A More Sensory Friendly 4th of July

The 4th of July is almost here and many people find themselves preparing for a fun weekend filled with activities — parades, fireworks, BBQs, family gatherings, and more! For those who live with, or who have a family member or friend who lives with, a sensory-related condition this can be an anxious time.

You can do your best to limit time at these kind of events or avoid them altogether, but some things will be out of your control.

What can you do to enjoy the 4th of July and make it more sensory friendly as you prepare for the upcoming holiday? It is always important to plan ahead and have an exit strategy in case you need to leave in a hurry.

Here are some suggestions from Sensooli, a sensory support community, on how to manage sensory issues this holiday:

Noise Cancelling Headphones

A pair of noise-cancelling headphones is an essential tool for enjoying many events that take place with loud noises and crowds of people.  They decrease the decibel level significantly. You can also take along your own music to listen too as a way to help calm you. It helps block out the other noises going on around you. 

Plan Your Parking

If you plan on attending a parade, arrive early and try parking close. (Be aware of parking restrictions during holiday events…they are usually posted).  Leave early to avoid the rush and chaos of all attendees exiting at the same time. Call ahead to local businesses along the parade route and see if they have any indoor viewing options available for special circumstances.  If wandering is a challenge in your situation, avoiding parades and crowded areas is always a good option. There is always another time to try it. 

Social Stories

As with any change in routine, use social stories or watch videos to let everyone know what to expect.  Nothing should come as a surprise. Add the date to a calendar and share the fun of doing a countdown.  

Snacks And Stims

Wherever you may roam this holiday weekend, make sure you have the essential snacks, toys and stims everyone may need.  Don’t forget the water for hydration. These essentials can provide comfort in an unfamiliar setting.  

Location Location Location

Fireworks are so big that they can be viewed from very far away….making them a lot more quiet and tolerable too.  Does your city have a hill that provides a great 360* view of the outlying towns? These are great places to watch multiple firework shows and not be in the hustle and bustle of the big crowds.  


Years ago, I became a strong supporter of the K.I.S.S. method (Keep It Simple Silly).  Through the years, I have found it can be modified to Keep is Sensory Simple. You know your situation best.  Plan a day that can incorporate some July 4th themed fun, and remember that it is all right to not participate in the big community events.   

Other Important Notes:

  • All national networks have firework displays on their schedule. This is a great, sensory friendly option.
  • Dollar stores have cost effective craft options and glow in the dark items that can be incorporated into your own July 4th sensory bin.  
  • Make the day fun! However, that may look to you.

Enjoy your 4th of July holiday and weekend!

Information provided was obtained from Sensooli: How To Make The 4th of July More Sensory Friendly. ” Sensooli is a supportive worldwide community and hub, bringing together like-minded people and experts to offer education, products and support to people dealing with any form of sensory processing difficulty. “