One of my favorite summer activities is watching fireworks on the fourth of July. Most major cities put on a show for free; the larger the city, the more spectacular the fireworks. If you don’t live anywhere near a city and it’s legal to set off your own fireworks, you could even have your own show.
I remember growing up in Guatemala, we would get a variety of fireworks for every major holiday. Triangle things sprayed a fountain of sparks from the middle of the street. Lots of noisy popping fireworks were connected to each other and could be set off as a string. Sparklers could be held in your hand, and you could write your name in the air. Whistlers whistled in a kind of whine, which my family didn’t like very much. And then there were bigger ones that you could shoot up into the air to pop a colorful spray into the air. Those were more expensive.
This final kind is what most city displays in the United States use. When my husband and I had babies and toddlers, we would make sure to give the children a nice, long nap in the afternoon, because it didn’t get dark in Washington until 10 pm. We brought a sleeping bag, which we opened onto the soft part like a picnic blanket. We also had canvas chairs to sit in, but it’s better to lie down on a sleeping bag if the show is right above your head. We also brought snacks and fun things to keep the children occupied while we were waiting for it to get dark.
The only drawback (besides waiting so long for the fireworks) is that the children were crabby the next day. But if you plan to have a low-key day the next day, this can help alleviate the crabbiness. After all, it’s not every day that you get to see fireworks!
Here is a fun fireworks show to watch, in case you are too tired to go out. (I chose a London New Year celebration just so I could see Big Ben.)