a Walmart Mom. This post is sponsored by Walmart. Walmart has provided me with a gift card and compensation in exchange for my time and efforts in creating this post. My participation is voluntary. As always my opinion is my own.