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Survival Skills: Let’s Learn About Fire

“Fire! Don’t touch! Hot! Not for playing!”

That’s about the most we’ve taught our children about fire. But what if there really was a fire? Now that we live in an apartment block, the danger of being in a burning building has increased (not a whole lot but it’s greater). We only need one apartment with faulty gas piping to start a fire. Would Aristotle know what to do in a fire?

To make the subject more interesting, I threw in some extra elements. Firstly, Aristotle has become curious about fires and how they start after watching “How to Train Your Dragon”. So I showed him the gas stove – how the gas is released and how the spark lights the fire. Then we toasted some marshmallows over the naked flame. I still remember my first experience with toasted marshmallows over a campfire and it was to die for. After waxing lyrical to Aristotle about how awesome toasted marshmallows are, I have to say that the memory of it seemed a lot better (or perhaps it was just the wrong brand of marshmallows). I think Aristotle thought so too because he told me he preferred the marshmallows in their untoasted state.

Ah well, we’ll make sure we get the good stuff when we go camping. Yes, that’s another experience the boys must have – camping under the stars and dig your own toilet – type camping because nothing teaches you to appreciate what you have more than a gruelling experience in nature. Even hubby agreed that the bowl of instant noodles he ate at the top of Gunung Kutu was the best he’s ever tasted – and I’m sure it had nothing to do with the quality of the noodles but the state of the individual when the noodles were consumed.

Hubby, unfortunately, swore he would never ever go hiking again and that if I wanted to take the boys camping, I can go by myself. So I’ll have to wait until they are a bit older… Carrying two boys up a flight of stairs is one thing. Hiking for half a day with two boys is another thing altogether.

But I digress… learning about fire. Fire was a great topic because we could cover a lot of things to make it fun. We talked about oxygen in the air and how it feeds the fire, then I showed him how a flame without oxygen would fizzle out by covering the top of a glass with a candle burning inside.

We pretended the building was on fire and crawled around the house (because there is less smoke nearer the floor) towards the escape routes. Aristotle remembered watching on Lou and Lou Safety Patrol that you could touch the door to see if it is hot to find out if there is fire on the other side without opening the door. We also practiced shouting for help (not too loudly, of course) at the balcony in case the front door was blocked. We also talked about taking the stairs instead of the elevator during a fire.

Aristotle got into the whole spirit of things so I think it was a lesson well-learned. It was probably the most interesting of our “safety lessons”.

Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of (a website on parenting, education, child development) and (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

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