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24 Jun 2019

Fire! Why we should teach our kids how to use it safely

For a lot of Australians, some of our favourite childhood memories involve a campfire and roasting marshmallows. There is something magical and mesmerising sitting around the campfire watching the flames – it warms you up, slows you down and tunes you into your surroundings, nature and each other.

The joy of a campfire is often the very reason why kids want to go camping and get outdoors. When we sit by a campfire under the stars, we are sharing an activity together as countless of generations have done before. It’s an ancient human tradition and connection.

At Centennial Parklands our education principles centre around the nature play philosophy that teaches children life skills like risk assessment, independence, negotiation, resilience and problem-solving.

Centennial Parklands nature education

Why we teach kids to safely interact with fire

Instinctively, we feel cautious about our kids being around fire but the best way to protect our kids is to teach them how to be around it safely.  Before we teach kids how to light a fire, we first teach them how to be safe and what precautions need to be taken. 

Exploring the outdoors teaches children (and adults) about themselves and their environment. An important aspect of Nature Play is that children learn how to safely take calculated risks - and campfires teach kids how to be safe around a natural element that can be dangerous. 

Fire teaches us patience (it doesn't light instantly!), bush craft and survival skills that can be used at home or in the outdoors. Building a fire and using a flint develops fine and gross motor skills. Learning, chatting and gathering around a fire encourages language development and storytelling. It also provides social engagement and time to slow down and tune into nature.

At Bush School my daughter has made so many amazing gains in language, social skills, perseverance and motor skills. The Park's program is in a beautiful gathering place surrounded by nature where the kids can learn and practice respect for the environment and gain an appreciation for two of our most important resources, each other and the Earth.
local mother, Samantha

The art of fire lighting

There is an art to creating and keeping a fire burning. Children learn what fuel to gather, how to make a fire tee-pee and the natural elements (like oxygen) that need to come together to create fire.

At Campfire Club we enjoy sitting around the brazier, watching the flames and keeping warm.  Each child has a turn learning how to use flint and steel to light a fire – lighting a fire using a spark is incredibly satisfying for them.

It’s a skill that kids can proudly take home and use camping and on outdoor expeditions. During our longer programs we cook damper on a stick over the hot coals and eat it with sticky golden syrup.

campfire club, centennial park, nature play, nature education

Winter Programs at Centennial Parklands

Research demonstrates that having a connection to nature is highly beneficial to wellbeing as well as encouraging kids to think about the environment. 

Campfires are the theme for our 2019 winter school holiday programs, Kids vs Wild and Bushrangers. The winter Bush School programs also have age appropriate campfire activities for pre-schoolers and kids 5-12 years
These programs are a great way to connect kids to nature while having fun - we’d love to sit round a campfire with you!

campfire, nature play, nature education, centennial park


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