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Bonfire Night: Activities and Safety tips

Bonfire Night is a great time to celebrate a tradition in the UK and enjoy a firework and bonfire display in your local area. It is something that is celebrated by all ages and by lots of families at the beginning of November. Bonfire Night, or Guy Fawkes Night as it's also known, is a perfect opportunity to create exciting activities in your early years setting and get children expressing themselves through bright colours and fun activities. It's also a great time to teach children how to keep themselves safe if they attend an event.

There are lots of activities on the internet but to give you a helping hand we’ve created this blog of our top activities to get your children in the mood for Bonfire night, as well as some helpful tips from firework and bonfire safety websites. 

Activities

1. Simple Mark Making

Mark making activities can be adapted for all age groups from babies to preschool.

You can ask children to use different material to make bright fireworks and bonfires. Younger children could use cotton buds or their little finger on chalk boards and copy firework style shapes and patterns. Or children can use their imaginations to make their own shapes and swirls with pencils, felt-tips, glitter pens or paint!

[Physical Development – Moving & Handling; Mathematics – Shape, space and measure; Expressive Arts and Design – Exploring and using media and materials & Being imaginative]

2. Fireworks in a Jar

This activity combines bonfire night, fireworks and science. Fill jars with water and set them out on an activity table. Mix together each food colouring colour with oil and use pipettes or pour the mixtures into the jar and watch the fireworks come to life! 

Make sure you don’t miss the step where you mix oil to food colouring as this will make sure most of the colouring floats. 

[Understanding the World- The World; Expressive Arts & Design – Exploring and using media & materials, Being imaginative]

3. Painting with Straws

Another great way to create fireworks in your setting is painting with straws! 

Gather together some straws, at least one per child, as well as black card or paper and some bright coloured paint. Add some water to the paint so they become a little runnier and drop enough paint on the paper to create a small puddle. Then get your children to take their straw and blow through it to spread the puddle you made. 

This may take a little practice, so you could always let the children have a few practice goes on scrap paper or newspaper.

Don’t forget to use lots of different colours to brighten up your night sky! This activity is perfect for toddlers and older children too.

[Physical Development – Moving & Handling; Expressive Arts & Design – Exploring and using media & materials, Being imaginative]

4. Bonfire Night Sky

A great way to get all children involved and celebrate their beautiful artwork is to create a bonfire night sky display board with a fun and messy twist. 

Tape together lots of black card or paper, or use individual pieces, and pour the paints into trays and give the children paint brushes. Dip the brush into the paint and flick the paint onto the black paper. This is the messy bit so make sure you put some newspaper or covering down! Flick a range of colours onto the paper to create a bright picture.

You can add painting and other activities you’ve done to the board too! 

[Physical Development – Moving & Handling; Expressive Arts & Design – Exploring and using media & materials, Being imaginative]

Safety

An important part of any firework celebrations, such as bonfire night, is the prevention of accidents. Fireworks and bonfires can be great fun but it is important to remember and pass on safety tips to parents, families and begin teaching children how to stay safe from an early age. 

Here are a number of important tips to remember:

  • Make sure you plan your firework display to make it safe and enjoyable;
  • Read and follow the instructions on each firework packaging prior to the evening or use a torch if necessary;
  • Light the fireworks at arm's length and have others stand well back;
  • Never return to a firework once it has been lit even if it fails to go off;
  • Direct fireworks away from spectators;
  • It is recommended that sparklers are not given to children under-5 years of age;
  • Make sure everyone handling sparklers wears gloves;
  • Never hold a baby in your arms while you are holding a sparkler;
  • When using sparklers avoid wearing loose clothing and tie back long hair.

Check out these websites for more information:

Royal Society of the Prevention of Accidents 

Fire Service

BBC Newsround 

Dr James Huntington's picture

Dr James Huntington - Director

James is the Founder and Managing Director at LearningBook. His background in Computer Science and Education help lay the foundation for LearningBook to become one of the UK's first Digital Learning Journey Companies.