10 things to do with your kids for July Fourth weekend

From boardwalk dance parties to arts and crafts festivals to fireworks (of course).

07/04/2015 - Boston, MA- Chris Tuttle plays with his daughter Clare before the 42d Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular on Saturday at the DCR Hatch Shell in Boston, MA on July 04, 2015. Keith Lockhart celebrated his 20th year as conductor of the Pops during the event. (Craig F. Walker / Globe Staff)
Chris Tuttle plays with his daughter Clare before the 42d Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular on July 4, 2015. –Craig F. Walker / Globe Staff

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Looking for something fun to do with the family over Fourth of July weekend? Whether you want to exercise, immerse yourself in history, watch a flick under the stars, get wet, build a kite, ride a roller coaster, or ooh and aah at fireworks, we’ve got you covered.

1. Dance on the boardwalk outside the Boston Children’s Museum

This Friday, a DJ will spin tunes for kids and grown-ups beside the water, the music thumping at a special family dance party on the boardwalk. It’s the culmination of a free day of play at the museum, which is one of eight locations taking part in Free Fun Fridays on July 1. (Friday, July 1 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.; Boston Children’s Museum, 308 Congress St., Boston; free)

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2. Catch a carnival ride at the Brockton Fair

The Brockton Fair, in town until July 10, features barn animals, carnival rides, live music, a demolition derby, magic shows, fireworks, and more. See the full schedule of events here. (Friday, July 1, 5 p.m. to midnight; Saturday, July 2, Sunday, July 3, and Monday, July 4, 4 p.m. to midnight; Route 123, Belmont Street, Brockton; $8 admission for adults, $2 for kids 12 and under)

3. Ride a carousel, then cool off in the pond at the Boston Common

Hang with the whole family on the Boston Common, the nation’s oldest public park. After a round on the Frog Pond Carousel, splash in the Frog Pond—though the pond’s spray is currently off due to repairs, the pool is open for wading. (Carousel open Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday and Monday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; 38 Beacon St., Boston; $3 per ride)

Summer in the city ☀️ #boston #bostoncommon #bostonblogger #carousel #bostoncommoncarousel #summer #summerinthecity

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4. Take in Chinese dance at the Chinatown Main Street Festival

Families can enjoy many traditional Chinese performances, including martial arts, lion dances, opera, and children’s folk dance, at this annual festival. There will also be vendor booths, games, arts and crafts, and more. (Saturday, July 2, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Chinatown on Tyler, Harrison, Beach, and Hudson streets, Boston; free)

5. Get hands-on at the Marblehead Festival of the Arts

The Children’s Festival portion of this four-day festival is designed especially for kids aged 10 and under. Here, they’ll get a chance to paint, make music, and create newspaper hats and mosaic caps. Kite-loving kids will also enjoy the Kite Festival, where Kites Over New England will demonstrate kite stunts and help kids build their own kites. (Saturday, July 2, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Children’s FestivalLee Mansion Garden, Washington Street, Marblehead; free; Saturday, July 2, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Kite Festival, Devereux Beach, Marblehead; $4 donation covers the cost of materials)

6. View a movie under the stars at the Pru

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The Prudential Center’s annual Family Film Festival kicks off this Saturday with Minions, playing on the South Garden, but the fun begins before that. There will be a range of kid-friendly activities offered beginning at 6 p.m. Picnic blankets and beach chairs are welcome. (Saturday, July 2 at sundown; 800 Boylston St., Boston; free)

7. See an American Idol performer and fireworks at Boston Harborfest

Boston Harborfest, a 35-year-old tradition, celebrates Boston’s harbor and history. The city will host hundreds of activities throughout the weekend as part of the festivities—historical reenactments, a New England Aquarium whale watch, Freedom Trail walks—many of them free. One great option: live music and fireworks from Long Wharf on Saturday night after a free concert by Massachusetts American Idol contestant Sonika Vaid. See all Boston Harborfest events here(Saturday, July 2, concert at 7:30 p.m., fireworks at 9 p.m.; Long Wharf, Boston; free)

8. Play Civil War-era field games on a Boston Harbor island 

Combine history and exercise as you take the family back in time to the 1860s to play Civil War-era field games on the grounds of Fort Warren on Georges Island. This is a free program, but families need to pay the ferry fee to get to the island. The 45-minute ferry to Georges Island leaves from downtown Boston’s Long Wharf North (near Christopher Columbus Park) between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Check out the ferry schedule here. (Sunday, July 3, noon to 2 p.m.; Georges Island; free)

#armyband215 #massparks #findyourpark

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9. Explore 16 historic sites on the Freedom Trail

Boston by Foot offers a special tour, “Footloose on the Freedom Trail,” every Fourth of July. Walkers trek 2.5 miles along the red-lined Freedom Trail through 16 historic sites, exploring museums, burial grounds, churches, and more. The walk begins at the Boston Common and Massachusetts State House and ends at the U.S.S. Constitution in the Charlestown Navy Yard. (Monday, July 4, 9 a.m. to noon.; 24 Beacon St., Boston; $20 general admission, $10 Boston by Foot members)

10. Celebrate at the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular on the Esplanade

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Conductor Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops are back at it again, performing for hundreds of thousands of people on the Esplanade. This year, Little Big Town, Demi Lovato, and Nick Jonas have joined the lineup at the Hatch Shell. The fireworks display over the Charles begins at 10:30 p.m. (Monday, July 4,  7 to 11 p.m.; DCR Hatch Shell on the Esplanade between the Longfellow and Massachusetts Avenue bridges, Boston;  free)

DCR Hatch Shell looking very festive!! #bostonjuly4th

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