Building a fire with children

Fire master skills
fire building a fire fire pit start a fire fire pits
I have been attracted to fire all my life. Fire is fascinating, amazing, and unpredictable. The play of the light, the heat, and the rhythm of the fire cause both young and old to be inspired by this ancient phenomenon. But there is also danger, always lurking and which keeps us from letting our children get near. But is that the right approach?
fire building a fire fire pit start a fire fire pits

Andreas Ketels

Artist and founder of Glowbus®

50 shades of fire

It has been said that the language of the Inuit in the far north has 50 different words for ‘snow’. Each with its own meaning, often linked to the danger or seriousness of the snowfall. The Scots even have 421 words for the various types of ‘snow’. In fact, we should also have 50 words for fire, because fire has many shapes. From burning candles to blazing infernos and everything in between. The danger of fire is mostly related to the shape of the fire or the phase it is in. And to the surroundings, because that is often determining the shape and the force of the fire. “50 shades of fire” if you will. It would make the introduction of ‘fire’ to our children a lot easier, because not all fires are equally dangerous.

Estranged from fire

Customers sometimes ask me how they should fire up a fire pit. This question also makes me realize how much we have estranged from ‘fire’ in our society. It is the same estranged which turns fire into an unpredictable monster. Do not get me wrong, fire can be extremely dangerous. In a previous life, I was active in a circus and I performed theater and acrobatics with fire. Professionally, I have been working with fire for almost 20 years and in all those years I have found it is that very estrangement which causes ‘fire’ to be so dangerous. Things go wrong when people are not capable to accurately assess the danger of fire, when they do not know how to properly start a fire and how to extinguish it. Moreover, a lack of knowledge about fire makes the fire respond differently than expected, increasing stress, and causing panic. Precisely the two things you should avoid when dealing with fire because it causes you to make mistakes and that is when things go wrong.

Fire lessons

I am a father of three young children myself and I intentionally choose to properly educate them about fire. Compare it to traffic. Traffic is also extremely dangerous, but it becomes less dangerous once you know the traffic rules and your judgement gets better. The same applies to fire. I teach my children to handle fire very carefully, because that will keep them safer than not educating them about fire at all. I teach them what is possible and what is not, and how they can keep themselves safe.

Customers sometimes ask me how they should fire up a fire pit.

Some tips:

  • Start small. Teach them to light a candle before introducing them to a larger fire.
  • Clearly tell them what you are doing and why. Point out the possible dangers.
  • Do not lose your children out of sight when dealing with fire.
  • Teach your children what a safe distance is. Give small children a fixed place around the fire and keep them seated there when the fire is burning.
  • Pay attention to the clothing children are wearing when near fire. Avoid synthetic fabrics and fleece blankets because these fabrics melt when they burn.
  • Start at a distance. First teach children to safely site around a fire before letting them help starting and extinguishing a fire. Also, do not immediately start roasting marshmallows or chestnuts over the fire.

Safe fire

Of course, also the surrounding and the fire pit you use play a large role in the safety of your children. A rickety lightweight fire pit on a couple of crooked terrace tiles is a recipe for accidents. When designing the Glowbus® Dewdrop collection, we have paid incredible attention to the safety of the entire family.

  • A fire pit must be very stable. For this reason, the focus of the Glowbus® Dewdrop is extremely low. You cannot accidently knock it over and a strong gust of wind will not topple it.
  • The hot coals must be out of reach. Those scintillating things are beautiful when they start falling around the fire pit and that is too enticing for children. In the Glowbus® Dewdrop, the hot coals remain in the center of the pit and close to the ground. It is almost impossible to touch them, even if you try to.
  • The fire must be (partially) shielded. Be careful with fire pits which are very open and close to the ground. For example, a wide, low fire bowl. You do not want your child to fall headfirst into the glowing mass of coals. The iconic shape of the Glowbus® Dewdrop does not only result in a beautiful play of light because of the slats, but also provides safety. Of course, the slats heat up after some time, but still form a barrier between child and fire.
A fire pit must be very stable.


Give your children a proper education about fire and introduce them to fire in a safe environment, always under supervision of a responsible adult (who knows what he is doing). Lack of knowledge of fire means more danger, so protect your children and teach them to handle fire safely. Just as you would in traffic. First look to the left, then to the right, and then cross the street.


And if you are interested in a design fire pit which gives you and your children maximum enjoyment of a crackling fire? Discover our Glowbus® Dewdrop collection. See you soon!