Winter boots, sparklers, cosy knits, and lashings of hot chocolate, Fireworks Night is a magical time of year to enjoy with your family.
If you are a foster carer, you might want to make this night extra special for your foster child, who may not have experienced it for themselves before. This is the perfect opportunity to create special memories that you can all cherish for years to come.
But before rushing out to buy your sparklers, it’s important to ensure you plan the festivities safely. In this article, we’ll share fireworks safety tips, how to ease any anxiety your foster child might have, and some simple ideas for how to make the night memorable for you and your foster child.
Fireworks Night Safety Tips
Fireworks Night is one of the most nostalgic times of the year and is a lovely way to bring the family together and embrace some quality time. However, to ensure you and your foster child enjoy the magic of Bonfire Night, it’s crucial to keep everyone safe.
Here are some ways to stay safe on Fireworks Night.
- Choose the right fireworks - make sure that the fireworks you choose are suitable not just for home use but for the size of your garden. Check that they are marked with British Standard number BS 7114 and always read and fully understand the safety information and instructions.
- Sparklers - sparklers are not recommended for children under the age of five. If you do have sparklers, pop some gloves on your foster child and stick the end of the sparkler into a carrot so they can hold them safely and tell them not to wave them around close to their (or anyone else's) face. Have a bucket of water or sand at the ready to put your sparklers when they have finished.
- Clear your space - clear the area of any dead leaves, grass, and flammable objects where you’ll be setting off your fireworks, and make sure everyone knows to stand well away from where they will be set off.
- Have a water supply at the ready - just in case you need to put out a faulty firework, it’s a good idea to have a bucket of water or a hose close to hand.
- Keep pets safe - if you have a furry member of the family, fireworks can be very stressful for them. Put them in a room as far from the garden as possible and either pop on the TV or some soothing music to help keep them calm.
Remember, it’s also illegal to set off fireworks after midnight on November 5th, so make sure your display finishes before then.
How to Celebrate Fireworks Night with a Nervous Child
Many children in care come from traumatic backgrounds where they might have experienced abuse or neglect. Because of this, loud noises, unfamiliar environments, and even bright flashes of light can be scary or triggering. If your foster child is keen to celebrate Fireworks Night but is feeling anxious, there are some things you can do to help.
- Talk to your child - let them know what the night is all about and tell them the story of Bonfire Night and why it is celebrated. It’s a British tradition that has been celebrated for over 400 years and remembers Guy Fawkes' failed attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605. It is now celebrated with bonfires and firework displays. If they are younger and don’t know what to expect, tell them that many people will be setting off fireworks and there will be loud bangs and flashes of light. Listen to any fears they might have and make your arrangements around them, but let them know they are in a safe space and you’re there for them. The more they know what to expect, the less frightening it can be.
- Try noise-reducing headphones - these headphones are designed to muffle or reduce loud noises, so it might be a good idea to get some for your child so they aren’t startled.
- Choose sparklers instead of fireworks - if your child is over the age of five, have a night in the garden with sparklers. These don’t make any noise and as long as they are handled correctly (see our safety points above), they can make for a magical evening. Show them how to write their name with them and have fun watching the sparks fly.
- Use glow sticks - if your foster child is under five, glow sticks make a fun and safe alternative to sparklers. They also glow like sparklers and come in a variety of colours. Play games like ‘tag’ with them or hide and seek in the garden.
- Watch from inside - if your child is feeling nervous about being outside with all the noise and lights, set up a cosy viewing spot inside. Choose the best window to watch the fireworks from and grab some blankets, cushions, and put on your PJs. Bring a selection of traditional Bonfire Night snacks (and of course some hot chocolate) and enjoy the magic indoors.
Ideas for Making Fireworks Night Memorable for Your Foster Child
Now we’ve looked at some safety ideas and how to prepare your foster child for Fireworks Night, let’s look at some fun ideas you can do to make the night extra special and memorable.
Make Firework-themed Arts and Crafts
Arts and crafts are a lovely way to bond as a family and there are crafts that can be done at any age. Why not have a go at making a traditional Guy Fawkes scarecrow? You’ll need some old clothes, straw to stuff him with, fabric or a paper bag to fill with stuffing for his head, and pens or paints to decorate his face. You can either keep your scarecrow or, if you’re having a bonfire, pop him on it (might be a bit scary for younger children but it’s a tradition, so do what’s right for your child).
If you don’t mind a little mess, you could make paint-splattered fireworks. It might be best to do this in the garden to avoid getting paint on your furniture! Grab some large sheets of black paper or card and a variety of paints and paintbrushes. Let your child dunk their paintbrush into the paints and start splashing it across the card and keep going until you have a beautiful, colourful firework display. You can even sprinkle some glitter onto the paint to make it look extra sparkly and magical.
Keeping with the paint theme, get some red, orange, and yellow paint, and some black card. Roll your little one’s sleeves up and have them cover the palm side of their hand in the paints. Next, stamp their hand on the paper with all the colours and make a bonfire design.
Tell Fireworks Night Stories
This is a lovely idea for younger children. Create a cosy corner in a room with blankets, pillows, and cuddly toys, and snuggle up together and read some stories about Fireworks Night.
- Poppy the Cat’s Sparkly Night by Lara Jones - join Poppy and her friends as they go on a camping adventure and meet fireflies, fairy lights, the moon, and the stars as they come to life with twinkling lights.
- Billy’s Fireworks Night by Pamela Malcolm - Billy and his friend share the fun of fireworks night together.
- Daniel’s First Fireworks by Juvenile Fiction - when Daniel and his sister go and see fireworks for the first time, he’s a little scared but soon feels better holding his sister’s hand.
- Fireworks Night by Audrey Humpreys - join Jack and his family as he goes to an amazing fireworks display in his town.
Make Firework-themed Treats
One of the best parts of Fireworks Night is the yummy snacks and treats. Cooking together is a fun way to bond with your foster child, and these easy-to-make treats are guaranteed to make them smile.
- S’mores - this classic American treat is simple and tasty. Get some Digestive biscuits, chocolate, marshmallows, and foil. Pop one biscuit onto a piece of foil, and add a couple of chunks of chocolate and a marshmallow before sandwiching another biscuit on top. Wrap the bundle up in the foil and place it in the oven or barbecue for a few minutes to let the chocolate and marshmallow melt. Unwrap your s’mores and dig in.
- Fireworks cookies - you can either make your own simple biscuits or buy a packet of ready-made large cookies. You’ll also need 120g white chocolate, violet food colouring gel or powder, and sparkly sprinkles. Melt your chocolate gently and drop in the food dye gel until you get it to the colour you want. Drizzle the violet chocolate over your cookies to look like a firework pattern and sprinkle on your sprinkles. Wait for the chocolate to set and enjoy.
- Crackling firework chocolate bark - this is so easy and fun to make. You’ll need 220g milk chocolate, 120g dark chocolate, a selection of sprinkles, popping candy, and ½ tsp salt crystals. Break the chocolate into rough squares and melt gently. Stop just before it has completely melted. Line a 10 x 10-inch oven dish with greaseproof paper and pour the chocolate onto top. Smooth it with a spatula until it’s an even layer. Next, add your rainbow of sprinkles and popping candy and scatter your salt crystals evenly. Leave it to set until it’s solid and break it into rough pieces. Enjoy your crackling treat!
Enjoy the Magic of Fireworks Night with Your Foster Child
However you choose to spend Bonfire Night with your foster child, we hope we have given you some ideas for how to make it extra fun and safe.
By following these safety tips, taking your child’s needs into consideration, and planning some exciting activities, you can create memorable moments to help your foster child feel loved and welcome in your home.