Thursday 10 January 2013

Kids Co-op - Learning about Fire

Its time for Kids Co-op again. Welcome back, or if you are just discovering this link up Hurrah and Welcome. Please link up your favourite kids activity posts and take a second to check out some of the others. I know its tempting to link and run but you'll be cheating yourself if you do because I guarantee you'll find at least one post that inspires you. This week I'm linking the following:

Goblin and I were doing some art and I'd put out red and yellow paint. In his usual format he tipped a blob of red and a blob of yellow on the paper and moved them around a bit. I said "Oooh it looks like fire". He looked at it, looked at me, and said "Can we make a real fire?"

I try not to say "No" to Goblin's suggestions unless there is a really good reason. In this case several good reasons came to mind including:
- Fire is really dangerous
- Fire should never be played with
- I don't want to encourage pyro tendencies in my three year old.

But instead of letting the negatives overwhelm me I decided to use this as a teaching opportunities. So I said 'Yes'.
We went into the garden and I explained
"Fires must always be done outside, and in an open space so they don't accidentally spread"
We put the flammable material (boxes and paper) on the wet lawn and I explained
"The concrete might have air pockets and we don't want them to heat up because they could explode"
(I've seen a camp fire set on concrete explode the floor and send shrapnel flying and it is not pretty)
I put down one box and stuffed some paper inside. Goblin wanted it to be bigger but I explained
"Fire is very unpredictable so we need to keep it small and manageable".
Then I lay down two big bits of wood we'd had lying around and explained to Goblin that he wasn't to go any nearer to the fire than the back edge of the wood. He also had to pick a spot and stay there and he wasn't to run near the fire (children running towards a fire can easily trip and end up in the fire).
I made sure we had some full buckets of water on standby - because fire is unpredictable.

Goblin wanted to light the fire and I emphatically said No. I explained that Goblin was never to play with the lighter and he could only be near a fire if he was with me or Hublet. When I lit the fire the cardboard took very quickly and the flames were soon pretty high. Goblin could feel how hot it was and I think this scared him a bit - as you can see he didn't stand any where near the fire - another good lesson, Fires are really really hot.
When we'd run out of cardboard I told Goblin we needed to damp down the embers. He was keen to pour water on the fire but I made him wait until all the flames had died away. Then I let him pour water from his watering can on it. As it sizzled and steam came up I was able to explain that despite there being no more flames it was still incredibly hot and we mustn't touch it. 
After our fire had been safely extinguished I took Goblin inside and I showed him where we keep our Fire blanket, Fire Extinguisher, Burns kit, two smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarm. And what the alarms sound like.
Fire can be beautiful and something that can be enjoyed safely. But like the sea, fire is unpredictable and Goblin needs to understand the boundaries that need to be respected with fire.
 *If you intend to teach your children about fire through a practical lesson please bear in mind how flammable synthetic clothes are. Also wellington boots will melt if used to try and stamp out fires.

Here is a link to some fire safety resources including printables.

And now to the kids co-op linky

I'm sharing this at


  1. Very awesome that you take the time to teach him about fire.. the good and the bad! I love the look on his face as he is understanding a little about the heat and bigness of a fire! Thanks for hosting!

  2. What a brilliant life lesson! No doubt the experience and its lessons will stick with him so much better than a lecture and coloring pages! Thank you for all of the reminders to us parents too :)

  3. We just talked about fire today too! We kept ours much smaller though. lol It is a great lesson for them to see it up close!

  4. Great post. We've saved the holly and some logs and cones and are going to try and have a fire with littl'un - an almighty 3 today! - once her birthday party is out of the way. Only thing likely to go up in flames before then being me :-)

  5. Well done for saying yes especially as it turned out to be super informative for Goblin. We had a fire recently and toasted marshmallows, brilliant fun, I think it's better to expose them safely to this stuff early rather than make it forbidden and mysterious and therefore very tempting!

    1. Great post! I love how you turned his interest in fire into a learning opportunity.
      I totally agree with Hannah about demystifying fire and thus taking away the temptation to get into trouble with it.

  6. Love this! I believe if they're interested we should teach. If we don't they just might set out to discover it on their own.

  7. Amazing that we should be playing with fire this week!

  8. we had alot of fires at our old house and always let the children get involed.

    I haven't joined in countrykids for ages and so haven't been over here for a while, I do hope yoru all well... will have to have a good read :)

  9. I love his face where he has his back on the fence bless him. He looks fascinated yet worried at the same time :)


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