July is made for lazy outdoor holidays. It is the perfect month for cook outs, exploring and playing outdoors. Our picks for our favorite July Family Holidays reflect this. July is also the month for Independence Day and National Day holidays around the world. Why do so many countries declare their independence in July? I don’t know. We chose not to go overboard, but you could fill the month with 4th of July-type celebrations if you celebrated every country’s national day that fell in this month.
FIRST WEEK OF JULY
July 1st – Canada Day
At Home Family Fun: Canadians celebrate Canada Day much like we celebrate Independence Day. Consider this a warm up for the 4th and celebrate with backyard games.
Read Aloud: While there are plenty of non-fiction books about Canada to choose from, this would be a wonderful day to start reading Anne of Green Gables, set on Prince Edward Island in Canada.
Outing Idea: Roadtrip? It’s a 5 hour drive to the Canadian Border. Not this year? Visit Canada’s National Parks Virtually.
Meal Idea: Poutine – Who doesn’t love tater tots and fired cheese curds covered in gravy? This easy recipe uses french fries and doesn’t bread the curds, but we’re Minnesotan’s so it is more than okay to substitute with tater tots and breaded curds. Also, it would be totally okay to toss some steamed broccoli and green onion in for color. As long as we are screwing it up completely, finish it off with a sprinkling of bacon bits on top. Confused? Order out from Broadway Pizza. Their poutine is awesome.
Dinner Conversation Starter: See how many of these Canadian slang words you can fit into your dinner conversation today.
Learn More: About Canada Day.
July 2nd – World UFO Day
At Home Family Fun: Make your own UFO. We like this craft from Working Mother magazine. This would also be a fun day to watch E.T., if your kids are old enough.
Read Aloud: UFO Diary by Satoshi Kitamura
Outing Idea: Plan a Universe in the Park outing (for next year). Or find a place away from the city lights to stargaze on your own.
Meal Idea: Let’s make this easy and order a pizza. It’s UFO shaped. Want to go out for pizza? Galactic Pizza in South Minneapolis has a galactic/super hero theme.
Dinner Conversation Starter: Do you believe in Aliens? Do you think we’ve been visited by UFOs.
Learn More: About World UFO Day.
July 3rd – Disobedience Day
At Home Family Fun: Make a lawn (or window) sign together to speak up for something you believe in.
Read Aloud: For older kids, you can download Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau for Free on Kindle.
Picture books about great moments in disobedience:
- Rosa by Nikki Giovanni (Caldecott book)
- Grandfather Ghandi by Arun Ghandi
- Dream March: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the March on Washington by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson
- We Were There at the Boston Tea Party by Robert N. Webb
- Henry Climbs a Mountain by D.B. Johnson
Outing Idea: While our State Capitol will not be open to the public yet, you can visit the Capital Mall, where there is a memorial to Minnesota Civil Rights Leader, Roy Wilkens.
Learn More: PBS Lesson Plan: What is the Role of Civil Disobedience Today.
July 4th – Independence Day
At Home Family Fun: Bring the fireworks fun home. While Minnesota has pretty conservative fireworks laws, we have a list of legal fireworks.
Outing Idea: Many 2020 Twin Cities Independence Day & 4th of July Events have been cancelled – but not all!
Read Aloud: The Fourth of July Story by Alice Dalgliesh
Meal Idea: We’ve gathered some of our favorite 4th of July Picnic ideas on Pinterest.
Dinner Conversation Starter: Happy Home Fairy has some good ideas here.
Learn More: About the History of the Fourth of July
Bonus Holiday: The First Saturday in July is National Hop-A-Park Day. Celebrate by exploring new parks in your area.
SECOND WEEK OF JULY
July 5th – National Graham Cracker Day
At Home Family Fun: Make Homemade Graham Crackers. This is one of those recipes that you can buy cheaper than make – but it would be fun to learn how they are made. Plus you can control the sugar and make your own crackers whole grain.
Outing Idea: This is a good weekend for camping or just hit a local park for a cookout that includes s’mores on graham crackers of course.
Read Aloud: S is for S’mores: A Camping Alphabet by Helen Foster James
Meal Idea: If this isn’t a camping weekend for you, you could make Graham Cracker Fried Chicken and have a picnic in the yard.
