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The University of Alabama

UA Matters: Teaching Children the Real Meaning of the Fourth of July

uamatters_logo1Over the years the Fourth of July holiday has become more about barbecues, boating and beaches than about celebrating our country’s independence. There are some fun activities you can do with kids to bring home the real meaning of the holiday. Dr. Liza Wilson, professor of education at The University of Alabama, and Marjorie Freyer, coordinator of UA’s Teaching American History Program, and participants in this month’s TAHP Institute, offer the following:

 — “History in a Box” — Children can create their own “history in a box” by taking any type of box or container, decorating the outside with July Fourth stickers or images, and including inside a copy of the Declaration of Independence, pictures of Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Ben Franklin, John Adams and others.

— Games: Play games from the time period: Blind Man’s Bluff, Hide & Seek, Leap Frog and Skip Rope.

— Patriotic songs: “You could teach them songs from 1776 like ‘Yankee Doodle’ or ‘The World Turned Upside Down,’” suggests Freyer.

— Make “Thomas Jefferson” homemade ice cream: “Ice cream frequently appears in visitors’ accounts of meals with Thomas Jefferson,” says Wilson. The original recipe and its adapted modern version can be found at

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UA Matters is a bi-weekly column that offers information and tips on consumer issues facing Alabamians. The columns are available to reprint in your publication free of charge. Also, access to subject matter experts is available upon request. For more information, contact Suzanne Dowling at 205/348-8324 or

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.