Rain is threatening the outdoor festivities for many this July 4th. Don’t let weather ruin your day! If you’re having people over, be sure to let them know that the show must go on, rain or shine.

Here are a few budget-conscious ideas to make sure your plans for the 4th are epic, no matter where they’re happening.

Host a stress-free contest

Create a super fun contest for friends and family this Independence Day.

A Duel to Dessert

The best side dish will receive the 2014 Independence Day Dessert Cook-off Trophy (you can pick up a mini trophy at the dollar store) and universal fame and bragging rights. Find some small containers for people’s votes (weigh them down with a few rocks or a paperweight if you’re serving food outside). Set out some strips of paper and pens for guests to vote on their favorite sweet treat. Announce winners when you feel the time is right!

This not only takes some of the spending pressure off of your family, as the hosts; it also frees up some time, allowing you to focus attention on other aspects of your party (decorations, duh!). It’s also a fun activity that’s perfect inside or outside!

Stars, stripes and kids

Get the kids involved in something fun and patriotic. Here are 2 fun and crafty ways to get the kids out, about and loving the 4th.

Sidewalk chalk

If the sun is shining and you’re trying to enjoy the 4th outside, get the sidewalk chalk ready! Have the kids create welcoming messages on the sidewalk or in the driveway for guests. Want to keep them busy during the day? Inspire them to create red, white and blue drawings. Or, just let them enjoy the greatness that is sidewalk chalk by letting them express themselves in their own creative way!

Flour-star lawn stencils

This is another sunshine-critical activity. Grab some printer paper or even a few sheets of poster board. Draw and cut out the star shapes and sizes of your choice. With your garden hose or a spray bottle, wet the grass, set down the stencil and then sprinkle flour over the wet grass. The water helps the flour stick. When you lift up your stencil, you’ll have some very festive stars that are inexpensive, simple and allow your kids to have a part in the decorations that they’ll enjoy creating and will be able to show off throughout the day!

Indoor Alternative

A great indoor substitute for these activities is to get out the paint, crayons and other crafts your kids enjoy. Get all the kiddos involved in some patriotic craft time! Make your life easy with the magical invention of plastic tablecloths. If you can find the paper tablecloths, you’ve created another canvas for the kids to paint and draw their masterpieces on as well.

Make some 4th of July party favors

Go to your local dollar store and grab things like red, white and blue gumballs, sidewalk chalk, crayons, travel (mini) games, cards, bubbles and other little goodies to keep the kiddos (…and adults…) busy and enjoying Independence Day.

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