Boys and fire are a magnetic combination. My eldest has never been able to resist the lure of box of matches and often had to be restrained from dragging all flammable items from the house in order to see if he could set fire to them. Now his particular obsession with all things incendiary could be dismissed as a mildly disturbing one off, but then along came his little brother and cousin .
They spent one sunny afternoon last summer engrossed in setting fire to elastic bands on my brother-in-law's patio. The acrid scent of burning rubber filled the summer afternoon, like the barbecue from hell. Clearly my oldest boy was not a one off.
Then friend told me how she once came home to find her home filled with thick, dark smoke and her middle boy standing in the kitchen looking sheepish. The source of the smoke? Her kitchen bin, which he had fashioned into a makeshift indoor fire pit that he had been using to burn much of the contents of her kitchen cupboards just to see which was the most impressively flammable.
This, I conclude, is enough evidence to prove that boys + fire = happy, if, slightly singed, sons. The problem is finding a way in which they can play with fire without setting fire to ether themselves or the family home. Solution, a neat little kit sent to me by Certainly Wood, which is ideal for the fire mad child in your life, although with appropriate adult supervision to guard against third-degree burns.
natural firelighters to create a sufficiently impressive blaze for the most fire mad child, plus, and this is the draw for any children who less impressed by the sizzle of blazing bonfire, a kit to create your own Brit version of the American 'delicacy' s'mores.
As with all snacks of American origin, these are over the top, sickly sweet and absolutely irresistible to children. For the uninitiated they are fashioned from two biscuits, a slab of chocolate and a fire roasted, molten marshmallow.
So we kicked off by lighting our fire, a job that my 11-year-old fire fanatic grabbed as his own. So sticks and ingenious natural firelighters, which look a bit like tiny bales of hay, were neatly stacked in the barbecue and leapt into bright yellow flame at the touch of a match.
As a family with our own wood burning fireplace, I know this is a sign of quality. So many times my husband is left cursing over poorly seasoned logs that steam and belch smoke, but refuse to light. The wood in this pack was of a much more amenable nature and, even when we popped on one of the larger logs into the fire, it burnt merrily with no need to cajole it into flame with extra kindling.
Soon all the boys were happily toasting away over the flames. There were tears when one marshmallow escaped its skewer and dived to certain death in the fire, but overall the horribly messy combination of charred marshmallow, chocolate and cookies was a hit. Faces were smeared with sticky goo, chocolate formed impressive moustaches above their upper lips, and the ensuing sugar rush was just what the doctor ordered right before bedtime.
Given that it is the season of bonfires this was certainly a way to indulge a fascination with both fire and food. We even had enough top notch logs left over to have a fire of our own with them the next night and they blazed away just as merrily then, though after having scrubbed the children clean following the previous night's sweet snack extravaganza no marshmallows were allowed near the flames!