Menu

Delicious + kid-friendly recipes for the 4th of July weekend

Bring on the fireworks and good food!

kid-friendly recipes

The summer season means it's officially grilling season and with the 4th of July on the horizon, it's only right that we rounded up our favorite backyard recipes. And don't feel like you have to host a gathering to make yummy dishes for the holiday. These kid-friendly meals and sides are great for the entire family. Just be sure to make enough—these meals go fast. Enjoy!

Here are our favorite recipes to prepare on Independence day weekend:

1. Watermelon feta salad

Parker Feierbach

Serves: 4

Total time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 cup cubed seedless watermelon
  • 1 cup medium cucumber, chopped
  • 1 cup crumbled feta
  • 1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped mint
  • Flaky sea salt, for garnish

Instructions:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar and salt.
  2. In a large serving bowl, combine watermelon, cucumber, feta, red onion and mint. Pour over dressing, tossing to combine.
  3. Garnish with more mint and flaky sea salt.

Recipe by Delish

2. Grilled guacamole

Taste of Home

Serves: 12

Total time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium red onion, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 2 plum tomatoes, halved and seeded
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, halved and seeded
  • 2 tbsp canola oil, divided
  • 3 medium ripe avocados, halved and pitted
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Tortilla chips

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine onion, tomatoes, pepper and 1 tablespoon oil; gently toss to coat. Grill, covered, over medium-high heat or broil 4 in. from heat 6-8 minutes or until tender and charred, turning occasionally. Brush avocados with remaining oil. Grill or broil avocados, cut side down, 4-6 minutes or until charred. Cool vegetables completely.
  2. Chop onion, tomatoes and pepper; set aside. Peel avocados; transfer to a large bowl and mash with a fork. Stir in vegetables, cilantro, lime juice, cumin and salt. Serve immediately with chips.

Recipe by TasteofHome

3. Pasta salad

Ayesha Firdaus on Unsplash

Serves: 8

Total time: 35 minutes

Instructions:

  • 12 ounces fun-shaped pasta, such as radiatore
  • 8 slices thin bacon
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 3 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Dash sugar, optional
  • 10 ounces grape tomatoes (yellow and red), halved lengthwise
  • 1/2 pound Cheddar, cut into small cubes
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • Ground black pepper
  • 24 whole basil leaves, chiffonade

Instructions:

  1. Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. Then drain and rinse in cold water until cool. Set aside.
  2. Cut the bacon into 1/2-inch pieces and throw into a large skillet. Saute until slightly crisp, and then remove to a paper-towel-lined-plate.
  3. For the dressing, mix the mayonnaise, milk, vinegar, salt and sugar if using in a small bowl.
  4. Stir together the pasta, dressing, tomatoes, bacon, Cheddar and green onions in a large mixing bowl. Taste for seasonings, adding more salt and pepper if needed.
  5. Stir in the basil at the end.

Recipe by FoodNetwork

4. Shrimp rolls

Joslyn Blair

Serves: 4

Total time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp prepared horseradish
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • kosher salt
  • 8 hot dog buns, preferably split top, toasted
  • Scallions, for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Boil shrimp in salted boiling water until opaque, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain and transfer to a cutting board to cool.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together celery, mayonnaise, lemon juice, horseradish, and paprika and season with salt.
  3. Chop shrimp and add to mayo mixture. Spoon shrimp mixture into toasted buns and garnish with scallions.

Recipe by Delish

5. Beer bratwurst

The Spruce

Serves: 6

Total time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil (or butter, divided)
  • 6 bratwurst
  • 1 large sweet onion
  • 6 ounces beer

Instructions:

  1. In a large Dutch oven, heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil or butter.
  2. Brown the bratwurst until they're a deep golden brown. Do not puncture the sausages or they will become dry. Remove to a platter.
  3. To the drippings, add the remaining teaspoon of olive oil or butter and the sweet onion rings. Toss the onions to coat them with the oil.
  4. Cook, stirring often until onions are limp and golden, but not brown. Return the bratwurst to the onions and add the beer.
  5. Cook over medium heat, turning midway through until the beer has cooked down to a syrup, about 12 to 15 minutes.
  6. Bratwurst may be served on buns with the onions or as an entrée.
Recipe by ThespruceEats