Dinner Conversation Starter: Did you know that graham crackers were invented as part of a vegetarian movement in the 1800s? Would you give up meat for graham crackers? We really like locally-made North Mallow Marshmallows as a perfect accompaniment to homemade graham crackers.
Learn More: About Syvester Graham, the inventor of Graham Crackers.
July 6th – National Fried Chicken Day
Read Aloud: Rosie’s Walk by Pat Hutchins
At Home Family Fun: Rosie’s Walk is one of those fun books that lends itself well to activities. This Pinterest Board has 105 ideas.
Outing Idea: Visit Gale Woods Farm in Minnetrista, where they raise chickens.
Meal Idea: This would be a great day to pick up some fried chicken from the deli and have a picnic.
Dinner Conversation Starter: If you had a pet chicken what would you name it? (Ever since seeing The Best Summer Ever!, I’ve wanted to name a chicken Joyce Anderson)
Learn More: About National Fried Chicken Day
July 7th – World Chocolate Day
At Home Family Fun: Make your own chocolates together. Or just buy some and eat chocolate together.
Read Aloud: No Monkeys, No Chocolate by Melissa Stewart. We love this book about how chocolate grows and all the parts of a rainforest ecosystem that contribute to the chocolate we know and love.
Outing Idea: Visit the St. Croix Chocolate Company or sign up for a class. We also have 9 more ideas for Twin Cities Chocolate and Candy Shops To Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth
Meal Idea: Yes! I found a summer dinner recipe that includes chocolate: “Grilled Chicken Mole with Zucchini“.
Dinner Conversation Starter: At the end of No Monkeys, No Chocolate, the book offers ideas for how we can protect the rainforests to make sure we have chocolate for generations to come. Which of these ideas can we try at home?
Learn More: About World Chocolate Day
Bonus July 7th Holiday: National Father Daughter Take a Walk Day – What a beautiful excuse to spend some time together!
July 8th – National Video Game Day – (Ugh!)
At Home Family Fun: Not that my kids need an excuse to play video games this year, but it is rare that we play together. This could be a fun excuse to introduce kids to a video game you loved as a kid. Open Culture suggests Internet Arcade for classic games.
Read Aloud: For Younger Kids the Press Start series by Thomas Flintham is kind of fun. For older kids, definitely introduce them to Enders Game by Orson Scott Card.
Outing Idea: Again, I hate to take my kids out to play video games, since they do it at home too much, but an arcade does seem like the proper outing for this holiday.
Meal Idea: Minecraft lends itself well to food ideas. Anything that can be cut into squares could work.
Dinner Conversation Starter: Seems like a good night for a “video games rot your brain” discussion.
Learn More: About National Video Game Day
July 9th – National Sugar Cookie Day
(I’m tired of food holidays, too, but there weren’t a lot of choices for July 9th. Feel free to make up your own)
At Home Family Fun: Make Sugar Cookies. Anne share’s her favorite Easy Sugar Cookies recipe here.
Read Aloud: Sugar Cookies by Amy Krouse Rosenthal – This is a great book for helping little kids learn some big words about caring for others.
Outing Idea: One of our favorite ways to do good. Buy cookies from the Cookie Cart. Proceeds go toward youth programs. Note: When Gianna toured the facilities she visited North Minneapolis. Pick up is currently in St. Paul.
Meal Idea: Dessert can be the cookies you made or bought, with a nice glass of milk.
Dinner Conversation Starter: What’s your favorite kind of cookie? To make? To Buy?
Learn More: Learn more about National Sugar Cookie Day
July 10th – National Kitten Day
At Home Family Fun: One of my favorite segments from Sesame Street features two little kittens.
