Teaching Fire

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a scouts leader. It’s really special. I could write a million posts about scouts, and I probably will. But this one is about how I taught fire-building to about 30 5-7 year olds at a campout.


Things I prepped ahead of time:
—shredded paper
—dryer lint
—a log of firewood for shaving off kindling (I assigned an adult to do this task while I talked.)
—Bucket of water
—Long matches in a long glass jar, with the rough match-lighting strip taped to the side (one adult is in charge of the matches)
—These cards:

fire4 copy

fire7 copy

fire5 copy

fire6 copy

fire8 copy

I explained that fire is important, vital, and can be dangerous if we don’t pay attention; but that above all we trust them. We know they don’t want to get hurt and they’re going to do their best.

Thankfully, we had zero burns! And everyone built and lit something.

I made three piles of tinder, fuel, and kindling, among other ephemera. I offered flint and steel, which a few kids tried.

fire1 copy
fire2 copy
fire3 copy

And I had them build their fires in separate corners of the fire pit. We all gathered each element together and lit the fires one at a time. The scouts had a choice of lighting their own match or having a grownup do it, and most did. Everyone got something going. Several kids came back to make another one. I hope they felt like warriors.