Supporting Safety and Skill Development

Topic Progress:

When children develop skills while outdoors, they become more confident and capable. Children feel powerful when they have an opportunity to engage in experiences that can be risky and safe.   Take a look at these two photos. What are the children experiencing in the first picture? What is the child experiencing in the second photo? What roles do you think are important for the early learning teachers involved?


Do you have childhood memories of sitting around a campfire? For many, these are very fond recollections. Children learn so much from campfire experiences such as building self- regulation skills through safe, risky play opportunities. Storytelling around a campfire is powerful. Stories are an essential teaching tool, used to engage children, to ignite their imagination and to peak their curiosity. Sitting in a circle with others who have shared an adventure builds community, connection and relationships. Sharing food cooked on a campfire adds to the excitement and thrill for children. For early learning teachers, this is a time to take on the role of supervisor, stage manager, planner, guide, advocate and partner. Supervision for safety comes first.

Tool use is a common experience in Norwegian preschools and in many forest schools. The tools are usually introduced gradually within structured safety protocols.  Children learn about safety and then gain confidence as they use the tools while developing both gross and fine motor skills. Adults need to be comfortable and confident in tool use and have safety protocols in place prior to introducing tools to the children.  In this case, early learning teachers are instructors, supervisors, guides and partners. Are you comfortable to use tools on your own? And with children? If you aren’t, what could you do to become more confident?  Why is this an important learning skill during childhood?  What happens if children do not acquire these skills during childhood?  Can they be learned later in life?

In the Comments box, identify your perspectives on introducing children to tools and elements such as fire.  What are the challenges of these types of experiences in your practice?  How can early learning teachers gain comfort in offering these types of experiences to children?


  1. Mikayla

    the biggest challenges are the licensing restrictions in our urban region or having a licensing officer that is not so flexible with coming up with alternative way to those these types of activities

  2. Angela George

    What are the challenges of these types of experiences in your practice?
    One of the biggest challenges are the licensing restrictions in our urban region. The other is fire bans because of the extreme fire danger in our region too. The reluctance or safety concerns of other educators.
    How can early learning teachers gain comfort in offering these types of experiences to children?
    If we can find a way to introduce these concepts to children and maybe for families as well it will be another way of fostering a love of the environment and all she can offer us. It can also offer us another way to connect with our families in the outdoors, during Covid; and also for families to connect with one another, on top of children and maybe families learning new skills and new stories.

  3. Hongyun Zheng

    I had really excited experience that children used real tools to nailed into wooden. Before children started I guided them how to hold tools properly and how to keep them safe by keeping distance between each other and wear proper protections. Children showed their confidence and skills. some of them were scared at beginning but when they looked at others how to use tools, they asked to try it. At this moment I helped them to wear protections and close supervised them. they started to work on nail down with tools! As a leader No forces, Be patient.! They succeed!

  4. Jo White

    I believe that teaching children about tools and the elements are important and useful in the children’s later years. If they gain the knowledge and experience they become more confident in their abilities and a greater respect for these things. The challenges lets say with fire is safety, regulations of community and the program as well as the concern of parents. Early learning teachers can gain comfort in offering these types of experiences by practicing and perfecting their skills, to build confidence in this area, with confidence in their skills. If they don’t feel confident there is no comfort, children will sense discomfort and fear from the adult.

  5. Michelle Davis

    Tools are so important in early learning. Children need to become familiar with tools as it is a skill that will follow them throughout their lives. I appreciate that they should also learn about fire, and I recognize the merits of such learning, but I would first need to overcome my fear of doing that with young children. Because of my fear, I do not feel it would be a positive experience for the children. I would fear that I would project onto the children.

  6. Marianne Glufka

    It is important for children to learn how to use tool. This good for them when they become older. They will have the knowledge to use the tool correctly and understand the safety behind each tool. Unfortunately In the centre that I work at is not conducive to having a bonfire. We are attached to a school and our playground faces the school parking lot.

  7. Rachael Ewan

    What are the challenges of these types of experiences in your practice? How can early learning teachers gain comfort in offering these types of experiences to children? I think the challenges come primarily from adults perspectives of safety. I think teachers can gain comfort as they develop their own skills. We offer children experiences that they are developmentally ready for and do it gradually.

  8. lisa.rodney

    Identify your perspectives on introducing children to tools and elements such as fire. What are the challenges of these types of experiences in your practice? How can early learning teachers gain comfort in offering these types of experiences to children? I think children are capable of learning to safely use tools and be near fires but I do think there needs to be discussions about expectations and some safety instruction. Tools should be introduced in smaller groups so that educators can provide closer attention to children who are using them so be able to support them hand over hand initially and with demonstrations. Challenges in this would come from insurance companies and managers understanding of insurance. They may also come from other adults and families. Information and safety plans are helpful to explain the process and the precautions in place as well as the value to children and their development.

  9. Melissa Vail

    I think it is very important to introduce tools and fire young. I need to dig out the peelers and knives for outside!

