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7 fun 4th of July games the whole family can play

Make Independence Day sparkle with these 4th of July ideas

Baby and a cat sitting on a cornhole game
David Prahl / Shutterstock

Many families mark the Fourth of July holiday with backyard picnics and barbecues. Sometimes, relatives and friends come over, but usually, the patriotic holiday is a time for families to spend a bit of quality time together enjoying parades and fireworks.

Having a fun menu of 4th of July games for the family is a fabulous way to spend this summertime holiday, especially if you are hosting a celebration. These family activities also help make the time between that morning parade and the evening fireworks go a lot faster for excited little ones who just can’t wait. If you need some inspiration for 4th of July ideas for family fun, don’t roll the dice. We’ve got sparkling suggestions that will be a big bang.

Fourth of July decorations
Malisa Nicolau/Shutterstock

4th of July games for the family

Independence Day picnics and barbecues are always a blast. One of the best parts besides the food and fireworks are the games and the ensuing laughs with family and friends. Here are seven sizzling July 4th games the entire family will enjoy playing.


Cornhole is a game that will be played a great deal during the summer months and beyond. If you have a set, divide the family into teams for a spirited cornhole tournament. You can also make your own cornhole game by cutting holes in a cardboard box and using bean bags. If you’ve got little ones, improvise and have everyone toss bean bags — red, white, and blue, of course — into empty laundry baskets.

Patriotic balloon toss

Temperatures are always pretty toasty on the Fourth of July, making a balloon toss a cool game. Fill up some red, white, and blue water balloons. Divide the participants into pairs and hand out the balloons. Players start close together, and every time each partner has an opportunity to catch a toss, take a step backward. The farther the distance, the higher the chance the water balloon will pop. If you have a pool, this is an exciting game to play in the water. (Be sure to make an extra batch of water balloons because a water-balloon fight is sure to break out at some point.)

Paddle balloon

Take paper plates and attach jumbo Popsicle sticks for handles using a glue gun. Allow to dry. (Kiddos can decorate the paper plates in patriotic colors beforehand.) Blow up red, white, or blue balloons. Family members can then pair off to play paddle ball or have a group game. You don’t need a net to play paddle balloon doubles, but if you have a volleyball net on hand, it’s a game, set, and match.

Fourth of July ring toss

All you need to play this game is three or four medium-sized American flags and three hula hoops. The object of the game is to take turns getting all three hula hoops over one of the flags. If you already have a ring toss game stashed in the garage, dust it off for some family-friendly backyard fun.

Red, white, and blue scavenger hunt

Scavenger hunts are always a blast, and a 4th of July hunt should have a red, white, and blue theme. Gather the family up to hit the neighborhood for a July 4th scavenger hunt. If you have other families coming over, make it a competition to see which family completes the list first. Here are some patriotic scavenger hunt suggestions:

  • Blue jay
  • Red cardinal
  • White clouds
  • Large American flag
  • Small American flag
  • Red, white, and blue wreath
  • White flower
  • Red flower
  • Blue jeans
  • Red hat
  • Blue hat
  • White dog
  • Red car
  • Blue car
  • White car
  • Red, white, and blue welcome sign
  • Red, white, and blue shirt or hoodie


Basketball players love a competitive game of horse in the driveway basketball hoop. There are a lot of variations of the popular game, but basically, the first shooter makes a shot that the next player needs to duplicate. If the person misses, he or she accumulates a letter. The first shooter to spell the word “horse” is out. For a July 4th game, have the players spell “Fourth of July” instead. This game can be adapted to other shooting sports like street hockey and soccer.

Flag hunt

Just like Easter, you can organize a backyard hunt, but with flags instead of eggs. All you need is a bunch of miniature flags. Hide the mini flags all around the front and backyard while the kiddos are in the house. Once the kiddos come outside, be ready to start the game. When you say go, the flag hunt is on. Kids can run around finding the hidden American flags. When all the flags have been found, have each person count their total to see who found the most flags. Once all the flags are located, you can use them as Fourth of July decorations around the outside of the house.

Game of spikeball on the Fourth of July
Tyler C Wenzel/Shutterstock

Other 4th of July ideas for family fun

If you’re looking for other Fourth of July game ideas, here are a few more to add to the menu. These fun games will definitely get everyone playing.


This game has become a huge hit with teens in recent years. Anything that gets teens to put down their smartphones is a welcome addition to any 4th of July barbecue.


Another popular game that is taking over is pickleball. Well, you don’t need a court to set up a competitive Fourth of July pickleball tournament. Pickleball sets come complete with four paddles, balls, and a mobile net. Turn the driveway into an instant pickleball court.

Yard games

Classic games like Jenga and Connect Four have yard additions that are big on fun. These large yard games are always a smash with kids of all ages. Yard games are a perfect pick for a 4th of July picnic and are something the family can enjoy all year long when the weather permits.

Fourth of July fireworks light up the sky

4th of July fun

Playing 4th of July games with the entire family is a super exciting way to celebrate this patriotic holiday. Adding a patriotic element to traditional games like cornhole, paddleball, and ring toss is a great way to mark Independence Day.

Kids of all ages can join in on a red, white, and blue scavenger hunt, and who doesn’t love water balloons? If you have teens and tweens, a game of F-O-U-R-T-H O-F J-U-L-Y or spikeball will definitely encourage them to put down their devices and game controllers. Add one or more of these engaging family-friendly activities to your Independence Day festivities for an entertaining spark that’s a precursor to those fabulous fireworks displays.

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Dawn Miller
Dawn Miller began her professional life as an elementary school teacher before returning to her first love, writing. In…
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