Creative Options for a Healthy, Safe Holiday Party

Fun foods and alternatives to dangerous fireworks for your family picnic


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The kids will love making and eating this simple patriotic parfait.

Image by Micki Bare

The long holiday weekend will be filled with gatherings of families and friends to celebrate Independence Day. Food and fireworks are traditional aspects of our July 4th celebrations. But when you have kids, health and safety are always top-of-mind. Here are some kid-friendly alternatives for your holiday festivities.

The Backyard Barbecue

We have a few ideas for healthy, festive snacks your kids can help you make and everyone will love to eat.

July 4th Parfaits

You will need an angel food cake, strawberries, blueberries and yogurt for this refreshing dessert. Use cups or biscuit cutters to cut angel food cake into round slices. A parent or older child will have to slice the angel food cake. Then, simply stack layers of angel food cake, yogurt, strawberries and blueberries in a clear plastic cup. Each cup will need one small, one medium and one large round slice of cake. Start with the small piece in the bottom of the cup. Top your parfait with a whole strawberry.

Patriotic Berry Cheesecake Bites

Inspired by The Kitchen is My Playground, you’ll need to provide the kids with strawberries sliced in half, blueberries and either a mixture of cream cheese and confectioners sugar, whipped cream cheese, or a mixture of cream cheese and vanilla yogurt. Have the kids smear cheese on each strawberry half, and then decorate with two or three blueberries.

Red, White & Blue Banana Pops

A few months ago, during Frozen Foods Month, Registered Dietitian Cindy Silver shared four ways to make frozen banana pops. For the July 4th holiday, I selected the chocolate confetti version, but I substituted white chocolate for dark chocolate. I also used red, white and blue sprinkles instead of red, yellow, blue and green. You’ll want to start these early in the day, because the bananas have to spend at least three hours in the freezer before and after being coated in chocolate and sprinkles.

Fireworks Alternatives

Don’t let the hazards of fireworks limit your fun. Here are some safe alternatives that are just as exciting for the kids.

Bubble Fun

Glow-in-the-Dark Bubbles

About Education provides this recipe for making bubble solution: Gently mix 1/2 cup liquid dishwater detergent, 4-1/2 cups water, and 4 tablespoons glycerin in container.

To make it glow for nighttime fun, you’ll need a 50-50 mix of bubble solution and dyed water. To dye the water and make it glow in the dark, remove the ink-soaked pad from a highlighter pen and soak it in about a cup of water. Alternatively, you can mix glow paint into the water. Be sure to place your glow bubble solution under a light source for a few minutes before blowing bubbles. And always blow them outdoors so you don’t get paint on the walls and furniture!

Red and Blue Bubbles

Just add food dye to your bubble solution for brightly-colored, festive bubbles.

Glow Sticks

Stock up on glow sticks, necklaces and bracelets. Here are five ways — in addition to wearing them — the kids can light up the backyard:

  • Make chains to hang from trees.
  • Add sticks to the ice soft drink cooler.
  • Create centerpieces for the buffet table.
  • Set up a nighttime hopscotch board.
  • Paint two stakes with glow paint for nighttime ring toss.

You can also purchase glow lantern kits, whistles and games. Check the party aisle for lots of glow-in-the-dark fun.

Confetti & Streamers

While messy, confetti and streamers are much safer than anything that explodes. So if you don’t mind the mess, pick up some party poppers and streamers. Or, create your own confetti bombs with this July 4th craft from Happiness is Homemade. Empty your hole punchers, cut tissue and construction paper with shredding scissors, or pick up confetti at a craft store. Throw in some sequins for added sparkle. You’ll need to hollow out and rinse some eggs, dye them red and blue, fill them with confetti and then “seal” each with tissue paper affixed with glue.

One Last Tip: If you attend a community fireworks display, consider bringing noise-cancelling headphones for the little ones to minimize the scare factor brought on by the thundering fountains in the sky.

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The Daily Post

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About This Blog

Myra Wright has been the editor of Piedmont Parent since 2007 and is mom to three kids, ages 16, 13 and 8. Here, she blogs about parenting as well as news and events for Piedmont Triad parents.

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