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A road map to the Fourth

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Karis Lim and Lexington Liu

FOURTH FUN Friends Karis Lim and Lexington Liu (pictured, from left), whose mothers are members of the Bellaire Young Mothers, enjoy watching the City of Bellaire's parade every year with a big group. The parade starts at 9 a.m. on the corner of South Rice Ave. and Valerie St.

Buzz Baby is a column about life with little ones. Writer Annie McQueen is a mother of four children under the age of 8.

The Fourth of July is a time for families to come together and celebrate. This month, we decided to share some patriotic events in Houston along with some ideas on how to celebrate the Fourth of July with little ones in tow.

The Lopez family, who live in west Houston, rent a beach house every summer for the Fourth. Their annual Fourth tradition is to make patriotic-themed dishes, including one they call flag fruit pizza. The ingredients needed are sugar cookie dough, cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, strawberries, blueberries, and bananas. 

To make the pizza, they roll out the cookie dough into a rectangle and have a parent help bake it at 350 degrees for around 10 minutes. Once cooled, the kids mix cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract to make the frosting. The younger kids take on the task of spreading the frosting on the cookie while the older ones then arrange blueberries in the upper left corner as stars and use sliced strawberries and bananas to create red and white stripes.

We gathered up a few more ideas on how to celebrate the Fourth as a family. 

Fourth of July craft ideas:

Sadie Teare

FOURTH FAMILY TIME The Fourth is full of kid-friendly activities around town. Pictured is Sadie Teare, at age 2, enjoying Fourth festivities with family.

Patriotic handprints are a neat craft idea to preserve a memory. To make them, use non-toxic paint to paint your baby’s hands, and create red, white, and blue handprints on a piece of paper. Frame it or use it as a decoration on a food table at a Fourth party.

Paper plate tambourines are a great craft to make to bring to your local neighborhood Fourth of July parade. Have your child decorate two paper plates with markers, stickers, or paint. Fill one plate with dried beans or rice and staple the plates together to make a music maker. Do-it-yourself fireworks are also easy and fun. To make them, use colored paper, glitter, and glue to make a fireworks display on paper. Let your child decorate and design their own unique fireworks.

Fourth of July events for families:

Below we compiled a list of free and family friendly Fourth of July events around Houston. Many neighborhoods will host a Fourth of July parade in the morning, where kids can decorate their bikes and trikes in red, white, and blue streamers and decorations. Neighborhood parades are a perfect activity for babies and toddlers to celebrate before naptime.

The City of Bellaire’s Celebration of Independence Parade and Festival
July 4, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
The parade will start at 9 a.m. at South Rice Ave. and Valerie St. The children’s bike parade will start at South Rice Ave. and Evergreen St. Both parades will end at South Rice Ave. and Evergreen St. The festival starts around 9:30 a.m. and will feature live music, food and more on the Great Lawn and in Loftin Park. 

City of West University Place Independence Day Parade
July 4, 8:45 a.m.-10 a.m. 
The parade will start in front of West University Elementary School at 3756 University Blvd. All ages are welcome to attend this family-friendly Fourth event. Following the parade, the celebration continues on at Colonial Park Pool from 9:15 a.m.- 12 p.m. 

Villages Independence Parade
July 4, 10 a.m.
The Villages Independence Day Parade will start at 10 a.m. at Memorial Church of Christ on Gaylord and Echo Lane and continues east on Gaylord to N. Piney Point. The Memorial Villages Police Department will host a fun run and bike ride prior to the parade at 9:45 a.m. (no registration is required).  

Children’s Museum Houston’s Kidpendence Day
July 4, beginning at noon
Join the celebration at Children’s Museum Houston with fun, interactive activities, a Captain America story time, a special salute to troops, and more. General admission: $17 for adults and children; child under age 1: free; senior: $16. Active-duty military enter free.  

Fourth of July Celebration at Bayou Bend Collection & Gardens
July 4, 1-5 p.m.
This annual free festival features music, craft projects, and storyteller David Allen will present an illustrated read-aloud of We Came to America by Faith Ringgold. The first floor of the Bayou Bend house will be open for tours. Limited free parking will be available on-site. Additional parking is available on nearby streets.

Shell’s Freedom Over Texas at Eleanor Tinsley Park
July 4; gates open at 4 p.m.; fireworks will begin at approximately 9:35 p.m.
This year’s headliner is Chris Young, with Yola, TMF formerly of Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, and Chris Walker. Eleanor Tinsley Park, general admission is $10, and children 5 and under are free. Public parking is available in nearby downtown garages. You may want to arrive early or use public transportation to avoid parking congestion.

CityCentre’s Fourth of July Celebration
July 4, 7-10 p.m.
CityCentre Plaza
Gather the family for a spectacular free fireworks show in the heart of CityCentre. Parking is available in the nearby parking garages.


Remember, fireworks can be extremely loud and sometimes scary for babies and toddlers. Consider bringing noise-canceling headphones or earplugs to help reduce the noise. Wherever the celebrations take you this month, or whatever craft or dish you decide to make, just remember to enjoy the time with your family. 

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