It’s important to remember to ‘Demonstrate’.
I mean demonstrate rather than instruct children.
Some days I just feel like that, all the questions are rather too much and I just need to get stuck into doing something, Demonstrating a way of life rather than instructing all the time.
Both girls were a bit reluctant about getting outside and doing anything. Naturally, I find myself glued to the laptop and just expecting them to follow my expectations of their outdoor life. If this sounds familiar, don’t worry it’s not your fault just an unexpected consequence of the age we live in, but it is something to keep and eye on.
So , I come out with it.
“We’re having a campfire dinner”
There, I’d said it. I mean it did suit me, I wasn’t really into getting bogged down with domestic and work stuff today, I just wanted to leave it behind. So doing this sort of fitted that bill.
We collected large stones to make the fire area and sand for the base. They collected twigs for the fire while I collated the cooking ingredients and utensils.
- Tip 1: give yourself a break and pick an ultra simple dish. Preferable one already cooked and just needs heating up, like soup or something. Really I was just delaying the big attraction of the marshmallows roasting on the embers but I figured I had to feed them anyway, and I wasn’t setting all this up just for a few sweets.
- TIP 2: build your ring of stones to the size of the pan you use, this saves on having to construct some elaborate over fire hanging system like in a 1950’s novel.
- Tip 3: get a good pile of twigs to the ready and a couple of smallish dry logs. Don’t underestimate how tricky it may be to get a good fire going.
After the third round of excitement at the flames followed by them dying out to a smolder she uttered the immortal words:
” We’re going to have to fetch Dad”
I as good as rugby tackled her to the ground and strapped her to a tree to stop her from reaching the house. That was it, the gauntlet was laid down. No one was entering the property, much less eating anything else until this campfire was a success. “No we don’t” I reaffirmed, reminding myself of the resolve to ‘demonstrate’ how to live the outdoor life.
At this stage I’d just like to point out that the normal rules of fire caution apply here. Exercise caution. Use your common sense. Anyone who considers themselves lacking in this should probably stop reading now. Pick your fire site well, clear surrounding area, if area prone to scrub type fire then Think Again!.
But a campfire doesn’t have to be anything they need to be overly scared of, demonstrate the correct procedure and the experience will be much more learnt than if you never let them anywhere near anything like that. I have a four and a six year old so they can be given instruction and caution. With toddlers it’s another issue.
Get them hunting for their own sticks to roast the marshmallows on, just watch how quick they find them then! this is the bit they’ve been waiting for. Hold the kid’s marshmallows on sticks for a short while close to the embers of the fire just until they look a bit soft, they will get hot and melty so do be careful with lips and tongues.
We had a great time, we made quesadillas (that’s a couple of wraps sandwiched with cheese in the centre, griddled on a hot dry pan until cheese melts and outside golden) they hurried to the marshmallows and then back to the quesadillas. Drank their elderflower drink they made at summer camp last week and rolled in the grass.
I, of course was left with the tidy up, but at least it wasn’t the kitchen sink variety.
We then spent the rest of the mild early evening wandering the garden and grazing from the veg patch.
So give yourself a break while the weather is good, keep it simple and you will enjoy it too. You don’t have to actually be camping to have a campfire, just get outside.
- Tip 5: Remember, even after the fire has died out, the stones are still and will stay ultra hot for a long while, I’ve been caught out on this before. And the patch of ground will be burnt afterwards so don’t select a site in the middle of your lawn unless you like that look.