With many places cancelling public fireworks displays due to COVID-19 precautions, more Americans are planning big at-home celebrations. Booming fireworks sales show that quite a few families plan to carry on the annual fireworks tradition with mini-shows in their backyards.
However, the NFPA has always made it clear that consumer fireworks are not worth the danger they present. Studies show that accidents with consumer fireworks have caused millions of dollars worth of property damage, injured many civilians, and even killed participants. With this in mind, we would like to suggest the following alternatives to an at-home fireworks show:
A Night with America’s National Pastime
With the news that baseball will return, why not celebrate Independence Day with a backyard version of this Americana sport? Whiffle ball is a kid-friendly version of the sport that uses softer materials. Inexpensive whiffle ball kits can be found in many stores and could even be delivered to your door in time for the 4th!
Complete the evening with an equally classic meal: grill burgers and hot dogs, have Cracker Jacks and peanuts around for snacking, and end the night with a slice of homemade apple pie. End the night with a family film like The Rookie or Airbud: Seventh Inning Fetch (both rated G).
A Fun-Filled Day without Fire
Looking for something a little closer to the traditional fire-related holiday activities? The NFPA recommends red, white, and blue silly string as a fun treat for kids to use in place of sparklers and glow stick kits as an alternative to fireworks.
Que up the silly string for the afternoon, then let the kids clean up by running through the sprinklers (also reminiscent of cascading fireworks). After that, set up blanket forts and treat the family to some neat or intricate glow stick accessories. Finally, find a few videos of old 4th of July fireworks shows online. Snuggle up together and watch! Ever wondered what it’s like to watch the fireworks under the St. Louis arch, over New York City, during Nashville’s Let Freedom Sing performance, or at Disney? This year is a great opportunity to do just that!
A Historical 4th of July
Since this year’s traditional Independence Day celebrations have changed or been postponed, why not use this as an opportunity to learn more as a family about the original 4th of July? The History Channel has a succinct outline of the history of the holiday here. The popular kids’ show, Liberty Kids, has an episode that explains it well for younger family members.
Other great resources for reviewing different aspects of our nation’s freedom celebrations include these children’s books recommended by PBS, this fun look-back at past incidents with Presidents on 4th of July, and the online Farmer’s Almanac page about the holiday, full of facts and trivia about this date in history.
With a little creativity, it is possible to have a fun and engaging 4th of July celebration that does not involve fire hazards. We wish everyone a SAFE and enjoyable holiday weekend!