You can use different painting techniques with your child to get an impressive fireworks display on paper instead of relying on the loud, fiery variety in the sky. Get some heavy card stock or construction paper and liquid tempera paints. You’ll also need sponges (shaped like stars), straws, plastic pot scrubbers, stamps and cookie cutters. Use the sponges, stamps, scrubbers and cookie cutters to press designs onto your paper. Drop dabs of paint and blow on them with a straw for a wonderful fireworks design. (Safety Hint: To prevent kids from accidentally sucking up the paint, put a small slit in the straw near the top.) Use black paper to make white fireworks. Add glitter to make your fireworks sparkle.
Use an empty oatmeal container or large coffee can as the base for this project. Cover it with construction paper, then glue the paper in place. Decorate the drum with stars and stripes, flag stickers and other patriotic designs. Use two wooden dowels or pencils for drumsticks. You can punch holes in the sides of the oatmeal container and run a string through so your child can carry the drum around his neck.
Toilet paper or paper towel tubes, rolled up newspapers or dowel rods will all create a great wand or torch. Paint the tubes patriotic colors. Then cut out paper strips or use streamers and tape them to the end of the rolls. Use red paper to look like fire. Let the children march around waving them. Add patriotic music to create a real parade feel.
Organize a holiday parade for your neighborhood. Children can decorate their bikes, scooters, wagons, strollers or themselves! Crepe paper, balloons, small flags and bells are perfect accessories for homemade floats. Offer prizes in different categories, such as most original decorations or most colorful costume. Blast patriotic music from a boom box and invite everybody in the neighborhood to come out and cheer!
Gather up family and friends for a Fourth of July fashion show! Use red, white and blue nail polish to add instant stars and stripes to solid-colored accessories such as socks, hats, barrettes, shoelaces and sunglasses. Kids may also enjoy having their faces decorated with fireworks and flags. You can make your own face paint by blending one teaspoon cornstarch with half teaspoon cold cream, then adding half teaspoon water and a couple drops of food coloring. The paint is safe for the skin and washes off with soap and water!
Tali Toland and Laura Judy contributed to this article