  10. Daphne Hachey

    i think risks are a part of life and learning to navigate and be safe around risky things like fire is so important. in one of my jobs I teach rowing and boat safety on the ocean to children aged 5-15 and giving them all the information on how to be safe in a fun and palatable way so they know the risks and how to be safe but dont become to scared to try because they know how to negate the risks has been crucial. learning to be safe while doing potentially dangeorous things is crucial

  11. Krista Ambrose

    I have no issues with introducing children to tools and elements like fire. I find the challenges of these types of experiences is that other staff, supervisors, directors, and government rules will not allow for them. I think the early learning teachers need to practice using the tools and learn to feel confident in themselves before they can help the children. I grew up on a farm and used real tools when I wanted something done. I was allowed to start a fire with supervision. I also lived near a creek where we were allowed to play again with supervision. To some staff, my upbringing is very scary.

  12. Jasmine Park

    identify your perspectives on introducing children to tools and elements such as fire. What are the challenges of these types of experiences in your practice? How can early learning teachers gain comfort in offering these types of experiences to children?

    In our setting, it is not easy to introduce those items because of the safety issue. I am working with toddlers and there are many parents who concern a lot about their children’s safety. First, we need to be on the same page with parents about risky play. Without sharing the same vision, it will be very difficult to get support from parents. In addition, we need to know children very well. We should build a strong relationship with children first before using real tools and elements. Also we need extra sraffs to support those experience. If 2 eduators with 16 children introduce new tools, there will be more possibilities to have an accident. We need to have realistic expectations and need to get support before introducing new items.

  13. Katarina Ninkovic

    This is something that has always bothered me with my current centre!! I grew up with two foresters as parents, and i was taught at a really young age how. Important it was to know how to start a fire! This is actually such an important life skill, and children should be taught very early! Introducing them to this early on in life will also help them learn the how to handle fire appropriately, and understand the dangers of fire too.

  14. Shirley Robinson

    I feel that children would be ok using some tools and make sure they are being safe with tools, Fire for me i would talk with them and let them watch from a distance like the picture and explain how there are dangers, hopefully they will have some time to help to a point

  15. Jody Anderson

    n the Comments box, identify your perspectives on introducing children to tools and elements such as fire. What are the challenges of these types of experiences in your practice? How can early learning teachers gain comfort in offering these types of experiences to children?

    I have had the opportunity to be in programs that allow school age children to participate in both of these activities. At first when the children were being taught to build fires I thought “oh my goodness, somebody is going to start themselves or their peers on fire!” I watched the educator teach them the safety aspects first then watched as the children perservered to start their own fire. They had such a sense of pride once they could do it that my fears were much less important compared to the learning that was going on. Later we sat around the campfire and the children were so calm and relaxed at the end of the day. I agree with the statement that the fires bring a sense of community and belonging and serve as a gathering place. It would be nice to be able to have access to a space like this more often.
    As far as tools go we have a woodworking table in our room that we often bring outside into our outdoor play space. The children LOVE using the tools and at first I was concerned they would hammer their fingers or hurt each other but they didn’t. Any hits to the fingers while hammering is a lesson learned and I quick few questions that ask what they can try differntly helps the child to figure out what they need to do. I have not tried electric tools and might feel a bit hesitant with those since the risk of harm may be greater, I guess it would depend on the age of the child and the skill set of the adults teaching it. I would need to learn more about the tools myself to feel confident with the children using them. Children are way more capable then we sometimes give them credit for. If we give them opportunities to try and to improve you may be surprised at what they can achieve.

  16. Shannon Stewart

    In my experience, I have not used fire with children other than my own children. As an operator, we are limited to the regulations of safety. However, I have often wondered how we could! Children often play out camping and share everything they know about fire but where to have a fire is a challenge. I know there are possibilities to this and will spend time reflecting with my team…

  17. Jessica Garner

    For me, experiences such as fires or using tools are not things that I was exposed to as a child. As an adult, I tend to avoid these experiences and defer to the expertise of others! However, I hope that I can change that experience for children in my care. I have started to intentionally seek the support of others to help build my confidence and skills in these areas, so that I can feel better prepared to foster those experiences for children.

  18. Heather Brekkaas

    I think it is awesome to introduce students to tools and campfires, but as a small group. I can’t imagine having 20 kindergarten kids around a fire or with a tool and not have someone get hurt. It’s also an issue if the adults aren’t comfortable with the tools. Lots of adults have no idea how to use them or they have anxiety with they see a child using something that could cause harm. I know I really have to try and overcome my own anxiety when my kids use axes or knives when we’re camping, and they aren’t terribly young.

  19. Leila Aubochin

    How great would this be, I think it is important to teach the children about the use of fire and the tools. Unfortunately our licensing officer wouldn’t allow us to do this. I would love to her stories from the children around the campfire.

  20. Grace Smith

    In the Comments box, identify your perspectives on introducing children to tools and elements such as fire. What are the challenges of these types of experiences in your practice? How can early learning teachers gain comfort in offering these types of experiences to children?

    In my perspective, it is important to introduce children to tools and fires specially when they are still young. I have all these experiences when I was young and it taught me a lot and it might have been risky and scary to some but it was fun experience. We had these experiences during our summer camp and a couple times in the winter, the mixture of delight , excitement, and the thrill from the children were such a treasure. One of the challenges trying new experiment was safety reasons and staffing and ratio.

