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4 Surprising Reasons to Teach Your Kids to Build a Fire Today

Teaching your kids to make a fire is the perfect time to teach fire safety.

Teach your kids to build a fire??? I know what you’re thinking, kids and fire?! That’s dangerous! I will concede that kids playing with fire is dangerous. But learning to build a fire? That’s an important survival skill. Our only heat source is two wood stoves, so most of our kids have learned to start fires between the ages of 6-8.

4 surprising reasons to teach your child to build a fire today

Why Teach Your Kids to Build a Fire?

Kids love to learn real skills using real tools. Why do you think that play kitchens, toolsets, and doctor’s kits are so popular? Because, as Maria Montessori said, “play is the work of a child”. Kids want to know that they are valuable members of the family. They want to contribute to family life, not be shuffled off to play.

Tucker starts a fire while camping.

1. Knowing How to Build a Fire is a Valuable Like Skill

Let’s face it, schools don’t do a great job at teaching our kids life skills. How many times have you seen an article or meme talking about kids learning trigonometry but not how to pay their taxes or do a load of laundry?

Guess what, as the parent, it is your responsibility to teach your kids these life skills. Very few, if any, schools are going to teach your children to build a fire, yet this is an essential survival skill. Maybe your child will go their entire life never needing to build a fire…but what if they do need to someday? Fires offer warmth, protection from animals, and the ability to cook food. Don’t miss out on teaching your kids this important skill.

Teaching your kids to make a fire is the perfect time to teach fire safety.
9-year-old Apollo can confidently build fires with no assistance

2. It’s the Perfect Opportunity to Teach Your Kids Fire Safety

Fire safety is important for everyone. What better time to teach fire safety to your kids than while showing them how to build a fire? Almost all children are fascinated by fire. Teaching them to build a fire gives them an opportunity to see it’s power in action (get too close and OUCH). <— A lesson in cause and effect too!

Years ago we had a problem with one of our children playing with matches. As you can imagine, this is a terrifying discovery. After Chuck and I talked it over and evaluated the situation, we came to see it was more about sheer curiosity than anything else.

Under supervision, we gave the child a box of matches and taught him how to light them. This was all done safely, with Chuck and me by his side. He would light a match and then toss it into the woodstove. After that experience, the child no longer felt the need to “play” with matches. His curiosity was satisfied and he knew if he wanted to strike matches or light a fire he could- with supervision.

Check Out These Fire Safety Resources for Kids

Camping in the rain can still be fun! You just need the right attitude and some fun sized Snickers bars.

3. It Relieves Anxiety About Fire

Giving your child a chance to be around fires and interact with fires can help relieve anxiety about it. Don’t get me wrong, we want children to understand the incredible power of fire, but for a child who is high anxiety and truly scared of fire, being around it in safe ways can help relieve that anxiety.

For a child with anxiety, let them watch you build a fire. Let them strike a match (if they are willing). Let them add kindling or a small log. If all of this is too much, bring out the real magic and let them roast marshmallows over the fire.

Celebrating Judah's birthday with a summer bonfire.

4. Learning to Build a Fire Gives Kids a Sense of Accomplishment

So many kids love books like Hatch, My Side of the Mountain, and the classic, Swiss Family Robinson. Who doesn’t love a good survival story of struggle and triumph? Why do you think shows like American Ninja Warrior and Ultimate Beastmaster are so popular? Kids need “battles” to fight and “enemies” to overcome.

Knowing how to build a fire safely gives kids a sense of accomplishment because they have accomplished something.

summer s'mores and bonfires

How to Teach Your Child to Build a Fire

Not sure how to safely teach your child to build a fire? I have created this all-inclusive curriculum just for you! How to Build a Fire is unit one in a Survival Skills for Kids curriculum I am working on. It is a 10-page printable guide on teaching kids how to start a fire, the science behind fire, and how to use a knife safely.

10 pages packed full of resources to teach your kids how to build a fire

This unit includes:

Intro Page for Adult Guides, What Makes Fire Burn?, How Fires Start, Knife Safety, Fire Safety, How to Build a Fire, How to Build a Fire Photo Sequence, Reflections/Journaling, Build a Fire Sequencing Activity, Fire Safety Quiz

Not sure if you want to commit? Download the Knife Safety Page free.

How to teach your kids to build a fire.

Great Resources for Teaching Kids Survival Skills

Websites for Teaching Survival Skills

25 Survival Skills for Kids

7 Survival Skills All Kids Should Have

32 Survival Skills Your Child Should Know and Be Able to Do

ews Flash: Puberty Sucks. The how to survive guide for parents and kids}

Books for Teaching Survival Skills

Survivor Kids: A Practical Guild to Wilderness Survival

Forest School Adventure: Outdoor Skills and Play for Children

Survival! A Step-by-Step Guide to Camping and Outdoors Skills

The Young Adventurer’s Guide to (Almost) Everything

You can find more survival skills books here.

Ways I'm winning at parenting.

Inspiring Survival Stories Your Kids Will Love

Lost in the Barrens (ages 12&up)

My Side of the Mountain (ages 8-12)

Hatchet (ages 9-13)

Island of the Blue Dolphins (ages 8-12)

Winter Camp

For more fun and hands-on-teaching ideas check out my Teachers Pay Teachers store, Little Earthling Explorations.


1 Comment

  1. Melina

    Knowing how to make a fire is such a valuable skill. As a 15 year old, I ordered some flint and steel off of Amazon a couple of weeks ago to take my fire game to the next level— and now I’d consider myself a flint and steel expert. Not only is fire making a skill in and of itself, but doing it with the flint and steel has taught me about the physics and the compounds of these materials and how they work together and react. I highly recommend purchasing some if you’d like to improve your fire game— $7 off Amazon!

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