Read Aloud: Three Little Kittens by Grace C. Floyd or you can just recite it:
The three little kittens, they lost their mittens and they began to cry Oh mother dear see here see here, our mittens we have found The three little kittens, they spoiled their mittens and they began to cry Oh mother dear see here see here, our mittens we have washed
Oh mother dear we sadly fear our mittens we have lost
What!? Lost your mittens, you naughty kittens then you shall have no pie
Meow meow meow meow
Put on your mittens, you good little kittens
And you shall have some pie
Meow Meow Meow Meow
Oh mother dear we sadly fear our mittens we have soiled
What!? Soiled your mittens, you naughty kittens, then they began to sigh
Meow Meow Meow Meow
Washed your mittens, you good little kittens
But, hush I hear a rat nearby
Meow Meow Meow Meow
The three little kittens, they lost their mittens and they began to cry
Oh mother dear see here see here, our mittens we have found
The three little kittens, they spoiled their mittens and they began to cry
Oh mother dear see here see here, our mittens we have washed
Outing Idea: I’ve gotten in the bad habit of looking at the available kittens on the Humane Society’s website with my 5-year-old. It’s a bad idea because I don’t want a cat and she really, really does. The Humane Society is available for appointments. If you find a kitten you like, you can make an appointment to meet it.
Meal Idea: A Mummy Too blog created a cat-themed menu. I like the cat-shaped pizzas.
Dinner Conversation Starter: Are you a cat person or dog person? (Then, once they have responded, ask what they think about the following comment: Recent studies have shown that dog-people tend to be more social, energetic and athletic, while cat people are more thoughtful, intellectual and sensitive.” Find 9 more cat conversation starters Pawversity.
Learn More: About National Kitten Day
Bonus Holiday: July 10th is also Teddy Bear’s Picnic Day. It wouldn’t be hard to combine the two.
July 11th – E. B. White’s Birthday
Read Aloud: Start Charlotte’s Web
At Home Family Fun: Watch one of the Charlotte’s Web movies.
Outing Idea: Make a plan to visit Joyer Barnyard at Waldoch Farm (once they re-open)
Meal Idea: My 8-year-old tells me that the moral of Charlotte’s Web is “Don’t eat pigs.” I’m not sure that was the exact moral I got out of it, but a pig-free meal seems like a good idea today. This vegan pulled pork recipe uses lentils in place of the pig?
Dinner Conversation Starter: I highly recommend asking your kids what they think the moral of Charlotte’s Web is. I got some funny answers to that question.
Learn More: Read a short biography and get a book list for E.B. White on Scholastic.
THIRD WEEK OF JULY
July 12th – National Simplicity Day
Read Aloud: The Berenstain Bears: Think of Those in Need by Stan Berenstain & Jan Berenstain
At Home Family Fun: This would be a good day to sit down and organize toys together, trying to reduce to the favorites.
Outing Idea: Then you could go drop off the good ones at your favorite thrift store.
Meal Idea: A super simple meal, like beans and rice would be perfect today.
Dinner Conversation Starter: If we were going to move into a tiny house and you could only have your most cherished toys, which would you keep?
Learn More: About National Simplicity Day
July 13th – Embrace Your Geekness Day
At Home Family Fun: Have you had a chance to try any of Snapology’s Daily Lego Challenges? You can view them and pick your favorites to try together here.
Read Aloud: Take your pick. Wired has a list of 67 Books Every Geek Should Read to Their Kids.
Outing Idea: Anne has gathered all of her favorite STEM outings here. We have also listed at-home fun while we wait for these venues to reopen.
Meal Idea: Browse The Geeky Chef website for a recipe tonight.
Dinner Conversation Starter: The problem with celebrating this day is that everyone defines Geek in their own special way. We went with the 80s definition that encompassed the love of what we now refer to as STEM. How would you personally define Geek?
Learn More: About The Word “Geek”
July 14th – Cow Appreciation Day
At Home Family Fun: I kind of want to buy the game Long Cow. It looks like fun. However, if you don’t want to chance it, you could try the Italian card game: The Cow. It uses a standard deck.
Read Aloud: Daddy Played Music for the Cows by local author Maryann Weidt.
Outing Idea: Gianna and her family love this holiday. They have been known to dress up and go to Chick-Fil-A for the freebies.
Meal Idea: The whole point of this holiday is to eat chicken, instead of cow.
Dinner Conversation Starter: Why do you think we eat chicken but we don’t eat cow? We eat beef or steak or hamburger.
Learn More: Chick-Fil-A Made this day up.
Bonus Holidays – Bastille Day – 10 Fun Ways for Families to Celebrate & National Mac and Cheese Day.