  21. Tammy

    Allowing children to use tools that pose some sort of danger is something I have no problem doing. I think the key is supervision, educating the children about the intended purpose of the materials and knowing the abilities of the children in your care.

  22. Pamela Casorso

    We allow our children to use real gardening
    Due to licensing we don’t have a fire at our center
    We have a small fire if we go to the lake.

  23. Karin Freiberg

    I think there are appropriate times and places for all experiences. We must mitigate the risk while allowing the experience at an appropriate time and place.

  24. Angel Huang

    identify your perspectives on introducing children to tools and elements such as fire. What are the challenges of these types of experiences in your practice? How can early learning teachers gain comfort in offering these types of experiences to children?
    I remembered growing up, my parents always let us try his working tools, such as hammer, stick saw, screw drivers and even axes. My mother would let me help in her kitchen using knife or vegetable peelers etc. I remember them holding our hands with the actual tools and teaching us one step at a time, how we hold it, used it, and what do we need to watch out for. I would say those are pretty nice memories that I have and to share them with the children I work with, I would say it will still be a bit challenging. Maybe what I can do is to use toy tool for them to try then when the tool is a real one, then hold their hand and do it step by step just like how my parents taught me. Of course, I’m be very comfortable and trust the child that when I passed down these types of experiences to them.

  25. Lindsey Cooper

    I am comfortable with tools, but I need to be more confident to use them with children. As for fires, I think it important to teach children fire safety. Walking children through fire safety is better than have them test out lighters or matches alone.

  26. Rachelle Gregoire

    I’ve been lucky to have training with all types of tools, so i am excited to get kids using different things. We built a bridge. I have also been lucky to be able to build fires with the 5+ kids i work with. We build bow drills and let the kids try to start a fire, then we cooked bannock on a fire. Challenges would include parents and staff’s fear of injury, insurance and policies.

  27. Anna Mary McKenney

    I love introducing children to tools but can say within childcare I have never had the opportunity to introduce elements such as fire. Challenges we have faced is other staff feeling unsafe or worried about a play risky play opportunity or parents commenting when they see children or their own child engaged in this type of play. We have had parents request their child not as they have a risk of hurting themselves. I find documenting how this play learning is essential and what it teaches and provides children is important in making staff and families more comfortable.

  28. Amanda Funk

    children are naturally drawn to fire building. If the introduction is in thought out, inclusive as to skill level and supervised, the relationship to this risky task is not forced. Be curious and ask questions of the children. Model safe skill and include children through safe tasks, story telling and pretend play.

  29. Amanda Christison

    In the Comments box, identify your perspectives on introducing children to tools and elements such as fire. What are the challenges of these types of experiences in your practice? How can early learning teachers gain comfort in offering these types of experiences to children?

    I think with proper and active supervision as well as explaining and demonstrating safety rules that the children can engage in this more riskier play opportunities. I had an experience with tools myself with the kids at my centre a few years ago. It was summer time and numbers were low and so staff were cleaning and organizing – we found a couple of old fans that didn’t work anymore. The kids were instantly curious as to why they didn’t work and wanted to try to “fix” them to make them work again. They were curious as to how the fans worked and what was inside of them. So we gave the kids some basic tools to take apart the fans and they really surprised me. A group of about 6-8 children all worked really well together for well over an hour completely focused and intrigued on getting the fans apart and checking out the motors. I loved this experience and was happy to share it with the parents and so we asked for other donations of old broken equipment that the children could take apart and tinker with. I think more than anything, just follow your gut instincts and plan accordingly – the kids will honestly surprise you with how much they are capable of!

  30. Anita Diepdael

    I feel it would be exciting to introduce tools and fire to children at a young age. I think it will give children confidence when taking on tasks. I think if allowed with guided supervision it would be a great learning opportunity and children can carry these skills with them for the rest of there life.

  31. Dana Wilson

    identify your perspectives on introducing children to tools and elements such as fire. What are the challenges of these types of experiences in your practice? How can early learning teachers gain comfort in offering these types of experiences to children?

    I have not experienced introducing children to fire in my practice as an ECE however my boys built fires in metal tins from the time they were 4 or 5, maybe even younger. They were used to fire from all our camping experience. They also used tools from a young age. When we were camping my father made my 2.5 yr old son an axe out of a piece of wood and taught him to use it like it was real. At our centre the children use real tools often, and they love it. I think they main challenges introducing these types of experiences into my practice are licensing restrictions, parental and educator uneasiness. I think educators can gain more comfort by getting used to using the tools and building fires themselves. The more they experience and learn with the children the more comfortable they will be.

  32. Lucie Pendergraff

    I have not done anything with fire yet but would like to. I often see children showing curiosity in how to start a campfire or how to cook over the fire. I would make myself comfortable with it first by becoming as informed as I could about fire safety. Then I would spend time teaching the children in different methods about what I had learned. Finally, all knowing how to be safe around it, we could have a fire to cook our lunch or snack. When they see an adult informed and comfortable, they gain trust in it and become curious to learn how to do those things themselves. It is am important life skill to have.

