Young kids have no business playing with fire; no one will argue that. But, as they reach a certain age you begin to feel confident enough to let a child start, say, a campfire. Who knows what age that is? Some kids mature faster than others. If your child is growing up, and has been camping many times, perhaps it’s time to let him or her learn to start a fire outdoors. Of course, you’ll need to discuss fire safety first, and be right by your child’s side as he or she learns to build his first fire.
Fire starters are an easy way to get a campfire going quickly. Instead of gathering dry leaves, limbs and twigs to build a fire, you can simply light a fire starter with one match then build the campfire from there. Stores that sell camping equipment often sell fire starters but there’s no reason for you to purchase them from a store. It’s really easy to make your own fire starters from things you have around the house. Best of all, the homemade fire starters are shaped to excite camp-loving kids.
When it comes to melting wax parents should always be in charge. It’s no longer necessary to break out pans of water, pans of wax, and stove top burners to melt wax. Now you can quickly melt it in a microwave. Do not use a plastic bowl to melt wax even if the bowl is microwaveable. Use a glass or ceramic bowl instead. Place small chunks of paraffin or old candles in the bowl to melt. This is a good way to use old candles that aren’t burnt down to the bottom. Be sure and remove the wick before placing the old candles in the bowl. Don’t worry if the candle pieces are all different colors; you can later tint the melted wax.
After the wax is completely melted carefully remove it from the microwave and set it on a table. Placing a towel under the bowl can be helpful to prevent any damage to the table from dripping wax. Add candle tint or broken crayons to the wax. Broken crayons allow you to color the fire starters most any color you want. Stir until the crayon pieces are completely melted. The will melt quicker if you break them into tiny pieces.
Sawdust is perfect for creating the fire starters with the melted wax. Stir in the sawdust (from untreated wood) until the mixture is very thick. The perfect mixture of wax and sawdust is one part wax and one part sawdust. After the mixture is thick place it in shaped candy molds. You’ll find candy molds in a multitude of shapes when you visit your nearest craft store.
Don’t have candy molds? Use soap molds or things you have around your house. Some suggestions would be lids from empty spice jars, medicine jars or other product lids, a piece of shaped foil, a mini foil pan, a cardboard egg carton section, or even a large spoon cradled on a towel. Place the mixture into the mold, allow to set up, then pop them out. They’ll set much faster if you place them in the refrigerator or freezer for a few minutes. The new fire starters can then be wrapped in foil, plastic wrap, or simply placed in a zipper-lock bag.
If you don’t have sawdust there are other ways to make the fire starters. Tear cardboard – or cardboard egg cartons – into very tiny pieces and stir them into the melted wax. Or, take wads of dryer lint and place them in with the wax. After making and wrapping the molded fire starters they are ready for the next camping trip.
It’s really easy for kids to build a fire when they start with the homemade fire starters. All the need to do is clear an area for the fire, set the fire starter shape in the middle, then strike and lay a match on it. The fire will start immediately and can then be enhanced by adding twigs and limbs to the small flames.
Kids feel really special and grown up when they are allowed to build their first fire. They’ll love it even more with their fire starters shaped like stars, animals, flowers or other images. The fire starters aren’t just for kids, though. Any adult will find it easy to start a fire – even in damp conditions – when they start with the homemade fire starters. Place several of them in every backpack. They really come in handy!