And the rocket's red glare...

Besides the USA and BBQs, what else comes to mind when you think about the 4th of July? Fireworks!!! From sparklers to large, computer-controlled mortars, we Americans celebrate the birth of our country by blowing up a small piece of it. 

Fireworks have been around for over 1,400 years, originating in China. Then and now they're typically used to celebrate or commemorate an important event. The different colors are created by using particular metals. For example, when copper is burned, it gives off a blue light. 

By John5199 [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Another distinctive aspect of fireworks is the sound. Some fireworks send a BANG right through your chest. Others pop and snap. Some sizzle, some whistle. However they sound, the different combinations of metals and oxides within the firework determine the type and magnitude of the noise created. This website has several different fireworks sounds available.

Of course, no post about fireworks is complete without a gratuitous fireworks video posted only for awesomeness.

Activity

Let your kids play with fireworks unsupervised! Wait, that's not a good idea. The good folks at Reading Confetti, however, have some great ways to have safe "fake" fireworks fun. 10 Ways to Make Fireworks with Kids. You'll have a blast!

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