I wasn't quite sure what our 4th would look like this year. Due to social distancing, the intense heat, and the fact that none of us have felt well the last couple of days (allergies!!!), I knew we'd be staying home and mostly inside. But that doesn't preclude fun.
Our first activity was inspired by Hamilton. We had been listening to the music from Hamilton all week (due to the Disney+ release on July 3) and we had discussed many aspects of the American Revolution and the early years of our country. I happened to see an escape room activity pack for the American Revolution on Teachers Pay Teachers and decided to go for it. I should note that this particular pack is designated for 7th through 10th graders, which is an older age bracket than any of my children. However, we live just outside of Washington, D.C., visit Mount Vernon regularly, vacation in Rhode Island and love Colonial Williamsburg, so my kids basically live and breathe all things early American History. This packet was very doable for them.
There were seven puzzles for the girls to solve. Each puzzle would provide some sort of code. At the end, we used a QR code that came with the packet to enter the codes and check if we had in fact escaped King George. The tasks included jigsaw puzzles with hidden clues (which 6-year-old Anne was quite capable of helping with), identifying which soldiers should be quartered in which buildings, and figuring out the order of items subject to the stamp tax. When they were working on quartering soldiers, Meg immediately set up a chart to identify which groups were eliminated or required to be in certain structures. I was impressed.
The girls had been studying various techniques using YouTube videos as well as the booklet that came with our kit. While they had definite ideas, I reminded them this was our first time tie dyeing, so they shouldn't get too set on creating a particular look. After all, isn't the uniqueness of tie dye that it is not perfectly controlled.
I gave each of the girls two shirts to dye. Prior to mixing our dye, they bunched the t-shirts and placed any rubber bands they wanted. I set up our foldable table and covered it carefully with garbage bags and paper towels. Then the girls went to work with the dye. Yikes!
After a little rest, we then worked on our next activity--food. As I wrote about in an earlier post, we went to an orchard and had quite a few tart cherries and blueberries. Imagine my joy when I found a recipe that called for both. It gets better. The recipe came from a great book called Eat Your U.S. History Homework and it focused on the Colonial period. The dish was "Colonial Cherry-Berry Grunt"--apparently, "grunt" is a Colonial term for cobbler. While the recipe called for canned cherry pie filling, I used this recipe to turn our fresh cherries into homemade pie filling.
Of course every good cobbler needs ice cream on top. Why use store bought ice cream when you make your kids shake cream in ziplock bags?! Eat Your U.S. History Homework also has a recipe for "Independence Ice Cream." Using a small ziplock bag of ingredients inside of a large ziplock bag of ice and rock salt, the girls tried to shake their way to ice cream. They eventually got tired and we resort to using a hand mixer. But regardless, we ended up with some very tasty ice cream.