Author: Cindi Lou Grant
Hero: Nature skills that will make you, your child's hero.
Making Tiny Fires with Kids
Introducing your child to the primal skill of fire building may seem a bit daunting and dangerous. However, I would argue that keeping them disconnected from fire can be even more dangerous. By teaching them the caution, responsibility, and care involved when dealing with fire, you are setting them up for success. When they cultivate a healthy respect they will be less likely to learn about fire in ignorance, which could lead to an injury.
As an introduction, I recommend making the fire very small and relative to the child's size. This will help them connect with the concept instead of being overwhelmed by a large bonfire and it's safer all around. Keeping with the tiny theme, you can include mini marshmallows or even roast baby bell peppers over the tiny fire. These tiny fires also get children's imaginations flowing and will keep them engaged.
7 Steps to Build a Tiny Fire
1) Choose a safe location away from flammable items and in a place that you don't mind having some ash.
2) Gather small, kid-sized rocks to create the fire ring. Take the time to talk about how important it is to contain the fire so it won't spread.
3) Collect small sticks, twigs, and paper fire starter. (I recommend a paper grocery bag.)
4) Make a small tee-pee with the smallest sticks and paper on the inside. This is a great time to talk about things like the structure, materials, method, and fire safety. (think Smokey the Bear)
5) Use matches, a lighter, or even a magnifying glass to light a small stick or sparklers for added fun. Let your child start the fire and be patient as it may take them a few tries.
6) Tend to the fire. Roast your snacks and spend some time around it together.
7) When you’re done, douse the fire with water and stir the hot coals with a long stick until it's fully out. This is a good time to discuss fire safety Smokey The Bear-style.
Over all, this experience will be a good life skill for your child. It may also present an opportunity for you to facilitate your child's relationship with nature.
Fostering that sense of wonderment that comes so organically in kids, is our mission at Sawyer and we hope they take these skills into a life full of exploring. Give it a try and when you're done, let us know what your kids thought with the share button below.