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7 fun and safe 4th of July activities for kids

Confetti cannons are a fun alternative to fireworks
Confetti cannons are a fun alternative to fireworks
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The 4th of July can be filled with both excitement and dread, depending on how you feel about fireworks. While finding a local fireworks display to attend can be fun, shooting off fireworks at home can end in disaster. There are plenty of activities for kids that are alternatives to fireworks but will still provide lots of 4th of July fun without a trip to the burn unit of your local hospital.

Try these great July 4th activities and games:

Counting Stars

If you’ve got a small swimming pool or splash pool, you can turn the water into a cool 4th of July game. Cut several red, white and blue stars from foam craft sheets and toss them into the water. Then, give each child a small net and set a timer. Whomever can collect the most stars in their net before the timer goes off wins the game. The great thing is, this game can be played over and over again.

Mural party

If you’ve got a driveway, patio or even a concrete retaining wall, sidewalk chalk in patriotic colors can add some festive flair to your home. Challenge the kids to cover the entire area with a patriotic-themed drawing. A retaining wall can be turned into a beautiful design by alternating different colors on each brick.

Water balloon paint

Instead of a water balloon fight, let kids “paint” the sidewalk, patio, or even an old sheet or plastic tablecloth with an abstract design. Fill several containers with water and add a few drops of red or blue food coloring to each container and then fill the balloons with the colored water. Have everyone put on their paint clothes and then prepare to go crazy! Toss the water balloons up into the air and watch them come down and make a colorful splat on your “canvas.” Be advised that food coloring tinged water will temporarily stain concrete, but it will fade in time with rain and sun.

Water gun paint ball

Along the same lines of water balloon paint, you can fill water guns with food-coloring water or even Kool-aid water. Let the kids put on their old clothes and have a water paint gun fight.

Confetti cannon

If your kids love the idea of launching something into the sky, confetti cannons are a nice alternative to fireworks. You can pick them up at a local party supply store. Just be sure to get refills as kids will want to launch them again and again.

Marshmallow shooters

Whether you purchase or build your own marshmallow shooter, dipping the marshmallows in food coloring first can offer up some colorful fun for the 4th of July.

Glitter coloring

Print fireworks coloring pages from any kids coloring pages site. Instruct kids to trace the lines of just one fireworks burst with glue. Then, sprinkle glitter over the glue. When that glue has dried or is completely covered with glitter, repeat the process with the next color of your child’s choice. If you, as a parent, detest glitter, you can use shavings from Crayola’s metallic or glitter color crayons instead.

If you’ve enjoyed these 4th of July activities for kids, subscribe to the St. Louis Children’s Recreation Examiner or join Jae’s Jampacked Days on Facebook for more creative ideas for kids.

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