Skip to main content

Campfires

Songs, stories, skits, and s’mores might feature, but what really makes a campfire special is the people around it.
Plan a session with this activity

What to expect

Campfires can be a quiet moment with a handful of close friends, or they can be a well-planned event to entertain hundreds. They’re a fantastic safe space for the singers, the storytellers, the actors, and the chefs to practice their talents. A campfire doesn’t care what uniform you wear – differences melt away in its warm glow until Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, and Explorers are sharing stories, memories, and jokes together.

Even when a real fire isn’t an option, you can use torches, logs, and orange paper to create a glowing ‘fire’. It might not warm your hands, but it’ll give you the same warm feeling in your tummy.

Fun Facts

  • Every year between Christmas and New Year, two towns in the Netherlands compete to build the largest bonfire. The current record is 8,695 cubic metres, the largest recorded in the world!
  • The first marshmallows came from a plant called Athlea officinalis. The ancient Greeks and Romans used it as a medicine, but now the root is combined with eggs and sugar made it into a foamy treat.
  • If you lit a campfire in space the flames would be circle shaped because of the lack of gravity.
  • It’s not uncommon for a campfire to get as hot as 500 degrees Celsius, that’s hot enough to melt some metals like lead.

Handy hints

  • You can build a fire in lots of different shapes like stars, pyramids, towers and pits. Here’s some more information on fire styles and shapes that you could share with your group.

Plan the perfect campfire

Lights, campfire, action! Follow these top tips to direct your campfire like Scorsese to make sure your group has a night to remember.

Campfire director
Construct a campfire

Collect and sort wood, then learn how to safely build and light a fire.

Suitable for: Beavers 

Construct a campfire >
Cautious campfire

Discuss and build a safe campfire in this practical activity.

Suitable for: Cubs

Cautious campfire >
Campfire admirers

Scout out some campfire science to create some worthy of the hall of flame!

Suitable for: Scouts

Campfire admirers >

Safety

Outdoor activities

You must have permission to use the location. Always check the weather forecast and inform parents and carers of any change in venue.

Fires and stoves

Make sure anyone using fires and stoves is doing so safely. Check that the equipment and area are suitable and have plenty of ventilation. Follow the gas safety guidance. Have a safe way to extinguish the fire in an emergency.

Food

Check for allergies before you begin and read the guidance on food safety. Make sure you have suitable areas for storing and preparing food and avoid cross contamination of different foods.

Guidance

Reflection

Campfires are a great chance to value the outdoors. What can you see, hear, taste, feel, and smell? How would your campfire be different if it were a different time of day? Did you enjoy being outside? Did your campfire help you stop and notice the natural world around you?

Campfires also help us to build meaningful friendships. What have you shared with your friends around the campfire (for example, marshmallows, stories, memories)? Did you meet any new friends around the campfire? Was it easy to talk to people? Did you talk about things you don’t usually talk about? Does sharing things like food or songs help you feel closer to your friends?