Today I’m taking a break from my usual recipes to share a fun summer post! While visiting my family in New England, we had a campfire with 2 toddlers and a preschooler. Looking back through the fun (and exhausting!) photos, I thought about what it really takes to have a successful bonfire with babies. Here is my top 5 list:
1. Invite a fireman. Safety first, people. Coincidentally, we went to a fire station to see a truck earlier in the week and the kids got free hats. My son proceeded to wear the hat every waking minute for the rest of vacation. Even in the bath tub. But, it did make for a stellar “fireman at the fire” photo op.
2. Pick long sticks. Part of the fire fun at my parents house was going into the woods and finding sticks to roast marshmallows. My kids, of course, picked twigs. Literally, toothpick sticks that would barely support the weight of a single marshmallow. After some questionable parenting tactics (“The longer the stick the sweeter the marshmallow!”), all the kids were armed with nice long sticks. A good rule of thumb is a stick double their height. Remember, there is NO such thing as a stick too long when standing around a fire with toddlers. 🙂
3. Multiple adults for every one toddler. 4:1 is the desired ratio.
What’s scarier than a toddler near a bonfire? A toddler near a bonfire holding a flaming torch that used to be a marshmellow. Our kids were all very good about holding the marshmallow stick over the fire UNTIL they noticed the flaming fire ball. Then, all bets were off. They would whip their stick out of the fire to get a closer look. It took some ultimate extreme ninja warrior moves for each adult to grab the flaming marshmellow before it lit something – or someone – on fire. We had 5 adults and 3 kids, but even that ratio was light on the supervision.
4. Chocolate. LOTS of chocolate.
The most relaxing part of the bonfire was when the toddlers were given smores to eat. We got about three whole minutes of silence as they savored their treats. Maybe their mouths were stuck together with the marshmellow fluff. Either way, it was quite enjoyable.
And don’t worry about cutting the portion size for the babies. They deserve full-size Smores. Oh yeah, full-size Smores take longer to eat too. And adults need a breather between marshmellow sessions. (See #3.)
5. Bring the bug spray.
Even though it was totally adorable when my son got bit by a mosquito and kept on asking me to scratch his “fluffy hand”, you might as well bring the bug spray to the bonfire at the beginning of the night. Fires do not keep bugs away. I don’t have evidence to support my theory, but I’m pretty sure fires attract mosquitos. At least, I’m always eaten alive if I don’t prepare myself and family. Just look as my son’s arm in the picture below from before I sprayed on the vanilla bug spray!
Now that we’re officially halfway though summer, I encourage you to have a campfire if you haven’t already! Remember my tips above and it will be fun! 🙂