Skip to main content

Volunteering at Scouts is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing at Scouts. Read more

Discover what this means

Cook some campfire popcorn

Enjoy this tasty treat after watching it pop over a campfire.

Back to Activities

You’ll need

  • A wooden pole that’s over one metre in length, such as an old broom handle
  • Two metal sieves, both the same size with hooks to rest over a pan
  • Metal wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Metal ‘O’ ring, which is large enough to fit over the pole and two sieve handles and hold them all in place at the same time
  • Heat-resistant gloves
  • Popcorn kernels
  • Bowls or plates to serve the popcorn in
  • Toppings for the popcorn, such as salt or sugar
  • A bucket of water and/or sand
  • Fire blanket
  • A first aid kit for burns

Before you begin

  • Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. There's also more guidance to help you carry out your risk assessment, including examples.
  • All young people and adults involved in the activity need to know how to take part safely. You should give a safety briefing and/or demonstration.
  • Have appropriate adult supervision and an Intouch process in place for the activity you’re running. You may need some parents and carers to help. All adult volunteers should be given a copy of the Yellow Card, including external visitors and parent/carer helpers.

Making and being safe around the fire

  • Build and light a fire before starting this activity. Our activities, Campfire admirers or Construct a campfire, can help you to do this. You’ll use the hot embers to cook on, so the fire will need enough time to die down before cooking.
  • Remember to have a hand washing station and take extra hygiene precautions, such as regular handwashing and washing up, when handling raw meat. Take a look at our guidance on food preparation.
  • You could do run our fire safety activities, Fuel air ignition and Sitting safely by a campfire, prior to running this session.

Create your popcorn maker

  1. Take the wooden pole. At one end of the pole, place one of the sieves. The sieve handle needs to be led on the pole, so it’s flat on and perpendicular to it. The broom handle touches the dome of the sieve. The broom is acting like an extension to the handle.
  2. Using the metal wire, secure the sieve handle onto the pole by wrapping the wire around the both. An adult volunteer should cut off any excess wire using the cutters.
  3. Take the second sieve and attach it to the first sieve by wrapping some between the hooks on each sieve. This makes a leverage point, so the sieves can be opened and closed. This second sieve should now be able to fold over on top of the first sieve, creating a full circle or dome to enclose the popcorn.
  4. Slide the metal “O” ring up the pole. It needs to be pushed over the top of the two sieve handles to secure them in place while cooking.

Pop that corn

  1. Open the sieves. Place a small handful of popcorn kernels, approximately 20, in the bottom sieve.
  2. Close the top sieve over the popcorn kernels and secure the two sieves in place with the metal “O” ring.
  3. Hold the sieves over the hot embers of the fire, keeping them at arm’s length with the pole.
  4. Remember to keep moving the pole around to stop the kernels sticking to the sieve while cooking.
  5. After all the kernels have popped, remove the pole from the fire.
  6. Give the metal sieves and ‘O’ ring a few minutes to cool down. Using heat-resistant gloves, remove the metal “O” ring and carefully open up the sieves.
  7. Wait for the popcorn to cool down if needed.
  8. Pour the popcorn into the bowls or plates. You could add a topping or two if you’d like to.
  9. Repeat steps one to eight until everyone has had a chance to cook and eat some popcorn.

Buy a Campfire Popcorn Maker from Scout Store

Make scrummy popcorn over a campfire with this Huckleberry Popcorn Maker.

Nothing says good times like a fresh-popped bowl of popcorn around the fire, and with the Huckleberry Popcorn Maker, the whole process is a blast from start to finish.

All you need is a campfire or fireplace to get the oil sizzling and the kernels popping. Not only is the result oh-so-tasty; seeing the popcorn pop before your very eyes is a thrill.

Visit Scout Store


This activity needed you to try new things and be happier by creating campfire popcorn makers. How did it make you feel to build and cook your own popcorn over a fire?

How did the popcorn compare to the ones you can buy at the cinema or make in a microwave? Would you have the popcorn again?

Building these popcorn makers was something different, had you built one before? Were they easy to make? You could use these skills to help create one at home. Do you think you could remember how to make one again?


All activities must be safely managed. You must complete a thorough risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Always get approval for the activity, and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.

Sharp objects

Teach young people how to use sharp objects safely. Supervise them appropriately throughout. Store all sharp objects securely, out of the reach of young people.


Remember to check for allergies, eating problems, fasting or dietary requirements and adjust the recipe as needed. Make sure you’ve suitable areas for storing and preparing food and avoid cross contamination of different foods. Take a look at our guidance on food safety and hygiene.


Teach young people how to use cooking equipment safely. Supervise them appropriately throughout. Make sure it’s safe to use and follow manufacturers’ guidelines for use.

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.

Hot items and hot water

Kettles, cookers and microwave ovens produce a lot of heat by the very nature of them. Caution is needed when in contact with items that have been heated and young people should use them under adult supervision. Use on a suitable surface, protecting it if necessary. Never leave hot items unattended and make sure there’s a nearby first aid kit, with items to treat burns/scalds.

You could collect enough resources so that you can split your group into teams, and they can create their own popcorn maker. Each group or team would need adult supervision.

If anyone doesn’t want to hold the popcorn over the fire, they can take on another role, such as making the popcorn maker or applying the toppings to the cooked popcorn.

Remember to check for allergies or dietary requirements and adjust the recipe as needed.

All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.

Now you have built your popcorn makers, why not take them to a camp with you? Everyone can have popcorn while sitting round the campfire and singing songs.

If anyone has built one of these before and feels confident enough to explain, let them lead the group and show everyone how to make one.