InSITE -- Fourth of July On Line

Ready for a big Fourth of July weekend? You can get ready, on line. I wanted to start out with the basics, and I found a great place for serious Fourth of July info. Published by a guy from, where else, American University in Washington, D.C. He did his homework, and if you or your kids ever need to do homework on America, this is a great place. No fireworks, but lots of facts and links to history.

Can you imagine celebrating the Fourth on the third? Or fifth? America did, for different reasons in different places, frequently religious. Keep scrolling down, and he talks about the very first Fourth celebrations, in America's first big cities.

Here's an odd one. A long list of our first Presidents , and how they spent our first few Fourths. Read through this and you'll notice most of them didn't make it a big deal. Just business as usual with an occasional cheer. I know, it's a little dry, but click around.

Here's a way you can help your kids get a little patriotic, and still keep them amused. Start with why we celebrate the Fourth. It might just be a better history lesson, in plain English, than a lot of textbooks. It also has a collection of links to documents that made history, and made our country what it is today, along with some of the people and places. And I found a few pages with things to keep kids busy if it rains while they're supposed to be out playing over the fourth. Some artwork with patriotic themes. Just follow the instructions and you can print and paint or color. Things like a firecracker going off, or the father of our country, ready for you to color between the lines.

You can't have the fourth without fireworks, but I can't let you go there without the usual warning. They're illegal almost everywhere in our viewing area! So the best advice is leave them to a professional. Fireworks Safety has all the info on just how dangerous they are, all the hospital visits and burns and bruises. Along with some simple safety tips and a safety quiz. Now for the fun. I found a company that makes fireworks, and has a site with all sorts of info. Including a trivia game with fireworks facts. But the best part of the site is for when you need a fireworks fix and can't get out of the house... they have a virtual fireworks show where you can actually pick the place, and then launch to your heart's content. A couple of warnings while you watch, there's a lot going on here, and sometimes the site bogs down, especially over the holidays, so be patient.