Independence Day commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, by the Continental Congress. The Declaration proclaimed to the world that the thirteen American colonies regarded themselves as a new nation, no longer part of the British Empire. And, Independence Day is one of the most pivotal moments in American History.
Why learn about American History?
According to Peter Stearns of the American Historical Society, the reasons are many and varied and include the fact that history:
- helps us understand people and societies,
- contributes to moral understanding,
- provides identity,
- is essential for good citizenship, and
- is useful in the world of work.
Local, historical day trips that kids will love!
As parents, we are in the best position to encourage our children’s interest in history. And, rather than spend time on dusty history books or dry documentaries, this summer, get outside and experience history!
Here are some of the best local day trips that will spur kids on to learn even more.
Brandywine Battlefield. On September 11, 1777, approximately 30,000 British and American soldiers fought in the Chadds Ford area in what is known as the Battle of the Brandywine. The Brandywine Battlefield park represents many aspects of American life, enlightens visitors of the importance of this area in the early days of our nation’s birth and instills the ideas that we strive to preserve in today’s world. Today, the Brandywine Battlefield historic site sits on 46.5 acres of the location that was the Continental encampment and offers many different programs and tours in order to bolster the appreciation for historical thinking and preservation. There are daily tours of Washington’s Headquarters, a twenty minute film on the battle, and a trip through our museum.
Historic Philadelphia. This summer take advantage of this unique opportunity to teach your children more of their national history in a fun way. Visit the Liberty Bell (free daily, no tickets necessary), Independence Hall (free daily, although you must register for timed tickets in advance), or The Mint (free). End the day with a leisurely carriage ride throughout the historic district.
Valley Forge. Make history come alive at the 3,600-acre Valley Forge National Historical Park. At Valley Forge during the winter encampment of 1777-78, General George Washington faced starvation, sickness, and despair and still forged his Continental Army into a force to be reckoned with. See Washington’s original stone headquarters which have been restored and furnished, or marvel at the reconstructed log huts that housed our brave soldiers. There are also numerous statues and monuments throughout the park including statues of General “Mad Anthony” Wayne, Baron Friedrich von Steuben, and the Monument to Patriots of African Descent.
Washington D.C. Monument Tour. Our nation’s capital has so much to see and do that you could spend all summer there and never see it all. But, if you only have one day, try a free walking tour of the city’s spectacular collection of monuments. Tours from DC by Foot include a fast paced and engaging presentation by young and energetic tour guide. Learn Washington’s best kept secrets — from the indestructibility of the President’s car to why French women loved Thomas Jefferson! Tours meet at the NE corner of 15th and Constitution Ave. NW After a tour visit any of the Smithsonian Museums, all free.
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