July 15th – Elderly Men Day
At Home Family Fun: What a great idea to celebrate the Grandpas in our lives. Give your favorite grandpa (he doesn’t have to be related) a call today and ask him some questions about himself. Be sure to ask him what his favorite meal is.
Read Aloud: A Fun Day with Grandpa by Angela & Rick Blesi. This cute book created by local grandparents comes with personalized stickers of grandpa and child.
Outing Idea: If you can visit Grandpa, even better. If you can’t a Skype or phone call will have to do.
Meal Idea: Make Grandpa’s favorite meal.
Dinner Conversation Starter: Tell me something you learned about Grandpa today.
Learn More: This holiday is celebrated in Kiribati, a tiny little Island nation in the Pacific Ocean. It actually straddles all 4 hemispheres and has a population a quarter of the size of Minneapolis. About Kiribati.
July 16th – Elderly Women Day
At Home Family Fun: Today, let’s call the grandmas in our lives and learn a little bit about them. Be sure to ask her what her favorite meal is.
Read Aloud: A Fun Day with Grandma by Angela & Rick Blesi. This cute book created by local grandparents comes with personalized stickers of grandma and child.
Outing Idea: If you can visit Grandma, even better. If you can’t a Skype or phone call will have to do.
Meal Idea: Make Grandma’s favorite meal tonight.
Dinner Conversation Starter: Tell me something you learned about Grandma today.
Learn More: Coincidentally, Gianna hosted all three of the featured authors of the last three days — Maryann Weidt and Angela & Rick Blesi — at Bookhounds on June 28, 2017.
July 17th – World Emoji Day
At Home Family Fun: Play the Fun with Emojis game created by All About Learning Press
Read Aloud: Yes, someone has written an emoji book series, and its only 99 cents on Kindle, so that’s something: Emoji Adventures Volume 1: The Horse Party by Pt. Evans.
Outing Idea: Chalk Walk! Leave some happy faces for your neighbors – no poos unless you know they’ll find it funny.
Meal Idea: Emoji Pancake Night!
Dinner Conversation Starter: Which emoji best describes your day today? Why?
Learn More: About World Emoji Day.
July 18th – World Listening Day
At Home Family Fun: The main idea of World Listening Day is to step away from the noisiness of our daily lives and just listen. If you can, sit outside sometime today and just listen to the nature around you. How many sounds can you identify – birds, insects, wind moving leaves, etc.
Read Aloud: Listening can also be about understanding the people around us: The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld
Outing Idea: If you can’t go to a National Park to enjoy World Listening Day. They offer these Natural sounds events and sound gallery.
Meal Idea: Some foods can be really loud. Today would be a good day to serve something quiet, like pasta so you can give your attention to each other.
Dinner Conversation Starter: Play 5 Things (or more or less depending on ages). Each player tells the table five things about their day and then the person next to them has to list the five things.
Learn More: About World Listening Day.
FOURTH WEEK OF JULY
July 19th – National Ice Cream Day
At Home Family Fun: Ice Cream Sundae Scavenger Hunt. I love this idea. Hide all the necessities for making sundaes in a scavenger hunt and let the kids find the pieces. If you don’t like that idea, there are 10 more ice-cream themed ideas at the link.
Read Aloud: Ice Cream Summer by Peter Sis
Outing Idea: Pick One: The Best Ice Cream Shops in the Twin Cities
Meal Idea: If you don’t want to serve Ice Cream for dinner, any summer foods go great with ice cream for dessert – cook out, picnic, cold sandwiches, even food truck meals.
Dinner Conversation Starter: Play the alphabet ice cream game. Each family adds a topping to an imaginary ice cream sundae starting with an A topping and ending with a Z topping. Can you remember them all? ie: First Person: A – Andes Candies; Second Person A – Andes Candies, B – Butterfinger crumbs, etc. If your kids are smaller, skip the memory part of this game and just work on the finding a topping for each letter sound.
Learn More: About National Ice Cream Day.
July 20th – National Moon Day
At Home Family Fun: You could go for a moon walk, but, ironically, its a new moon tonight, so that won’t be much fun — unless you’ve been tracking the phases all month or want to start tracking the phases tonight. Instead, you could visit NASA’s moon page and learn as much as you want.
