4 ways to celebrate July 4th with kids who don't like fireworks

The volume and spectacle of Independence Day fireworks can be a frightening experience for your little one.

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July 4th is almost here! And for many, buying fireworks or going to watch a fireworks show is a big part of their Independence Day celebration. For some children, however, the volume and spectacle of a fireworks show can be an anxiety-inducing and frightening experience.

Luckily, there are still plenty of ways to celebrate the 4th of July that don't involve handling fireworks, which can present a safety issue, or going to see a fireworks show, if your child finds the noise disturbing.

Whether this is your first 4th of July with baby or your children are seasoned pros at waving the American flag at your local parade, we've got some fun ways to have a patriotic celebration with kids that don't include the bright lights and loud booms of a fireworks show, which after all the cancelled celebrations last summer, I presume will be louder than ever this year.

And if you find that fireworks will be hard to avoid on the 4th, check out these noise-calling headphones for kids.

Here are 4 ways to celebrate with kids on the 4th that don't involve fireworks:


Go on a picnic

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Like apple pie and baseball, going on a picnic is about as classic and all-American as you can get―which makes it a great way to celebrate America's birthday! We've rounded up a delicious array of July 4th recipes you can make, too. Watermelon and feta salad? Yes, please. And is it even 4th of July if you don't attempt to make an American flag cake or some sort of red, white and blue-themed dessert? (I say 'attempt' as I have never been quite successful at this baking task, though every year I make a concerted effort).

I might skip the hot dog eating contest, though.

Host your own July 4th parade

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Attending your local July 4th parade is a wonderful way to celebrate in your community, but you could also create your own if you're still feeling wary around crowds. Whether you decide to invite a few neighbors to join or celebrate with just your family, creating a 4th of July parade can be a lot of fun. Decorate bikes, scooters (yourself!) and/or your car with red, white and blue streamers and assorted July 4th decorations, then head out for a spin around the block. Create a patriotic playlist and have that playing while on your "parade route" and when you're done, what about a reading of the Declaration of Independence?

Create an obstacle course or mini Olympics in your backyard

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In honor of the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, what about creating your own Olympic Games or American Ninja Warrior obstacle course in your backyard? Make up your own games or use ones you have around the house or buy a kit. Either way, this is a fun (and active) family activity. We love Hoosier Handmade's ideas, especially making the Olympic Rings out of pool noodles―genius! If you're experiencing a heat wave like much of the country, I would say running through a sprinkler should DEFINITELY be one of the challenges.

For the "awards ceremony", this red, white and blue tinsel photo backdrop is pretty epic.

Go camping

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Another all-American past time just perfect for 4th of July weekend, nothing says escape from fireworks more than camping in the great outdoors. If it's your first time, I recommend giving camping in your backyard a go, but if not, we've got some great camping with kids tips that will help make this adventure a memory to last a lifetime. Just don't forget to pack the bug spray.

If access to nature is tricky (raise your hand, urban dwellers), what about a makeshift camping adventure on your living room floor? Pull out the sleeping bags, watch a movie, make s'mores indoors (yes, really!) and put some glow in the dark stars on the ceiling. Happy 4th!