I know I heard plenty of shocked gasps coming from Readerville. Let my child play with fire? Are you crazy, woman? Don’t you know fire is dangerous? (you can see more of what crazy things we learn here!)
So let’s start out with the warnings.
Rules for Letting Your Children Play with Fire Club:
- Don’t talk about Letting Your Children Play with Fire Club.
- Never let your children play with fire.
- Never let your children play with fire without adult supervision.
- Never let your children play with fire unless you have a fire extinguisher handy.
- Never let your children play with fire in a drought situation around a lot of dead vegetation.
- Never let your children play with fire near a building.
- Never let your children play with fire without proper fire protocols.
- Double Tap. (Oh, wait, wrong list.)
So, that should cover all the cautionary bases, right?
Now, let’s move on to the fire! One of the biggest issues with learning to use your equipment for camping or bugging out is actual practice before you NEED the equipment. We rely heavily on a good stash of lighters in our packs and EDC to tide us over. But what happens if they get wet, or the temperature drops below what the butane can operate at. Or what happens if we just don’t have a flint or lighter or even a box of matches?
One day, we had to go find out! We went out to a great area, with plenty of protection, dug a sand pit to keep us out of the debris, and started playing with all the versions of fire starters we had available to us. Learning to use the magnesium sticks is time consuming, and it frustrated us, but we finally got one started. Using a lighter, one of the kids realized you could actually use a twigs as a long match, lit the twig and started his fire that way (I thought it was ingenious of him. Fire starter veterans might roll their eyes, but he worked his problem out!) We then tried a stick on a hollowed out piece of branch, and because it wasn’t life or death, spirits got low pretty quickly, and we were never successful at that one. We will definitely NEED to go back out and practice again, many times, many ways.
Because we learn by doing and learn by watching, I’m going to share some of the ways we’ve been enjoying learning how to start a fire. From the basic to the not-quite extreme. Yes, we will continue to practice using our basic fire starting skills, but we also are loving these fun new ways to learn to make them, too!
In almost all these instances, it’s really great to have some tinder to help. Small brush and scrub, dried leaves, coconut husks (for those of you on deserted islands), vaseline/cotton balls, char cloth or other found tinder.
10 Fun Ways to Start a Fire with Kids
Fire Starting Basics
How to Make and Use a Bow Drill
Compass / Magnifying Glass
And yes, there are other ways to start a fire such as a ferro rod, a batter/brillo pad, etc., but these should get you started! Here’s the tool I use to get a fire started – so far it’s been the one that I’ve found works best and most reliably for me and the boys so far.