A Parent/s Guide to Bonfire Night for Kids

bonfire night for kids - fireworks

Bonfire night will soon be lighting up our skies once again and - for kids - it's one of the most exciting evenings of the year.

From sparklers to Catherine wheels, and toffee apples to the thrilling story of Guy Fawkes and his perilous plot, the event is always a highlight of the British winter.

Whether you're heading to a local bonfire party, throwing your own or popping over to a friends, here's our guide to making sure it's a magical night for the kids.

What to Take With You

As with any outdoor British event, you need to take the right supplies, including:

  • Lots of warm clothing - we've all got a memory of standing around on a bitterly cold bonfire night. From hats to coats and scarfs, you really can't take too much warm clothing.
  • Warming flasks of hot chocolate - to help keep the kids warm.
  • Ear muffs - some young children can get upset by the loud bangs of the fireworks. Take some earmuffs to muffle the noise and protect (and keep warm!) their little ears.
  • Waterproofs - you can never rely on the Great British weather to stay dry, so for an outdoor event, waterproofs are essential.
  • Seasonal treats - such as toffee apples, to keep the kids fed and happy.

Safety Tips

Bonfire night is lots of fun, but fireworks, sparklers and a bonfire can of course be hazardous - particularly if you're attending a private party or throwing your own, without official safety precautions. Some good tips to keep your little ones safe are:

  • Never give sparklers to children under five and always supervise children around sparklers and fireworks
  • Make sure children holding sparklers are wearing gloves and light them one at a time
  • Show children how to hold sparklers away from their body at arm's length
  • Always keep a bucket of water nearby and plunge sparklers into the water as soon as they have burnt out
  • Make sure everyone stands well back from the fireworks or bonfire
  • Avoid dressing the children in loose or flowing clothes and tuck scarves into their jumpers
  • If you're throwing your own party, make sure that all fireworks are purchased from a reputable retailer and are stored as recommended

Activities

Looking for some fun activities to do on bonfire night itself? Or in the run up to the big day? Here are some ideas the kids will love:

Make your own Guy Fawkes

Try making your own Guy Fawkes as a family. Simply stuff some old clothes with newspaper, tying the ends of the trouser legs and arms with string. You can then create a head by stuffing an old pillow case, tying around the 'neck' with string and adding a hat.

The important thing to remember is that if you want the figure to burn safely, you need to avoid plastics and synthetics.

Apple Bobbing

No bonfire night is complete without a traditional game of apple bobbing. Setting it up is simple - just place some apples in a large container full of water and then blindfold each child in turn. The aim of the game is to get an apple out of the basin using only their mouth, which is harder than it sounds!

Hand out prizes such as these Single Sealife Tattoos and these Bare Foot Erasers to anyone who manages to get an apple.

Firework Art

A classic pre-bonfire night activity, firework art is lots of fun. Provide the kids with a pack of coloured chalk and black sugar paper, and ask them to draw pictures of their favourite fireworks.

Firework 'Rockets'

Get the kids to make firework 'rockets' by wrapping toilet rolls in tin foil, and then sticking coloured streamers of tissue paper to one end. You can then hold a competition to see who can throw their creation the furthest.

Hand out prizes to the winners such as these Mini Sticky Tapes and this Mini Smiley Faces Sticker Sheet.

Find Guy Fawkes

This bonfire-night twist on the traditional game of hide and seek is lots of fun for older kids - and it's educational! Sit all of the children down and tell them the story of Guy Fawkes and the gunpowder plot. Then tell the kids that the person who's 'it' is Guy Fawkes and they've got to find where they're hiding (which you can pretend is the cellars under the Houses of Parliament).

All children love bonfire night - and by following these tips you can make sure this year's event is one to remember.

Have you got any more bonfire night tips? Let us know in the comments.

Image by Ghengis Fireworks

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