5 Fun Things to Do While Waiting for the Parade to Start

It's always a great idea to get a good seat for a parade, but that means you have to be there early. Check out these 5 fun things to do while you wait for a parade to start!
If you are going to a small town parade for Independence Day, you will most likely have to get there at least an hour before the parade starts in order to get a good place to sit. While you could bring along the Gameboy or iTouch to keep your little ones entertained, why not engage them in an activity that will make them more a part of the event rather than less? Here are some ideas to try:


It's always a great idea to get a good seat for a parade, but that means you have to be there early. Check out these 5 fun things to do while you wait for a parade to start!


Do an Easy Independence Day Craft

  • Bring along some red, white, and blue pipe cleaners for quick and fun Fourth of July creations – jewelry, glasses, sculptures, etc.
  • If you have a child who has gone to camp, she probably knows how to make a lanyard. Supplies are inexpensive at a crafts store. Here are some instructions.
  • Red, white, and blue plastic pony beads in a baggie, plus some cord and a kid’s scissors, are all you need to make bracelets and necklaces.
  • If you are feeling adventurous, bring face paint and let kids paint flags, stars, and other symbols on each other (or you).

Bring a Tub of Sidewalk Chalk

You can find a big tub full of bright colors for under $5. Bring it along and share. If you drop a few pieces every few yards around where you are sitting, it won’t take long for kids to grab them and start decorating your little section of  the parade route.

Ask Some Independence Day Trivia

The great thing about trivia questions is that you are actually teaching your kids about the history of our country, but because it is in the form of trivia, they don’t think about that. Here is a good one to try. You could also just take the card box from a kids’ version of a trivia game and read some of those out loud.


In a Crowd Scavenger Hunt

See how many of these things your kids can find:

  • Someone wearing ten or more different colors
  • A bald man wearing red, white, and blue
  • A child with a blue balloon
  • A girl with braids
  • A boy wearing stripes
  • A small dog
  • A person with a red, white, and blue hat
  • 10 people holding flags or wearing flag designs
  • A person in tie-dye
  • Someone who is sunburned
  • Someone eating food they brought from home
  • Someone with a blue water bottle
  • Twins
  • Someone eating ice cream
  • A woman with really large earrings
  • A person with purple shoes
  • A woman with red toenails
  • A man with a cowboy hat
  • A man with a baseball hat with no words on it
  • A man with a really long beard
  • A woman wearing something that glitters
  • Someone in a Hawaiian shirt
  • Someone reading
  • Someone using a cell phone
  • Someone who is very old
  • A baby

Play a Word Game

Here are a few to try:

  • Hinky Pinky is a fun rhyming game (take turns coming up with clues; example: silly rabbit = funny bunny).
  • Tribonds are fun to make up and to solve. Here is a post all about them.
  • ABC games – have kids find things around them that begin with each letter of the alphabet successively. Or hold a conversation taking turns with each person having to start their sentence with the next letter of the alphabet. Or choose a category, like animals, and take turns thinking of one that begins with the letter that the last one ended with (giraffe elephant tarantulasp, etc.)
  • Play GHOST, a spelling game for older kids. Here are some instructions.
  • Play the -ING game. Just look around you and find as many things happening that end in -ing as you can. For example: sitting, chewing, talking, etc.
Bonus: If the people who participate in your town’s parade frequently throw candy, here is how your kids can get more of it (my kids got this down to a science when they were younger, and it worked every year). This works well at small town parades where the parade features lots of baseball teams, scout groups, and politicians in convertibles. Not so much with big parades with floats and marching bands.


  • Go to the parade in a group – at least four kids, more is better.
  • Have your kids dress in bright, bright colors – tie-dye works well with floppy hats, if possible. If the whole group can match, that works really well.
  • Sit all together in a row in front, ideally in the first fourth or so of the parade route.
  • During the parade when someone has candy to throw, have your kids shout something positive and relevant at them in unison, like “Boy Scouts Rock!” or “Go All Stars!” This will catch their attention, they will look over, see your adorable, brightly-clad children, and throw candy at them. Works almost every time. And kids love doing this. Within minutes they will be planning fun things to shout as people in the parade approach.
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