When we got our wood-burning stove, my mom’s first thought was how my daughter might get burned on it. I understood (and secretly shared) her fear, but I was determined to teach my wild child to understand and respect fire. Because the stove serves as one of our main sources of cooking and heat on the homestead, we’ve been able to spend the last two winters building and tending the flames.
Despite our daily routine, I still had the sense that my daughter was a bit disconnected from the process. That’s where building miniature fairy fires come in. I LOVE this activity and was thrilled when my daughter blissed out on it too.
Here are five reasons why I think this is the best way to introduce a child to fire:
1) Big fires are pretty overwhelming for toddlers, and they induce a special sort of anxiety for parents. Fairy fires are small and much more manageable.
3) This is no ordinary fire! Fairy fires are magic. Below I’ve included some of the ways we incorporated fun and fairy stories into this activity.
4) Fairy fires are small enough that kids can actually see what’s going on. My daughter asked more questions about this fire than during any of our inside fires.
5) The heat coming off this fire is not intense at all. My daughter was able to get close enough to warm her hands, add fuel, and investigate. Also, its small size makes it easier to build and experiment with in almost any backyard or area.
Here are a few simple steps we took to build our fire:
What You Need
1) Small sticks, dry leaves, dry plant stalks, wool or other kindling. Also, I had a paper bag with me to help jump start the fire.
2) Small rocks
3) Matches or lighter
4) Cup of water
1) Dried rose petals and dried lavender
2) Miniature marshmallows
What To Do
1) Choose a safe, accessible location for your fire away from flammable items.
2) If you are interested in setting the scene, talk about how you are creating a fire pit for the fairies to enjoy. For this part, you can set up little pieces of bark for the “benches” and mini marshmallows on small sticks for the fairies to roast and eat later.
3) Use your rocks to create a fire ring. Ours was about a foot in diameter.
4) Make a small tee-pee using the smallest sticks and bit of kindling. This is a great time talk about things like the structure, materials, method and fire safety.
5) Use the matches or lighter to start the fire.
6) Tend to the fire and spend some time around it together. It’s so fun to keep it going and play in the smoke.
7) Fairy fires usually smell better than human fires, so that’s where the roses and lavender come in. Throw them on the fire to give it a wonderful smell.
8) When you’re done, douse the fire with water. These fires are so small, they usually go out on their ow quickly, but it’s a good safety exercise for the kids.
Yep, it’s that simple. Have fun and let me know what they faries say…
Your Woman Gone Wild,
PS. Don’t like fairies? Trolls also like fires so you can just as easily build one for them!