Onomatopeia (“ON” + “uh” + “MAT” + “uh” + “PEE” + “uh”):

            the use of words that sound like the action you are describing. FUN!

July 4th is filled with exciting sounds.  Fireworks are one of the biggest contributors to these experiences during this celebration.  Start a game with your family by sharing the anticipation of what you will hear, see, smell, and feel, or recounting these experiences.  Help your kids practice describing their encounter and build vocabulary skills at the same time.

Sounds like…?

Fireworks create many different sounds such as a pop, crackle, sizzle, boom, whoosh, screech, zoom, buzz and whirl. By imitating these sounds, we can often find the word that matches the sound.  Warning!  There may be a lot of giggling involved at this level.

Take this game to the NEXT LEVEL

Sights, smells, taste, and touch are all part of that fireworks experience. At the next level challenge your kids to use descriptions involving two of their other senses and warn them that there are two senses that just don’t mix with fireworks!    

Whoa, look at that!

Fireworks sparkle, twinkle, glitter, shimmer, fade, twist, and more!  Make a contest out of finding other words that describe the sights they have seen.  What other shapes did you see?  What were your favorite colors?  What else did you see?

“Listen, do you smell something?” (Dan Akroyd, Ghostbusters 1984)

Fireworks often leave a smoky haze in the air.  The air can smell strong and pungent, like sulfur, better known as ‘rotten eggs’.  We might wrinkle our noses at this challenge.  Be brave and use only words that describe what’s in our nostrils.  Words like sweaty, spoiled, or stinky.  When finished make sure to get some fresh air!

EWWWW…Not meant for consumption!

Fireworks are made up of many poisonous chemicals.  We cannot put them in our mouths because they would make us very sick.  Instead, delight your taste buds with a traditional 4th of July treat like strawberry shortcake, ice cream, brownies or pie.  How many words can you find to describe these yummy treats?

Too hot to handle (TOUCH).

Fireworks are extremely hot.  We cannot touch them, because the temperature of each explosion is 1,000-2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, hotter than a birthday candle or a campfire flame!  It can even melt glass.  (Adults should be in charge of the fireworks and always be the ones to light them)


Use your words. 

Fireworks can take your game into overtime when you flip the script on ‘feelings’ conversations.  We often ask kids yes or no questions or we give them words to describe what they might feel.  Challenge yourself and your child by asking open ended questions, giving them a few word hints (startled, unsure, wondrous) and letting them explain how they feel when the fireworks go boom, or screech, or sizzle.

Bonus Round!!!


Printable Coloring Sheet

Education.com has a great printable color by number sheet that uses the minerals and elements in the metals as a guide to color fireworks.


The Chemistry of Fireworks

 Awesome visual resources from Skunk Bear on the chemistry of fireworks.

Click here to watch the great YouTube video.


Magical Colors

Learn how the different colors are created and see some scintillating pictures of fireworks at colour.lovers.com.




Shapes and Patterns

Check out this great chart and learn all the names of the different shapes that fireworks can make in the sky!






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