I have made a mini tutorial video (go to Tapestry to check it out!) showing the basics of how to have a fire like in our Forest School sessions. This is something you can do in your gardens or if you have BBQ’s at home and is a great activity for children to get involved in. Despite the risks associated with fire lighting as long as you follow all the safety procedures there is no reason why children can’t be hands on. This kind of activity promotes risk awareness skills as children start to learn how to keep themselves safe and supports their general understanding of their environment and the natural world. Why not go for a walk beforehand and collect all your sticks for your fire – you can even make a sorting game out of it to help support mathematical skills, getting your child to find different sized sticks and then arranging them into piles ready for your fire.
Fires are great for a whole range of activities – we have made bird feeders, our own charcoal for mark making and have done lots of cooking, to name a few. Here are some links for two of our favourite recipes we use at Forest School:
(Take out the olives if you prefer – you can be really experimental with this recipe adding whatever you like. We’ve tried adding cheese, chorizo, garlic or you could make it sweet with cinnamon or chocolate – go crazy!)
If anyone is interested in having a charcoal making tutorial, I can post one for you, just let me know.
How to stay safe (please read before attempting your own):
Create a fire circle using markers to indicate to children where is safe to go or not (unlike me in the video!) The distance the markers need to be from the middle varies depending on how windy it is, how big your fire is and the age of child participating, but an average should be at least 1.5m away from the fire.
Have containers of water available – a. for any accidental burns & b. to ignite your fire at the end.
When collecting sticks try and find dry, dead wood or your fire will be hard to light and very smoky. If a stick snaps easily with a ‘crack’ it is safe to assume it is good to use.
Keep long hair tied back and don’t wear clothes with any toggles of lose hanging bits.
Have fire gloves to hand.
If you are lighting a fire straight on to the earth make sure the area is clear of debris such as grass/leaves etc which could ignite and spread.
When your fire is all finished make sure to put it out using lots of water. Make sure there are no grey bits of wood or embers left. When properly out the wood should be cool enough to touch.