Can't set off fireworks? Try these alternatives

Cant set off fireworkstry these alternatives

Every year, Americans proudly celebrate their independence by lighting things on fire and blowing them up. In fact, sending fireworks into the sky has been a time-honored tradition since 1777.

But because of this year’s severe drought conditions and current restrictions, it’s looking like the pyrotechnics will have to be put on hold for a lot of people.

If you’re lamenting the loss of your favorite patriotic pastime, have no fear. There are plenty of ways you and the whole family can entertain yourself this Fourth of July. (And the best part is that they’re a whole lot safer.)

Instead of fireworks, give these fun-filled options a try. Who knows? You might start a new tradition.

Get creative with glow sticks

Glow sticks may feel like a lame alternative to explosives that light up the sky, but you can actually have a lot of fun with them. Simply grab a handful and toss them in the air on July Fourth for faux fireworks, or have some fun with glow stick games and activities. Hang them from the ceilings, put them inside lanterns, wear them on your clothes and dance around in the dark — the possibilities are endless!

Blow glow-in-the-dark bubbles

You’ll instantly be dubbed “the cool parent” once word gets out that you let your kids blow glow-in-the-dark bubbles to celebrate the Fourth. And you won’t believe how easy they are to make. Simply follow this two-step recipe and you’ll be ready to glow in no time. (Some people even use glow sticks for this one!)

Make "elephant toothpaste"

Fireworks may be banned, but who says you can’t still blow things up? Here’s a little science experiment that’s fun for all ages. Create a massive, foaming geyser by combining a few simple ingredients together. All you need is dish soap, yeast, hydrogen peroxide, and a little food coloring if you want to be more festive. Follow these instructions to be sure you’re mixing everything correctly. Put on your safety glasses to do this activity because hydrogen peroxide can irritate your eyes.

(Note: You might want to do this one outside if you’re worried about keeping the living room rug clean.)

Launch harmless rockets

Though you don’t want your rockets to “red glare” this year, you can still have fun with a simple stomp rocket or one you made at home. (Give this DIY rocket a try if you want to keep the kiddos entertained for several hours.)

Throw paint-filled balloons

Here’s one that can act as both a patriotic celebration and an art project. Grab some small latex balloons, fill them with paint (red, white, and blue, or whatever colors you want), and then hurl them at a blank canvas or tarp. The result is permanent fireworks whose colors won’t fade any time soon. 

Be warned, however — this one gets a little messy. For a slightly cleaner alternative, you could fill balloons with patriotic confetti and have a popping party. It’s not as loud as fireworks, but it might still make you jump.

Watch old fireworks videos

There are a lot of memes out there that make fun of people who like to record fireworks shows on their phones. (You know: “‘Let’s watch this video of fireworks I took last year!’ Said no one ever.”) Well, if you happen to be one of those people with old fireworks footage on your phone, then, boy, do you have the last laugh here. Little did you know that someday that was going to be your only option for viewing them! 

Cast your phone to your TV, or better yet, set up a projector outside and simulate a live fireworks show with your old videos. Don’t have old fireworks footage? Don’t worry. There are plenty of videos to sift through on YouTube. (Your kids might enjoy the Disneyland show.)

Go to a laser show – or create your own

If your favorite part about fireworks is the intense, bright lights that burn your retinas, then your second-best option is attending a laser show. You get just as many bright colors without the fire risk, so it’s a win-win. 

Or, instead of going to a show, why not create one yourself at home? According to Popular Mechanics, it’s pretty easy to do and will only cost about $10. You can also buy a commercial laser projector if you want to think bigger.

Be safe and have fun

However you choose to celebrate the Fourth of July, make sure to stay safe out there. But if an emergency should arise (and they often do on holidays), Intermountain Healthcare will be here for you.