Monday, October 18, 2010

we don't want to go home

You know you must be doing something right when the children don't want to leave preschool at the end of the day.

Our kids took it one step further and decided that they were going to sleep at preschool.

Where will you sleep?
:: In the gazebo.
:: We will make shelters.

What will you eat?
:: We'll smash the window and go into the kitchen.
:: Mum will bring me food.
:: We will kill wild animals in the bush.

What happens if it gets cold?
 :: We will make a fire.

Thankfully they decided to start the preparations for their overnight stay by building shelters and the fire, rather than with window smashing and wild animal killing:

Logs, bricks and stones were sourced and carried from all over the playground:

Shelters were built (if you look closely there is actually a child squished in there):

complete with barricades to keep out the baddies:

Their interest in making camp-fires got us thinking about how cool it would be if we made a real camp-fire and cooked something on it.  

Although I don't think we could accommodate their desire to cook wild animals I'm sure we could do something along the lines of damper. 

Has anyone done this with preschoolers?  I'd love to hear of your experiences.

(Oh I almost forgot- all the children did actually go home with their parents that day.)

You might also like to read Cooking over a Campfire at Preschool.


  1. Jenny we like to have a campfire night around Mothers' Day and we roast marshmallows but funnily enough Sherry and I have been discussing cooking damper rolled around sticks over a campfire with the children. It's been on our "list" for a few months now and if we don't do it soon it will be too warm so thanks for the reminder!
    Donna :) :)

  2. LOL! They are too funny, but I like how they have all of the practicalities sorted!

  3. Your preschool sounds just amazing! Would have loved to send our daughter there...

  4. We have had 'hangi's [meat/veg/etc cook over hot coals in a pit in the ground], but it has been a family/school experience. The children made damper and wrapped up their own potatoes. Loads of fun.

    Other than that the closest has been to make 'pan damper' on a camping stove. An actual campfire would be "more funner'! :)

  5. We have done campfire cooking with my preschool aged daughter and she LOVED it. We talked about fire safety, how to build fires and of course the cooking and eating part. She listened and obeyed out instructions better around the fire then she does most days for anything else! Can't wait to hear if you try it.

  6. i just love the shelters with barricades. it's amazing what kids do when they are accustomed to self-guided activities and have been encouraged to use materials creatively and independently. This is a beautiful post, thank you!

  7. Jenny, I do lots of work with small people and fires with Forest School projects and like Abbie says they listen and respect the boundaries like no other place. Do feel free to send me a DM if you want to know some of the risk management strategies we use.
    Lily x

  8. I am a bit slow joining in with this, but am loving the responses so far. My daughters both started our local forest group at 3 years old and help make a fire every week. They cook sausages (hot dogs and other pre cooked types) on sharpened sticks around the fire, as well as soups (the kids help chop the veg) and damper on sticks (called snake bread here, but essentially the same) as well as the occasional fondue (well it is Switzerland).

    The fires are open, but made in an enclosed space so the kids can't run around them. I will admit to being horrified by the whole concept at first, but both girls have survived and love their time spent in the bush around a fire.

  9. Hi Jenny

    Children are innately sensible around fires. Lily will have some useful advice. Bascially it's good to have a clear visual space around the fire pit - whatever form the fire takes and have clear procedures and routines and behaviour expectations in place. Usually a fire pit space is marked by logs and the children know that inside of here requires sensible behaviour.

    Mindstretchers have a great range of resources that will feed your imagination and extend the possibilities around the fire place

  10. I had my entire parent community "fired up" about building/purchasing a fire pit for school -- inspired by Juliet. We even voted to allocate the funds, but someone let our stupid insurance company in on our plans and they put the kibosh on it.

    We're now planning "extra-curricular" beach fire activities in the evening for the whole family.

    It's really stupid because we engage in fire play all the time: birthday candles, fireplaces, cook outs, camp fires, fireworks, Halloween jack-o-lanterns, advent wreaths, you name it. The kids need to learn about this.

    I can't wait to read about your cook out.