  33. Kimberley Thompson

    Introducing natural tools to the classroom would be exciting for the children to use everyday things that are used daily. Introducing a fire to the children wouldnt work in the daycare I work at , but we could do a fake fire and learn the cautions of fire and what we could cook over it , what it is used for and etc.

  34. Ruth Novak

    I would love to introduce tools to my class! I think they would love that! Fire is something is also something I would love to incorporate because they children can help with so much of the prep. They can help with finding the wood to build the fire with. I would have to figure a way to explain that the fire is
    dangerous when touched, but for the most part, I think my age group would be ready for tools. Then we could even roast marshmallows to show that the fire has multiple purposes :). Risky play is something I want to incorporate in outdoor play. I have to many colleagues that constantly say be careful and for my children, risky play is within reason. Sometimes I have to stop and think and ask myself: “am I scared that the child is going to hurt themselves”? Usually the answer is yes and so I need to work on that and let the children try risky play!

  35. Heather Diewert

    I personally love introducing risky play and tool use as it gives children so much confidence, and the awareness of their abilities and limits.
    Children who haven’t had the opportunity to use basic tools with adequate safety guidance, either view tools as dangerous rather than a necessity we need to build construct and work, or find them and use them in an unsafe manner and they get hurt because they haven’t had the opportunity to use them safely.
    Adults views on tool use and risky play are the biggest challenges to implementing them in a program. They are either discouraged as a liability to the center, or parents do not want their children using them. I believe that we underestimate most children’s abilities and that when shown the proper use, starting small and building up, combined with proper supervision that they are quite capable.
    I think that taking training and reading articles and books on the benefits of introducing tool use and risky play, are wonderful ways for teachers to understand the benefits of them in the program.

  36. Maria Agustin

    I like the idea of using real tools and fire. Because risky play provides experiences and lot of opportunities to learn more but with a very careful guidance and close supervision of Early learning teachers.

  37. Bonnie Willson

    I think teaching children about these types of activities from a young age is very important. It teaches them to respect the elements, such as fire, and helps them to understand how to behave in slightly dangerous situations. It is a great way to teach them self control, and self reliance, while also teaching them to listen and to understand certain aspects that are not debatable. Some of the challenges for these kinds of activities could be licensing restrictions or the comfort level of some educators. Some parents also may not be comfortable with their children participating in these activities. To become more comfortable in these types of activities, I would simply start slow and small, and work our way up. Start having the kids participate in activities that need similar listening and learning skills, and build up to the fire activity once we know their skills warrant it.

  38. Nikki Meyer

    If we believe that children are capable and competent, Mighty Learners, we will give them opportunities to use real tools and exposure to elements like fire. During the study tour I attended in New Zealand, children were given opportunities to use materials like these from a very young age. They have grown up with an appreciation for the safety that needs to occur during use. Programs would need to be aware of licensing regulations and ensure that they have open conversations with families regarding the use of these materials and how they are ensuring children’s safety.

  39. Nicole Morrell

    My perspective on introducing children to tools and elements such as fire is extremely important if we want to relay the message to children that they are capable and competent. The challenges of these experiences is at times licensing (especially around fire- I tried to do this with OSC children many years ago and was told no), and parents who would actively voice concerns until we could educate them on our perspective. Educators can gain comfort by also educating themselves as well as working to build trusting relationships with the children wherein these sorts of activities would likely be much easier to do.

  40. Silvia Martínez

    I support being able to introduce such things as fire to kids instead of keeping them away from everything dangerous. The biggest challenge is that some kids may be too curious, we have to keep them at a reasonable distance from it. I like to try some exposure therapy with the kids before trying anything at a slow pace to allow children to become confident and comfortable in the presence of it. Also talking to their parents before so I can be reassured they are okay with their children being around it.

  41. Christine Norman

    In my experience I m much more comfortable offering tools and more challenging experience to my own children. Sometimes I find it difficult to engage in these experiences with the children in may care. The main challenge would be the fear of a child becoming hurt in my care. The guilt, liability and possible outcomes of injury in care is difficult to get past. I allow my own children to help create the fire, use tools, etc. I think the main way to gain more comfort is to talk with the parents and families in the centre. As I have multiple age children sometimes it can also be challenging to balance older children’s experiences with younger children.

  42. Kathy Barnhart

    I observed the use of real tools (saws, hammers, etc.) in early childhood centres on a Study tour in New Zealand. I never had the opportunity myself to use it in a child care centre. I can definitely see the benefits now and I appreciate that safety and safe handling can be taught at a much younger age than I used to believe possible.

  43. Svetlana Babikova

    I like the idea to use fire and tools in the center. In my own work experince I would use fire and tools if I will have another adult/parent/educator helping me, because I have mixed ages group and younger (18 month old) may need more attantion and supervision. I belive risky play experinces provide lots of opportunities to learn take risks, promote critical thinking, improve self-regulation, help with anxieties, etc.

  44. Betty-Ann Ryz

    Introducing children to tools and elements such as fire are important. StrongStart program has challenges as fire pits or fires are not supported on school property. Provincial licensing would not support certain tools or fire. Personally I feel comfortable teaching my own children tools and fire. Professionally I do not feel confident due to liability issues.

