Little ones love to party, and one of the things they look forward to during the Fourth of July holiday is the fireworks shows. You can still attend a local display, but setting off your own fireworks at home could be dangerous. In some states, it’s even illegal.

To avoid accidental injury, why not entertain your kids with these fun and safe fireworks alternatives?

  • Glow-in-the-dark Sidewalk Chalk: Arm kids with baskets of glow-in-the-dark sidewalk chalk during daylight hours and encourage them to draw fireworks displays on the sidewalk, porch and in the driveway. If they’ll be drawing in the driveway, make sure you supervise and set up a barrier to deter cars from pulling in and discourage kids from going into the street.
  • Glow Sticks and Wands: There’s just something about glow sticks that gets kids excited, so if you’re not keen on the idea of little ones running around with fiery sparklers, pass out glow sticks instead. One of the cool things about glow sticks is you can now get glow-stick jewelry, which lights up in the night and provides fun for hours. The chemicals inside are also non-toxic, so you don’t have to worry about someone getting fatally poisoned if a stick breaks open.
  • Recycled Paper Confetti: Kids love the opportunity to make a mess, so why not make up bags of confetti from recycled paper, like advertisement flyers and junk mail? Most craft stores have fun shaped paper punches in the scrapbooking section, so look for star and flag shapes. Paper is also biodegradable, so it’s good, green fun.
  • Patriotic Pinata: Gathering everyone together around a pinata will not only get them excited and keep them busy, but as they’re doing everything they can to bust it open to discover the prizes inside, they’re likely to forget all about the “fun” their missing out in with fireworks. If you’re not thrilled with the idea of filling it with candy, fill it with fun items like air-fueled party poppers, glow sticks, noisemakers and other party items.
  • Campfire Fun: Fire is still dangerous, but the smoke is less-toxic than smoke created by fireworks. If well-supervised and controlled, a campfire is a great experience. Kids can sit around and roast marshmallows and make smores and stargaze while telling stories.

There are so many activities you can organize to entertain the kiddos Independence Day weekend, and if you don’t feel safe allowing them to play with fireworks, the above mentioned alternatives will still keep them entertained. They’ll probably also be a little bit cheaper, as anyone who’s shopped the local fireworks stand already this summer can testify.