6. Easy strawberry tart

Delish

Serves: 10

Total time: 3 hours 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 10 tbsp of melted butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 blocks cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 lb strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 3 tbsp strawberry or raspberry preserves

Instructions:

  1. To make the crust, preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. Add melted butter and stir until dough forms. Press mixture into a 10" or 11" tart pan with a removable bottom, pressing until dough is smooth. Prick all over with a fork and bake until golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool completely.
  2. Meanwhile, make filling: In a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat heavy cream until stiff peaks form, 7 minutes. In another large bowl, beat together cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add lemon juice and zest, and vanilla. Beat until combined. Fold in whipped cream, then spoon into cooled crust and smooth top.
  3. Starting on the outside, arrange strawberries on top of tart in a circle until entire tart is covered.
  4. In a small microwave-safe bowl, heat together preserves and 2 teaspoons water until warmed, 30 seconds. Brush over tart and refrigerate until well chilled, 2 hours.

Recipe by Delish

7. Tomato-basil salad

Food Network

Serves: 6 to 8

Total time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 pint red grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 1 pint yellow grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 16 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade, plus more if needed
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions:

  1. In a small skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and stir, lightly frying for about a minute and removing from the heat before the garlic gets too brown (it can be golden).
  2. Pour it into a mixing bowl and allow to cool slightly.
  3. Add the tomatoes, balsamic, basil and some salt and pepper to the bowl.
  4. Toss to combine, and then taste and add more basil if needed, and more salt if needed.

Recipe by FoodNetwork





This is how we’re defining success this school year

Hint: It's not related to grades.

In the ever-moving lives of parents and children, opportunities to slow down and reflect on priorities can be hard to come by. But a new school year scheduled to begin in the midst of a global pandemic offers the chance to reflect on how we should all think about measures of success. For both parents and kids, that may mean putting a fresh emphasis on optimism, creativity and curiosity.

Throughout recent decades, "school success" became entangled with "academic achievement," with cases of anxiety among school children dramatically increasing in the past few generations. Then, almost overnight, the American school system was turned on its head in the spring of 2020. As we look ahead to a new school year that will look like no year past, more is being asked of teachers, students and parents, such as acclimating to distance learning, collaborating with peers from afar and aiming to maintain consistency with schooling amidst general instability due to COVID.

Despite the inherent challenges, there is also an overdue opportunity to redefine success during the school year by finding fresh ways to keep students and their parents involved in the learning process.

"I always encourage my son to try at least one difficult thing every school year," says Arushi Garg, parenting blogger and mom of a 4-year-old. "This challenges him but also allows me to remind him to be optimistic! Lots of things in life are hard, and it's important we learn to be positive during difficult times. Fostering a sense of optimism allows kids to push beyond what they thought possible, like biking without training wheels or reading above their grade level."

Here are a few mantras to keep in mind this school year:

Quality learning matters more than quantifying learning

After focusing on standardized measures of academic success for so long, the learning environment this next school year may involve more independent, remote learning. Some parents are considering this an exciting opportunity for their children to assume a bigger role in what they are learning—and parents are also getting on board by supporting their children's education with engaging, positive learning materials like Highlights Magazine.

As a working mom, Garg also appreciates that Highlights Magazine can help engage her son while she's also working. She says, "He sits next to me and solves puzzles in the magazine or practices his writing from the workbook."

Keep an open mind as "school" looks different

Whether children are of preschool age or in the midst of high school, "going to school" is bound to look different this year. Naturally, this may require some adjustment as kids become accustomed to new guidelines. Although many parents may wish to shelter our kids from challenges, others believe optimism can be fostered through adversity when everyone is committed to adapting to new experiences.

