Controlled burn: Safe ways for kids to enjoy flames

Happy Moon Festival Lantern for our walk
Yes, I'll admit it.  My son likes fire. 

He craves the intensity of the flame and is enamored with the ability of substances to change states when exposed to heat.

It's chemistry on steroids. And it is highly relaxing to him.

As a two year old he found matches in my purse and tried unbeknown to me to light them.
  • I'm just really happy we lived through those intense years of sensory-seeking, failed industrial strength childproofing, and only painful bits and shards of sleep.
  • I'm guessing there are other mothers of sensory-seeking kids who can relate. It appears to be a fairly common passion among children with ADHD or autism spectrum tendencies.
  • I always figure Einstein and Edison's mothers had it much worse than I do and I take comfort in that!

I'm always one to follow the principles of jujitsu and martial arts...give into the energy and work with it instead of fighting it.

Do it safely and teach respect.

So we have times of controlled burns and our kids know the dangers of fire and use it safely.

*** Do not try these without responsible adult supervision! ***

  • We use the stone firepit
  • We have the water hose ready
  • We have supervision
  • We review safety rules
  • We have long sticks for catching a temporary flame with hand sanitizer
  • We squirt hand sanitizer on the end of a stick
  • We the stick into the flame while held over the firepit
  • It burns a cool color and is generally extinguished when the sanitizer is burned away
Opportunities to use the lighter safely

Here are also 3 crafts that involve flames or fire you might want to try with supervision.

  • We put tin foil on the table.
  • We get out lots of tea light candles (Thank you IKEA!) and some really really long skewers.
  • We have cups of water nearby for extinguishing rogue flames should there be any.
  • There are tin cans for disposing of matches and burnt skewer bits. 
  • There are also plastic cups for dumping the liquefied wax for fun and for potential reuse.
  • We have a source flame from which everyone lights their skewers to carry the flame to the tea light candles.
  • After using the skewer the kids know to grind down the used portions into the tin can so there aren't any loose charred parts hanging that could accidentally start a fire.
  • We also fill large size tin cans with rice and put birthday candles in the tin which can be lit with the skewers.

And I am happy to say we've only seen the fire trucks at community festivals and have not needed them at our house!!


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