Read Aloud: Papa, Please Get the Moon For Me by Eric Carle
Outing Idea: Three Rivers Parks started back up their full moon programs this month. Why not register for an August event. The next full moon is August 3rd.
Meal Idea: How about Blue Moon Burgers? Or just do a Google search for Moon Parties, last year people came up with some clever ideas.
Dinner Conversation Starter: Ask your kids if they know the name of the first person to walk on the moon. (Neil Armstrong). What did he say when he first stepped out? (“That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”)
Learn More: About The July 20, 1969 Moon Landing.
Bonus Holiday: Celebrate the Founding of Minneapolis today. The first Minneapolis Town Council Meeting was today in 1858.
July 21st – National Junk Food Day
At Home Family Fun:. Sugar Spice & Glitter offers a printable board game about eating healthy.
Read Aloud: The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Outing Idea: Some of our favorite local Mini Golf Courses are connected with restaurants that serve junk food.
Meal Idea: Chicken Nuggets, Tater Tots and Broccoli (because you still want something green)
Dinner Conversation Starter: What’s your favorite junk food?
Learn More: About National Junk Food Day.
July 22nd – National Hammock Day
At Home Family Fun: Hobo Hammock offers these 7 games. We like the last one – Hammock Balloon Toss.
Read Aloud: It doesn’t really matter what book you read today, as long as you do it cuddled in a hammock.
Outing Idea: Several parks in the area are hammock-friendly – We list some Parks That Allow Hammocks and the end of our portable folding hammock review.
Meal Idea: Plan a cook out near where ever you hang your hammock. Then you can get back to hammocking after you are done eating.
Dinner Conversation Starter: Would you sleep all night in a hammock?
Learn More: About National Hammock Day
July 23rd – National Hot Dog Day
At Home Family Fun: Dog Eat Hot Dog card game.
Read Aloud: The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog! by Mo Willems
Outing Idea: Go play baseball at a nearby park and then have a hot dog cook out afterwards. Or this is opening weekend for the Twins!
Meal Idea: If you are out and about, try our idea for picnic hotdogs. Otherwise, a hot dog buffet would be lots of fun.
Dinner Conversation Starter: Do you think a hot dog is a sandwich? Support Your Answer.
Learn More: The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council has declared July National Hot Dog Month and the specific day to celebrate changes from year to year. Learn more here.
Picnic Hot Dogs
- Medium Sized Thermos
- Tea Pot
- Gallon size ziplock bags (optional)
- 1 package Hot Dogs We easily fit six dogs into our thermos.
- 1 package Buns One for every dog
- Individual Chip Packs or Other Fun Sides
- Peanuts in the Shell and/or Cracker Jacks Particularly if you are going to a ball game
- Pop or other drinks
- Start by boiling some water.
- While it boils, put the cold hot dogs into your thermos.
- Pour the boiling water on top, leaving a little room at the top and give it a minute before screwing on the lid. This will keep the hotdogs hot for up to a few hours.
- Grab a ziplock bag for each family member so they can assemble their picnic meal. Add a bun for each hot dog, whatever sides they've chosen, napkins, and their plastic basket. This step is not necessary, but will make assembling each meal easier later.
- You shouldn't need individual utensils for this meal, but you might need some for adding condiments. You'll also want to pack tongs to grab the hot dogs out of the thermos. The water might still be pretty hot when you picnic.
July 24th – Pioneer Day
At Home Family Fun: Play Oregon Trail Together.
Read Aloud: Pioneer Girl: The Story of Laura Ingalls Wilder by William Anderson
Outing Idea: Sign up for an upcoming “Laura’s Adventures” program at Lowry Nature Center.
Meal Idea: Homesteading.com has 19 Pioneer Recipes to choose from.
Dinner Conversation Starter: Would you like to live in Pioneer Days? What would be the hardest modern convenience to give up?
Learn More: Pioneer Day is observed by the Mormons to commemorate the arrival in 1847 of the first Latter Day Saints pioneer in Salt Lake Valley.
