This Fourth of July, Try One of These Kid-Friendly Alternatives to Sparklers

Little ones of all ages can safely wave festive pinwheels, pom-poms, and bubble wands.

Photo: Aaron Dyer

During the summer months—particularly in the evenings leading up to the Fourth of July—it's not uncommon to see the night sky come alive with booming fireworks as well as kids twirling their handheld sparklers on the front lawn. While they look festive, sparklers can pose some serious safety hazards. According to statistics by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, sparklers were the number one cause of firework-related injuries in 2019; half of those injuries were in kids under the age of five. Sparklers can reach temperatures of up to 2,000 degrees, which is hot enough to melt glass and some metals, and they can stay hot for a long time.

With adult supervision and extra precautions taken by parents, kids can enjoy sparklers on during Fourth of July festivities. However, if you'd prefer to play it safe and leave the fireworks to the crowds, you can still enjoy the sights and sounds of Independence Day. These kid-friendly alternatives are just as festive but far more safe.

Patriotic Paper Fans

Hosting the family to celebrate America's birthday? Colorful paper fans not only double as festive table decorations, but they are fun toys that kids can wave and twirl—possibly, all day long. Print out one of our two templates—the stars and stripes or patriotic scheme—and follow the directions to create the fan.

Fringe Pom-Poms

You waved, shook, and shimmied similar pom-poms for your favorite team on game day. Now, it's the kids' turn: Red, white, and blue layered pom-poms are threaded with a few silver metallic mylar strips to make sparkler alternatives that shimmer and shine. They're so festive, young children won't even notice otherwise.

Bubble Wands

When sparklers are amiss for the kids, no need to burst their bubble—bubbles and parties are a perfect match. Offer various sizes of bubble wands along with a basin of bubble solution, and let the little ones blow and wave them into the air. (The adults may even want to get in on this one.)

Paper Rockets

Time for this party to blast off! A batch of these celebratory paper rocket party favors filled with colorful candies and small surprises can entertain even the busiest of children at your gathering.

Patriotic Pails

Fashion children's play buckets or bins into personalized patriotic pails that are equipped with everything to stay entertained all day long. You can make these pails extra festive with star-printed paper as well as patriotic ribbons.

Ribbon Wands

What child wouldn't want to wave a makeshift magical wand with cascading ribbons down the wooden dowel? You can use any shade of ribbon to match your party's aesthetic, although it's only fitting to use red, white, and blue for the Fourth of July.

Sidewalk Chalk Paint

Painted fireworks last much longer than actual fireworks. Instead of waving a sparkler, kids can wave a paintbrush meant to paint the outside pavement. Of course, this chalk paint is easily washed away with water and considered to be non-toxic art supplies. This also works for a barbecue, block party, or an ordinary summer day.

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