Learning in, learning about and learning for the natural environment

Learners of all ages can enjoy campfire and tool use activities that enrich well-being and physical comfort whilst providing opportunities for improving skills and knowledge, in a real-life context.

Safely making campfires and using tools for a range of outdoor activities from gardening to Forest School, encourages resilience, develops risk assessment skills and provides a sense of achievement. This webpage has plenty of information to support the safe teaching of tool use and the lighting, managing, and extinguishing of a small campfire.

All the activities and games on this page will help you enable your learners to progress in the ways described in the four purposes of the Curriculum for Wales. Curriculum links are included in the documents and all the activities will help you deliver many aspects of the cross curricular Literacy and Numeracy Framework (LNF) and Digital Competence Framework (DCF).

What is fire? 

Our information note explains what fire is, and how it can be managed once burning.

Information note – Fire

Setting up a safe space for teaching and learning outdoor campfire and tool use

Need advice on how to source, site and ensure a safe distance when setting up a log circle area? Check out our Information note.

Information note – Installing a log circle

Safe lighting, management and extinguishing of a campfire 

When planning a campfire, it is important that you consider how to do this safely and take steps to minimise the risk of damage to the natural environment and injury to individuals.

It is advised that the leader of any campfire activity has:

  • Experience and knowledge of safe fire lighting, for example, accreditation such as a Level 3 Agored Cymru Coastal or Forest School qualification.
  • Experience of group management around campfires.
  • Policies and procedures on safe fire lighting and extinguishing.
  • Your group’s medical information and permission to take part in the activity.
  • Landowner’s permission for fire lighting/collecting firewood.
  • Suitable health and safety equipment.
  • Sufficient water on site to extinguish the fire and deal with burns should they occur.

If you are thinking about becoming accredited to safely teach fire lighting and tool use, training to become a Forest School practitioner is a route to consider.  Forest School is an inspirational process that offers children, young people and adults, regular opportunities to achieve and develop self-confidence through regular hands-on learning experiences in a local woodland environment.

Booklet – Guide to Forest School in Wales

You can find other useful information in our Countryside Code webpage.

Further information and guidance is available in our information note.

Information note - Safe lighting, management and extinguishing of a campfire

Campfire cooking 

What culinary delights can your learners rustle up to enjoy around a campfire? Have a look at some of our suggested recipes.

Information note – Campfire cooking

Charcoal and charcloth making 

Charcoal making is an ancient wood fuel practice used mostly for cooking and in industry. This activity explores the science and technology of producing charcoal and charcloth through a hands-on experiment.

Activity plan - Making campfire charcoal

What’s the best wood to burn on a campfire?

Get hands on with our wood fuel experiment and investigate the burning properties of different types of wood.

Activity plan - Campfire fuel investigators

Learning about wildfires

No matter how small your campfire is it can get out of control and become a wildfire.  For more information visit our wildfires page.

Teaching safe tool use

Using tools with your group can sometimes appear daunting and even dangerous but with careful supervision and clear explanation, valuable life skills can be learnt. These resource cards aim to support the consistent teaching of safe tool handling and use, for gardening and working with wood. Simply use the acronym NACHPPUFM, to help your learners get to grips with the uses and safe handling of different tools.

N – Name of the tool.

A - Annotate the parts of individual tools drawing attention particularly to the more risky areas

C - Check that the tool is in good order and safe before use.

H – How to handle the tool in an appropriate manner.

P – What PPE might be required when using the tool?

P – Purpose and use of the tool.

U – How to use them.

F - Finish up safely after using the tool.

M – Maintain the tool over time.

Resource cards – Tool use

Using tools safely with your group 

Once your group has become familiar with the safe handling of tools, encourage them to apply their NACHPPUFM knowledge. For example, when pruning, taking cuttings, and supporting biodiversity improvements by making log piles and bird boxes. 

They can also use tools to cut wood (with landowners’ permission) for the campfire activities on this webpage and for shelter building poles and other wood products. 

Information note – Shelters and dens

Resource cards – Shelters challenge

Information note – Habitat piles and stumperies

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