Sunday, July 8, 2012

Glitter Fireworks

I was waiting to to this project with Natalie for a long time, and finally the Fourth of July arrived.  This craft is easy, but very messy, especially if you let your kids be in control.

What You Need (to make your's exactly like ours):
Heavy paper
Cup of water
Glue (stick or bottle)
Loose glitter
Glitter glue
Newspaper or table cloth (recommended for easy clean up if working indoors) 

What to Do:
I forgot to buy poster board at the dollar store, so we lengthened this craft by painting a sheet of white paper.  We mostly used the blue, but we also added a little purple, black, and Natalie put in some brown.

We then let it sit and dry while we did something else.  Watercolor doesn't take too long to dry and it doesn't need to by 100% dry to move on, so we didn't have to wait too long.

I had invisioned using a liquid glue, like Elmer's School glue with the orange tipped bottle, but our bottle's tip was clogged beyond repair.  So, instead, we used a glue stick.  I made the firework shapes and showed Natalie how to sprinkle the glitter over the glue.  I quickly learned that I was going to have to give up control on this craft, especially when one of the caps on the glitter fell off and the whole container dumped.  I let Natalie put the glue where ever she wanted and pour out tons of glitter.  Natalie soon realized that she liked working with the glitter glue more than sprinkling the glitter.  So, she made blobs with that and I worked on my own areas.

When you are all done, you shake away the excess glitter.  You want to wait for it to dry some before you do this so the glue doesn't run / splatter and so all the glitter doesn't fall off.  We made a huge mess with the extra glitter.  I wished I had put down paper so I could just fold it and funnel the glitter into the container to use again, or just throw the whole mess away.  I recommend paper or a table cloth to let you clean up easily, or you could work outside.  

Natalie was 2 years, 9 months when we did this craft.  While she had a hard time focusing on making firework shapes and controlling herself with sprinkling the glitter, and older child would have just as much fun with this project and make more consistent results.  This was one of my favorite projects because I really enjoyed the results from the work I did. 

Substitutions / Alterations:
The easiest would be to use blue or black paper for the sky background. 

Other firework ideas:
Spiral edges on black - I got some posters for the kids that were on a spiral flip chart.  When I trimmed off the edges, I thought the pieces looked like fireworks.  You could get a similar effect with the edges of colored paper on a spiral, or by coloring the edges yourself. 
Tissue paper on black (we didn't try this one)
Yarn fireworks - We did this one to pass the time on the fourth.  I made the line of glue, and Natalie placed the yarn on on it.  You could also use ribbon. 


  • This is a good activity for discussing colors with young children.  
  • You can make your own glitter by mixing salt and food coloring, then baking it on cookie sheets.  Making the glitter gives you a further chances to discuss colors, especially primary versus secondary, shades, mixing, and more complex vocabulary.  
  • If you want to move away from traditional fireworks, you can make shapes with the glue and watch them appear when you shake the excess glue away. 
  • At the present, I can only think of one book with fireworks: Olivia makes a Band by Ian Falconer.  
  • There is plenty of factual information to learn about fireworks, from how they are made to their history.  
  • And of course, you can go see fireworks!

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