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.
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.
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.
Here is a link to some fire safety resources including printables.
And now to the kids co-op linky
I'm sharing this at