Playing in the snow and starting to get cold? Why not pull out your fire pit and build a winter backyard fire!
I scraped some snow off of fire pit, brought out some dry newspaper and a pack of matches. Then I gave Sam the job of helping to figure out where we could fund dry sticks to help us start the fire with. We went on a hunt to the far back section of our yard and discovered that there was lots of tall dried grass sticking out of the snow. We could break off just the part that was sticking up so that it didn't have any snow on it. Making the trek back and forth across the yard with our loads of grass and sticks was great exercise and wore us both out quickly.
Sam and Avery stood back while I struck the match and got the fire going. We kept it a pretty small fire because we weren't going to staying outside for very long but it was big enough to warm us up a bit and watch the snow in the bottom of the fire pit melt away.
It was a great chance for us to talk about standing back from fires, not touching fire pits and how the red flames are very hot. Great fire safety reminders for my little girls.
The Nitty Gritty!
Okay, so mostly we did this because next weekend I have to teach a winter survival course and wanted to practice my fire builing skills! hehehe But it was a good activity for the girls to help me with. We talked a bit about why not every branch would work (ones that are "green" but have no leaves still look dead to preschoolers). This would be a great lesson for children just a bit older; learning how to look for buds or other signs that the branch is still alive and just dormant.
If you are interested in learning more about fire building and survival strategies that involve fire you can check out Tom Brown's Field Guide to Wilderness Survival. There is a lot of information in there about how to maximize the warmth you can get from a fire, how to use fire starting methods like bow and drill and how to use warming rocks as additional heat sources. I can't wait for the girls to be just a bit older and we can start practicing real shelter building, fire starting and other survival skills out in the woods!