  45. Caroline Driedger

    I truly believe that children can be around a fire and benefit from the experience learning to use tools is basic life skills . Adults are present to teach the children to respect what a fire means the safety measures around being by a fire. I made the mistake of asking our coordinator is we could have a fire we were shot down quickly. My hope is that the more centers spend more time outdoors and take training like this the more pressure we place on governing bodies to ease up a little.

  46. Xintong Wang

    The big challenge is with parents and licensing. For educators we support the use of real tools and building real fire (although we had never done it yet).
    I think we just have to supervise more closely when we are doing it.

  47. Jennifer Yarmish

    The biggest challenge we face in our center is with licensing and making sure that all staff are on board and have the same comfort level with tool use and fires. Teaching real life skills will help develop confidence and self-awareness in children that will set up a solid foundation for them as they grow. My son has been that ‘boy in the wild’ since he was old enough to ride in a backpack while I was fishing…as soon as he could walk, he wanted to climb things…as soon as he could talk, ‘outside’ became his favorite word. Now, his skill and confidence in the bush at the age of just 15 and his ability to teach those things to other kids is proof to me that guiding children as they learn about ‘real life’ is one of the best things we can do.

  48. Ai Paul

    I think our own anxiety, inexperience, lack of confidence do matter and influence how we guide or “allow” children certain activities. For example, if an educator has never been to camping, then the educator feels uncomfortable putting up a tent, making fire, using an axe to split firewood with an axe. Before introducing any activities, educators need to have an experience (they don’t need to be pro at it.).

  49. Carrie Maclellan 

    The main challenge is the perspective of the parents and licensing in terms of safety concerns. I think to gain comfort it is important for teachers to first discuss the safety parameters with the children and keep the communication lines open. Talk through the experience with the children and more exposure equals more comfort typically, for both the educators and the children.

  50. Hilary Geddes

    Children are strong capable individuals, and when you treat them as such, they will learn to be safe, independent, and trustworthy. Although we should always be aware of safety concerns, we should educate children on these concern and model appropriate doings. As adults we must challenge our predispositions regarding children’s ability.

  51. Cindy Spencer

    I think introducing children to tools such as fire is always nerve wracking for anyone at first but the more you model the behaviour expected the more comfortable you will be and the children catch in fast to how they should react to things such as real tools and fire and water. But with practice and repetition children learn fast. Especially when told the dangers to expect if they aren’t safe. What better way to learn about fire safety then learning first hand with lots of supervision. The children eventually learn and it becomes easier to do and teaches the children safety with things like water, fire, real tools etc.

  52. Heidi Dueck

    When children are seen as capable they become capable. Having a fire with children is as old as time. At some point in our society we decided children could no longer be around fire or fire pits. Obviously there needs to be direction and guidance and supervision. If children are taught the danger they will respect the danger.
    Avoiding risk does not mean avoiding accidents. It is possible to provide risk, reward and confidence.
    A fire pit would allow longer outside time in winter, cooking experiences, life skills and community building.

  53. Gretchen Conti

    My husband and I have been making fires and providing adult tools (shovels, saws, loopers) for our children since they were older enough to participate. We were warned against this but were adamant that our children would help and participate. They are 5 & 4 now and they genuinely contribute to yard work and are very responsible around the fire. This is always brought home when we host friends of our boys who don’t have the same experiences. They are often reckless, and out of tune with the need for safety around such activities. Teaching children to use tools and make a fire not only teaches responsibility but engages them outside. They learn to relish their abilities and their responsibilities and earn a sense of achievement through participation.

  54. Nikki Littlechild

    I love the idea of tool use and camp fires with children. I do find that licensing puts a halt to some really wonderful experiences we wish we could provide. I am not sure that they would approve of a camp fire or use of saws for children, even if supervised but it’s something I’d like to ask. I love how it was explained to start slow with the tools with lots of learning opportunities and building on them as the educators and children are more comfortable. I feel the use of tools and camp fire are valuable life skills for the children.

  55. Jaclyn Geiger

    It really is about practiced routines and expected behaviours. Students are capable and teachers can empower this. That being said, fire is something I may not step into in the primary years but understanding how to make fire, its power and use it is very important knowledge to share including Indigenous perspectives on fire. The main piece would have to be my own confidence on how to use tools. If I have experience, that knowledge provides safety. At times learning together is a beautiful thing but in that case I imagine someone else would be sharing their experience and knowledge to stand firmly on, Tools and experience sound like a great opportunity in outdoor education.

  56. Nazia Mir

    I believe that children need to learn how to use real tools. As an educator, i provide them gardening tools small shovels age-appropriate scissors, etc. They feel more confident after they use real tools.

  57. Nadira Ramnauth

    As an educator, I give the children an opportunity to use construction tools, garden tools and child size scissors. It is a great learning experience for the children to learn to use different tools. We need to guide and supervise them when using these tools.

    We never had a real camp fire at my centre. During outdoor play, I observed a few children pretending to go camping. They used wood to set up a pretend camp fire and they used sticks and some loose parts to roast marshmallows. These children go camping all the time with their parents, they know lots about campfires. I like the idea of a campfire and would love to do it with my children. I demonstrated to the children how to use a fire extinguisher and why it is important to have them. When we are outdoor and the children hear the fire trucks, the children will say to us that the firefighters are going to put out a fire. We also use to invite firefighters to come in with their trucks and demonstrate how they use their tools and equipments.

