Monthly Archives: October 2010


My son spent last week at an outdoor classroom along with the rest of his middle school classmates. For four days they camped in shelters made by the children and learned valuable lessons of living in community with each other.  The large group was divided into three different tribes, and each child was assigned certain jobs for their tribe.  My son, a member of the Otter tribe,  told me that his first choice was to be responsible for fire.  He got this job, and was thrilled.  He actually looked forward to waking each morning at 4:30 am to gather firewood with the other “fire” people.  No adult woke them.  They were responsible for getting themselves up and out, and having the fires, both for warmth and food, ready to go by the time the other Otters woke for the day.

He loved his time at the land, and was especially proud of his fire making ability.  He spent most of the way home telling me about making fire and all the stories surrounding each fire.  I had decided earlier that day to purchase a portable fire pit, and shared this with him on the way home.  To say he was excited was an understatement.

He immediately asked if he could make the fire, and could we please have s’mores, too.  His sister chimed in and thought it was a great idea, and asked if she could help make the fire.  We purchased the fire pit, pulled into the garage, and both children dashed out of the car and ran to the backyard.  When I asked them what they were doing, they said, “Well, we have to gather firewood, you know, if we are going to have a fire.”  A few minutes later, I observed them in the back patio area breaking up sticks and talking about how to build a fire.

Later, after the fire pit was ably assembled by my husband, assisted by  me, our children went to work on the fire.  My son took over the construction of the fire, arranging the sticks in a particular pattern.  He explained that he had learned this technique from an older tribe member.  He also shared why it was effective, and what he needed to do to really get a good fire going and keep it going.

A half hour later, the four of us were gathered around the new fire pit, roasting marshmallows for s’mores, and having a great family moment.  My son was beaming over the success of his fire, and of course, loving the s’mores.

Portable fire pit $29, ingredients for s’mores $9, evening outside with kids: priceless. Enjoy the Fall and your children.

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Filed under Parenting, Something to think about