July 25th – National Carousel Day
At Home Family Fun: This is a little expensive and complicated, but wouldn’t it be fun to build a working carousel model together? If your kids are smaller, play Ring Around the Rosie.
Read Aloud: The idea of building a carousel reminded of one of my favorite kids books, I Got a Chicken for My Birthday by Laura Gehl and Sarah Horne
Outing Idea: Cafesjian’s Carousel was still closed indefinitely at the time of publishing, by the Carousel at Maplewood Mall is open.
Meal Idea: DIY State Fair Food.
Dinner Conversation Starter: What color horse do you look for when you ride the carousel?
Learn More: About the History of Cafesjian Carousel.
LAST WEEK OF JULY
July 26th- National Parents’ Day
At Home Family Fun: Take some time to look at or create photo albums today. I learned that looking at happy photos reminds me of all the things I do right as a parent. Luckily, I rarely take photos of my less stellar parenting moments.
Read Aloud: How to Put Your Parents to Bed by Mylisa Larsen
Outing Idea: Parent’s choice.
Meal Idea: Kids night to cook.
Dinner Conversation Starter: Ask your kids what they think you need to remember about being a kid.
Learn More: About National Parents’ Day
July 27th – Walk on Stilts Day
At Home Family Fun: Make some tin can stilts together.
Read Aloud: The King’s Stilts by Dr. Seuss
Outing Idea: Take a walk through your neighborhood or a park with your stilts on.
Meal Idea: Make something that you eat with chopsticks. They are like tiny stilts for your fingers.
Dinner Conversation Starter: What do you think would be the best and worst parts of being super tall?
Learn More: About Walk on Stilts Day.
July 28th – Celebrate Beatrix Potter’s Birthday
At Home Family Fun: WeAreTeachers has a list of fun Peter Rabbit themed activities, but my favorite is the first one – finger knit bunnies.
Read Aloud: Beatrix Potter Stories are in the Public Domain, so you can download Kindle versions for free.
Outing Idea: The Elmer L. Andersen Library at the UofM actually has a small collection of original Beatrix Potter art and manuscripts. Members of the public can make an appointment to view the material. This may not be an ideal outing for small children, but older children and parents may find it fascinating to see these items up close.
Meal Idea: The Happy Foodie has made a Beatrix Potter Picnic Menu
Dinner Conversation Starter: Write your own Beatrix Potter Style Story and share it a dinner.
Learn More: About Beatrix Potter.
Bonus Holiday: July 28th is also National Waterpark Day. Like you even need an excuse to go swimming in July!
July 29th – International Tiger Day
At Home Family Fun: Print and play this Thai boardgame – Len Choa: Leopards and Tigers.
Read Aloud: The Calvin And Hobbes Lazy Sunday Book by Bill Watterson
Outing Idea: Today would be a fun day to visit the zoo.
Meal Idea: Tiger Burgers.
Dinner Conversation Starter:
Learn More: About International Tiger Day
July 30th – International Day of Friendship
At Home Family Fun: Today would be a great day to make cards for friends and mail them out. Maybe you could make some for some friends you haven’t met yet?
Read Aloud: Mrs. Katz and Tush by Patricia Polacco
Outing Idea: Take a walk around the neighborhood and leave a friendship card for your neighbors.
Meal Idea: Plan a sit-down family meal to enjoy your family friends.
Dinner Conversation Starter: iMom has some conversation starter cards about friendship.
Learn More: This is a real holiday, started by the UN to promote peace. What better way to bring about peace then make friends with everyone. About International Friendship Day.
July 31st – World Ranger Day
Read Aloud: Download some of the Free Junior Ranger Books form the National Park Service.
At Home Family Fun: Many of these Free books include activities to do at home together. If you have Netflix, you could have a movie night, watching National Parks Adventure.
Outing Idea: Get started on collecting Jr. Ranger Badges from nearby National Parks.
Meal Idea: Can you eat like backpackers for a whole day?
Dinner Conversation Starter: If you could work in any National Park, which one would it be? Why?
Learn More: World Ranger Day
We find many of our calendar ideas on National Day Calendar. If you don’t like one of our ideas, they have several holiday options for every day of the year. Choose some of your own to create your own special family memories.
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