Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Playing with Fire

Weekdays can be kind of hectic around the Tindle house so this Sunday we spent the entire day doing nothing. 

Well, not quite nothing.

We played with fire, actually we let the kids play with fire. 

Erik and I have grown enamored with Gever Tulley's Tinkering School concepts.  Gever believes that children can use grown up materials and tools to do grown up things in a grown up way, if we trust them to do so.  To that end Gever Tulley has written a book titled 50 Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Children Do. We've ordered the book but it won't come til May.  We just couldn't wait. 

When James found the matches and we realized we had some wood left in the pit we decided to go for it.  We asked James to strike a match.  He did.  It blew out.  Then he did it again.  It didn't light.  Then he tried one more time.  The match broke in two.  At this point frustration began to show.  Erik and I talked James through it and encouraged him to try some more.  Several tries later, he produced a flame which he quickly touched to some leaves.  FIRE! 

The kids were thrilled, until they saw their fire dwindle to smoke.  They asked to light another match.  Then they begged to light another match.  Erik and I held firm, where there is smoke there is fire.  The kids were incredulous but they got to work.  James began blowing...
Logan and Carter began gathering various forms of fuel supplies...
Layne began working on her tan....
Pretty soon their concerted efforts yielded this...
Soon after that there was an honest to goodness fire.  Though by then I had slowed in snapping pictures and so don't have a single one of the actual flames.  Too bad.  It was a great fire too.  The kids built it and maintained it all by themselves.  We were able to roast hot dogs and marshmallows for lunch over that fire.  The kids also took some time to experiment over that fire.  Did you know that plastic shrinks when you burn it?  Or that tape on a cardboard box boils and then liquefies?  Did you realize that wet maple leaves make green colored smoke?  Did you know that nuts in their shell can explode? These are just some of the things they discovered through tinkering with fire. 

What I discovered

When my kids are really engaged...
they are excited
they are cooperative
they are encouraging to one another
they are solution seekers
they are unstoppable
they are industrious
they are incredible. 

Well, they are that last one all the time but it really showed up on Sunday. 

Thanks for reading!


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