  58. Nadira Ramnauth

    As an educator, I give the children an opportunity to use construction tools, garden tools and child size scissors. It is a great learning experience for the children to learn to use different tools. We need to guide and supervise them when using these tools.

    We never had a real camp fire at my centre. During outdoor play, I observed a few children pretending to go camping. They used wood to set up a pretend camp fire and they used sticks and some loose parts to roast marshmallows. These children go camping all the time with their parents, they know lots about campfires. I like the idea of a campfire and would love to do it with my children.

  59. Mizuho Kashiwagi

    Having fire during the program is very difficult due to safety and licensing. But I do see great benefit for the children, especially for the children who live in urban cities. Those children tend to have very little experience making fire. The children who’ve experienced real fire a lot can learn how to protect themselves when they see dangerous situations.

  60. Charlene Durrant

    Our biggest challenge with having a fire would be regulations and licensing. But if it were allowed I would love to be able to do it. As far as tools go, it is a great idea. Children need to learn how to safely and properly use real objects.

  61. Kecia Alexis

    Children are amazing, and catch on quickly. They do love working in our little garden outside our daycare. I’m not sure about a campfire because our daycare is a licensed childcare space so we’d have to get approval for a campfire first. I think it would be amazing to have a campfire and make some hotdogs and marshmallows with the children at daycare. I remember doing campfires all the time as a child, it was always an awesome way for the family to get together.

  62. Minni Harris

    We have never had an actual fire at our preschool, we have had pretend fires in our dramatic centre. Some challenges we may face is with licensing as to whether or. Or we would be permitted to have an actual fire in our playground area or somewhere else off school grounds. I believe we can gain comfort in discussing safety protocol of setting up a fire and having the children help gather materials needed to have a fire. We do practice monthly fire drills and discuss the safety and reasons why we do what do when we leave the building and take attendance.

  63. Lucie Theroret

    we do introduce real tools (working tools and gardening tools)
    we never had a fire at the center (will have to check with licensing)
    we had open fire when we go for picnic at ferry island

  64. Trina Kelly

    In our program, we’ve never really made a fire with the children. However, we have monthly fire drills and we talk about why we have them. We also have a tool kit for the children, but it’s only plastic toys. Even then, we ask how, what and why each tool would be used for. I think it would be a great idea, for us to actually bring in the real tools and see how the children would react. We would also have a talk with the children first, on the proper safety of handling the tools.

  65. Carli Olson

    Tool use is great to see! I love watching the children “fix” things, or use the gardening tools to garden. Ive never experienced having a fire at daycare, i would imagine the biggest challenge would be licensing for us. We did go to a hide camp one year and the children were exposed to an open fire, hide stretching and the free flowing river.

  66. Amanda N

    When educators feel confident in teaching children how to manage specific tools, children will feel secure to use them too, and this experience will become part of their daily routine. Children that I work with are learning how to use a shovel. Before using the shovel to dig, some of the children stop to look around; other children use it with excitement without noticing that they can hit someone’s face. As an educator, I have to take deep breaths because there are many scary moments, but children are learning, and they all have their own time. I’m learning how to control my fears and support children to understand better how to use the tool properly.

  67. Krissa Rathgeber

    I have introduced tools in the past such as hammers and nails and screws and screwdrivers…sandpaper and wood glue as well. The children did quite well with them and understood that they needed to focus on what they were doing. This was indoors in the construction area. I am thinking that using tools outside would add so much enrichment to the childrens play.

  68. Stephanie Vieira

    I love that idea to introduce children to elements. That way they are learning and observing it. Of course with safety and supervision is always great to have when doing that. For me I would get a fake fire let the children make it and see how they would react to that. If you feel comfortable enough try the real thing out and give out rules so the children know what to do and what not to do.

  69. Janice Duncan

    Young children can learn how to use tools, it is important for Early Childhood Educators to lay out specific plans for teaching children the skills of using scissors, knives, carpentry tools, stoves and fires safely. In terms of teaching young children how to use tools it is important to consider their developmental level, for example toddlers can be taught how to use blunt edged scissors safely and to sit while they are using them, it is a process that takes supervision, time, patience and some instruction- children can learn and they will make some mistakes in doing so! I am concerned that the anxiety of Early Childhood Educators prevents children from using scissors-it is somewhat risky and things happen for example a child may cut another child’s hair or their own- I see this is a rite of passage for children- however I recognize that parents may not agree and life becomes uncomfortable as ECEs and parents sort out the risk vs benefit of using scissors- we need to have conversations in our own individual practices with parents and colleagues. If we start with simple experiences such as using scissors and then move on to using knives, hammers, saws (providing safety equipment, teaching and supervision) as well as considering their development children gain experience and knowledge on how to work with tools safely. I think that children can also be taught how to safe around stoves and fire too! I think that ECEs can learn to get comfortable, by starting off with simple experiences that stretch their comfort level, and gain experience using tools that they are not familiar with.