"Honestly, I am yet to figure out when I will be comfortable sending [my son] back [to school]," says Garg. In the meantime, she's helping her son remain connected with friends who also read Highlights Magazine by encouraging the kids to talk about what they are learning on video calls.

Follow children's cues about what interests them

For Garg, her biggest hope for this school year is that her son will create "success" for himself by embracing new learning possibilities with positivity.

"Encouraging my son to try new things has given him a chance to prove that he can do anything," she says. "He takes his previous success as an example now and feels he can fail multiple times before he succeeds."

There's no denying that this school year will be far from the norm. But, perhaps, we can create a new, better way of defining our children's success in school because of it.

This article was sponsored by Highlights. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

Products that solve your biggest breastfeeding challenges

Including a battle plan for clogged ducts!

When expecting a baby, there is a lot you can test-run in advance: Take that stroller around the block. Go for a spin with the car seat secured in place. Learn how to use the baby carrier with help from a doll. But breastfeeding? It's not exactly possible to practice before baby's arrival.

The absence of a trial makes it all the more important to prepare in other ways for breastfeeding success—and it can be as simple as adding a few of our lactation aiding favorites to your registry.

MilkBliss chocolate chip soft baked lactation cookies

MilkBliss lactation cookies

Studies have shown the top reason women stop breastfeeding within the first year is because they are concerned about their milk supply being enough to nourish baby. Consider MilkBliss Lactation Cookies to be your secret weapon. Not only are they wholesome and delicious, but they were formulated specifically for breastfeeding moms based on the science of galactagogues—also known as milk boosters. They also come in peanut butter and wild blueberry flavors.

$23

Evereden multi-purpose healing balm

Evereden multipurpose healing balm

Also up there on the list of reasons women stop breastfeeding: the toll the early days can take on nipples. Made from just five ingredients, this all natural healing balm is ideal for soothing chafed nipples, making for a much more comfortable experience for mama as her body adjusts to the needs of a breastfeeding baby.

$20

Lansinoh milk storage bags

Lansinoh milk storage bags

For a breastfeeding mama, there are few things more precious and valuable than the milk she worked so hard to pump—and it's the stuff of nightmares to imagine it spilling out in the fridge. With these double-sealed milk storage bags, you can be assured your breastmilk is safe and sound until baby needs it.

$12.50

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Nursing a baby is a 24/7 job, which calls for some wardrobe modifications. Because Belly Bandit specializes in making things more comfortable for the postpartum mama, they've truly thought of every detail—from the breathable fabric to the clips that can be easily opened with one hand.

$47

boob-ease soothing therapy pillows

Boob Ease soothing therapy pillows

For nursing moms, duct can quickly become a four-letter word when you suspect it's getting clogged. By keeping these soothing breast pillows in your breastfeeding arsenal, you can immediately go on the defense against plugged milk ducts by heating the pads in the microwave or cooling them in the freezer.

$25

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

A unfortunate reality of nursing is that it can really seem to limit the wardrobe options when you have to think about providing easy, discrete access. But by adding functional basics to your closet, you can feel confident and prepared for breastfeeding on the go.

$59

Bebe au Lait premium cotton nursing cover

Bebe au Lait cotton nursing cover

Nursing in public isn't every mama's cup of tea. But babies can't always wait until you've found a private place to get down to business if that's your preference. That's where a nursing cover comes in handy. This one is made from premium cotton and features a patented neckline that allows for airflow and eye contact even while you're covered.

$36

Lactation Lab basic breastmilk testing kit

Lactation Lab breastmilk testing kit

Curious to learn more about the liquid gold you're making, mama? The testing kit from Lactation Labs analyzes your breast milk for basic nutritional content like calories and protein, as well as vitamins, fatty acids and environmental toxins to help boost your breastfeeding confidence.

$99

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this

Shop

20 baby names to set your child up for success

What do Jacqueline, Morgan, Madison and Parker all have in common?

They say picking a baby name is an art, not a science. But when it comes to figuring out which baby names have been linked to successful futures, there has actually been some scientific work on the subject.

Keep reading Show less
News