Throw (Recycled) Confetti
Although it may seem hard to imagine a Fourth of July celebration without fireworks, it's also true that the gunpowder-propelled attractions cause pollution.
The smoke and ash that rain down from fireworks contain toxic chemicals, including heavy metals such as barium, cadmium, lithium and lead; potassium nitrate; sulfur-coal compounds and sometimes even arsenic. Scientists have also warned that fireworks can contribute to acid rain.
In an effort to green up pyrotechnics, Disney has pioneered new technology that uses environmentally benign compressed air instead of gunpowder as the propellant. Encourage your town to look into the technology for its displays.
Better yet, avoid the toxic burden of fireworks altogether, and help keep your family safe from potentially dangerous flames and explosives. One fun alternative is to give your kids confetti to throw instead. Use recycled paper, and give them the chance to make a mess. Read on for other ideas.
Host a Campfire or Light a Candle
When the sun goes down on July 4th, start a campfire. The light is longer-lasting than fireworks, and the ashes are less toxic. You can even roast marshmallows.
If you can't have a fire, you may be able to at least light some candles. (Natural soy ones burn the cleanest.)
Attend a Laser Light Show
Light shows can be nearly as exciting and creative as fireworks displays, yet they are far less polluting. Yes, they use some energy, but so does manufacturing and shipping fireworks, which can only be used once.
Pass Out Noisemakers
Classic noisemakers aren't just for New Year's Eve. Pass them out to friends and family, and gather everyone together to celebrate our country's independence at dusk, instead of lighting sparklers or other pyrotechnics.
When you're done you can gently clean mouthpieces with baking soda and water, and save for another occasion.
Show your kids how to make their own noisemakers. It's easy: Place some dried beans in a pie tin or empty can, then cover with plastic or paper and a rubber band, clips, glue, staples, or whatever else you have around.
Decorate the noisemakers with patriotic imagery, streamers, macaroni or whatever else strikes your fancy. Then shake them up!
Host a Pinata Party
Who doesn't love a pinata? Instead of toxic fireworks, gather friends and family together to burst a pinata.
Fill it with organic chocolates and your child's favorite treat.
Throw a Block Party
The Fourth of July is a great time to have fun with friends and neighbors, and you don't need explosions to do that. Get to know your neighborhood better by organizing a block party or BBQ.
You can also supervise your kids in a fun lemonade sale, which is an experience they'll remember.
Check Out a Parade
Looking for loud crashes, bright colors, laughter and fun? You can also find all this by watching or participating in a parade.
Commemorate the birth of our nation. You can even make a "green" float to enter if you feel inspired.