  70. Lorraine Kok

    We have never physically used fire in our program but we practice monthly fire drills, we talk about protocol in the big house and if they are running during culture they could potentially get hurt by falling near the fire. Can these skills be learned later in life i do believe they can be.

  71. Prabhulata Immaraju

    We have introduced the children to the hammer and nails, the use of needles in sewing, cutting fruit and vegetables using a knife ( not the sharp ones we use), but before they get to try it; they learn about safety; the rules that need to be followed, the use of the safety equipment ( safety goggles; work gloves ) and they get to use the tools. We make sure that the educator who is working with them, ensures that there are adequate staff who are watching the other children so they are focused on the group and fully available to support their learning during this time.
    We have been making mock campfires but would love to have a real campfire pit someday soon.

  72. Erin Lihou

    We have never physically made a fire with them but we have monthly drills and talk about why we have them. Also we pretend to make fire when we are playing outside with things like leaves and pine cones and small sticks

  73. Christine Villeneuve

    While my program doesn’t use fire, we do talk about fire safety. Also, real tools (tree stumps with nails and hammers, a board with various sizes of screws, nuts, and wrenches are provided to children who are interested in exploring those materials. Safety is always discussed first, with visual reminders in the area. One educator brought in a motorcycle engine and some of the children helped to get it back to running condition. Providing children with safety gear and understanding of safety rules surrounding the tools introduced are great learning experiences.

  74. Laura Mcintosh

    I believe introduction to tools for children is important for they learn how to use them properly. I can see the hesitation when it comes to fire but learning self regulation is a skill children are learning when they see a fire and realize they can’t go to close or touch it.

  75. Andrea Preissl

    At my place of work we often bring out hammers and large nails when the interest comes up. The children are able to hold the nails with one hand and the hammer in the other and bang them into the ground. For first time tool use it is a very simple activity to set them up for success. Every day when the hammers are brought out the rules and safety protocols are explained to the children. Hammers and nails stay in the same area. We don’t walk around with tools. Etc.
    The main challenge with these types of experiences is thr supervision. When you are providing an experience exposing children to tools or fire its much easier when you can have one staff member always there and have the other staff members tending to all the other children. For first time exposures extra staff would be great but as children and staff become more confident and skilled around those risky experiences they can take a step back and let the children do more on their own.

  76. Nicole Robinson

    Identify your perspectives on introducing children to tools and elements such as fire. What are the challenges of these types of experiences in your practice? How can early learning teachers gain comfort in offering these types of experiences to children?

    I love the idea of introducing children to tools and fire. I have introduced my 18 month olds (the youngest that I can accommodate right now) to hammer and nails, they nail them into the ground. I would love to introduce them to a small fire (we have 2 acres and can easily accommodate this. In order to do this, I would need the assistance of another staff member to help manage the children. That I think is the main challenge with introducing potentially risky play, enough supervision that the children do not hurt themselves. Early Learning Teachers can begin to gain comfort with these types of experiences by starting out slowly and small. For example, introduce pumpkins, golf tees and hammers in a supervised setting. Move onto real nails and hammers in the ground, then to nails in wood. Keep gradually pushing the boundaries until the goal has been accomplished.

  77. Mikaela Reyes

    Introducing tools and elements such as fire is important especially when we are engaging children in outdoor play. Using such may sound risky but with proper scaffolding and explanation to children, they will be more responsible in using these materials. This is also a great opportunity for children to learn about proper usage of the tools as well as elements that can be harmful for the environment when not used or maintained well. A child with great knowledge about the said materials will give them more confidence to take on difficult tasks, be more resilient, and careful for self and others.

  78. Deborah Fehr

    The only tools I ever had as a child were real tools. Because of that experience, I am very comfortable using real tools with children. Wearing safety goggles, gloves can help control the number of children using specific tools at a time. In the beginning, children need to learn how the tool works and what can do wrong when it is not used properly. Children are very capable of learning how to use tools well. and safely. Sitting around a campfire stirs up many fond memories for me and is an experience well worth sharing with children. Of course there is always a danger that children can get hurt, however, with initial exploration with the children around fire and it’s properties, children will treat the fire with the respect it needs.

  79. Daniela Rodriguez

    Indeed, there is always the risk of getting hurt. With fire, I guess the biggest fear I would have would be if I child decides to be mischievous and tries something out. In this scenario, with such a tool the risk is evident and causes serious distress in the educator. I believe it’s ideal to introduce step by step with respective safety protocols. Emphasize how important it’s to have a safe reciprocal interaction (between the child and the tool). That way, teachers and students get confident and comfortable with what’s going on.

  80. Patricia Lynch-Staunton

    Perspectives on introducing children to tools and elements such as fire. What are the challenges of these types of experiences in your practice? How can early learning teachers gain comfort in offering these types of experiences to children?
    Humans use a variety of tools throughout their lives. It is important that children be introduced to tools as soon as they show interest. Supervised practice supports the children’s calculation of risk. Tools can be unsafe and will continue to be if the children do not have exposure and guidance to use them safely. Children are capable and competent and quite able to manage the use of tools as they practice over time. Our image of the child is critical in advocating for tools in the curriculum.
    Accidents and minor injuries are a part of childhood. If these occurr with tools, response from programs and parents can be extreme. This creates a culture of inhibition and fear around use of tools. It can start as simply as nervousness around using scissors and knives. I have seen programs that decide not to incorporate use of tools as their perseption of liability risk is too great.
    In order for the parents, program, lisensing bodies and children to feel comfortable using tools, educators need to think carefully about their roles of supervisor, stage manager, planner, guide, advocate and partner. It is incumbent upon us to carefully think about what types of exposure to and use of tools are appropriate and safe. Our planning needs to include explanation for safety and rationale of the benefits to parents.

