For many, the 4th of July conjures images of large backyard BBQs and crowds at firework shows. Yet with social distancing guidelines still in effect, this Independence Day will undoubtedly look a little different than usual. However, despite the challenges, Americans can find new ways to celebrate, create new memories and traditions, and enjoy some much-needed R&R while social distancing. Below are four ways technology can help you celebrate the 4th of July despite the restrictions in place.
- Stream fireworks. There’s no reason not to enjoy fireworks just because you can’t be part of a large crowd. There are several apps that you can download to stream firework shows at any time, and many local fireworks shows have gone virtual as well. Download an app or check out where and when a local fireworks show will stream, and ensure that watching fireworks remains part of your celebrations. Put them on your big screen, turn off the lights, and enjoy.
- Host a virtual party. If Independence Day normally means you host a large gathering for family and friends, you still can, just in a different way. It may take some extra planning or coordination, but videoconferencing can keep you connected, even though you are physically apart. Schedule a Webex (or several) so that you can still interact with family and friends on the holiday. Take it to the next level by participating in an activity you could all do separately but together, such as a hot dog eating contest or trivia game.
- Gadget up your grill. It seems that home improvement projects, big and small, have been on everyone’s to-do lists the past few months, and gearing up for the holiday is no different. What better time than the present to upgrade your grilling setup or outdoor space? Check out digital thermometers that communicate with your smartphone so that you can enjoy time with your family while your burgers cook. Invest in new outdoor speakers so you can enjoy more time outside. Whatever gadget(s) you choose, now is a great time to try out new technology without a large crowd of partygoers to entertain.
- Tour America virtually. One of the rare silver linings to come out of the previous few months has been increased access to museums by the outside world. Museums across the country have begun offering free looks at their exhibits online. Celebrate Independence Day by taking a deep dive into history. Several Smithsonian museums, NASA, and the Statue of Liberty are just a few of the landmarks that have digitally opened their doors to the public. Visit Philadelphia offers an in-depth digital tour of the Liberty Bell and more.
July 4th has the potential to still be an exciting time in 2020; it will just look different than what we’re used to. Celebrating with family and friends and enjoying the summer can make us feel normal again, and technology can ensure we do it responsibly.