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.
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.