  81. Alphonsine Hategekimana

    In my opinion, children learn a lot of things by using the fire camp. They can help the educator to look for the wood, which affects gross and fine motor skills, learn new experiences, be comfortable in what they are doing, have an open and critical mind, be independent and even have a good way to solve the problem (intellectual skills). The children can be ready to participate, when it is something they are used to do or when they are older. But as they get used to it, I think they are capable in the presence of an adult.

  82. Kamaldeep Sidhu

    I think it is important for children to learn and introduced the new tools.If we teach them in a young age,they will be able to use and comfortable with tools.when we are introducing about fire, make sure that children know the safety rules.I would like to give them proper guidance and supervision.If we do not teach them that there is a risk,It will hard for them to learn when they get older.I think adult should be more comfortable with these types of experiences,before teaching the children.

  83. Heather Howard

    I feel that if children are given the opportunity to use real tools, with proper guidance and supervision they will soon reveal to us that they are capable and competent mighty learners. Of course everyone has their own comfort level so there may be educators that are less comfortable with these kinds of experiences so this is where conversations need to happen first. It might be that you advocate for the developmental gains around independence, critical thinking, problem solving when children are provided with experiences using real tools and element s of fire.

  84. Charmee Penner

    I feel that it is important for children to learn tool use. They then learn safety, uses, and can practice the fine and gross motor skills needed to use the tools. The educator takes on many roles to ensure that children understand the purpose of the tool, demonstrate the proper use, and supervise the use of the tool to ensure children are using it safely. I think that these are skills that can be taught later on in life but I feel that if children are not taught there is a risk that when they are older that they will try to use tools without the proper safety knowledge and could get hurt.

  85. Laurie Millions

    I believe it is important for children to learn and use tools. I feel that if a child is supervised and shown how to use the tool it will empower them to feel that they can do things for themselves.
    I had quite a few children help me use a full-size hammer to bang in some big spikes that hold down our landscape boards. The children watched me do it first then all took turns. The children all took turns and talked about how hard it was to pound in the big spikes.

  86. Jessica Popp

    I believe opportunities to experience life skills such as building a fire and experiences with really tools is critical to a child’s learning process. It is understandable that an educator might be nervous about implementing such activities, however when we consider the process of completing the task, there are many steps that we can take leading up the end activity. An educator can share details of the process and being with required skills to complete these tasks. Working collaboratively with other educators is critical to a successful outcome.

  87. Joanne Falk

    I think it is very important for children to be introduced to tools and fire at a young age and be able to use them so that they are comfortable with them. Make sure that the children know the rules about being around fire. Show the children how to start a fire and to roast marshmallows and share stories. It’s also important that the staff are comfortable using tools and know how to make a fire, if some staff are not comfortable, they could try on their own first until they would be comfortable to do in at work.

  88. Susanne Saunders

    I would teach the children about fire. I would let each of them feel the heat one at a time with me guiding how close they can go. Letting them feel the warmth of the fire and how hot it can get will give them an idea of how far away they should be. Some with tools teach the children how to use them. show them what could happen if used properly. teaching the children the proper use of equipment ,tools, everything. I would feel much more comfortable with the children around a camp fire knowing they understand that fire can hurt them.

  89. Taylor Aichelberger

    My perspective is that it is beneficial and important to introduce early learners to tools and elements such as fire and the safety protocols involved with them. If safety expectations are clear and understood ahead of time, I am comfortable with children engaging in these experiences with proper supervision. I think it is an excellent learning opportunity that fosters the development of independence, self-regulation, decision-making and fine/gross motor skills. Potential challenges may including licensing requirements, ratio of children to adults for supervision purposes, and adult comfort levels with and knowledge of tools and elements. I think that it is very important for early learning teachers to gain comfort in offering these types of experiences to children by first becoming comfortable with the processes and materials themselves and having organized and appropriate safety protocols in place.

  90. Randi Robertson

    I believe it is important to introduce young students to tools such as fire because is exciting to have things like this during school time. It could be fun to allow the kids to tell stories, roast marsh mellows and do all the traditional fun stuff that we do around fires. I think it’s important to make sure the kids know the rules while being around the fire, having the proper amount of staff to be there to supervise and help and allowing them to help with the wood and showing them how to start the fire.

  91. Kim Hoey

    I think it is important for kids to be introduced to tools and fire at a young age and let them become comfortable with them. We have had bonfires in a contained fire pit at our centre. Children help with the wood and were able to roast marshmallows around the fire. Some challenges might be other staff and their comfort level with these types of experiences. I think adults can become more comfortable with these experiences by trying them first on their own and gain a comfort level.