Campfire Gathering

“I always enjoyed campfires when I was little, and I would like to share that experience with my family, including my 10-year-old daughter with autism” wrote a dad. “Scout training taught me how to build a safe fire, but I’m looking for ideas to make this a special experience for my daughter.”

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SOME IDEAS. There are few experiences more enjoyable than watching the flames of a campfire leap up from the logs, cooking s’mores with family and friends, singing some silly songs, then watching the embers glow and fade. Gathering around a campfire is a traditional summertime experience that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and interests. Of course you would want to follow the safety guidelines for fire-building down the smallest detail, taking nothing for granted.

One of the keys to helping make campfires – or any experience, for that matter – special for your daughter is to encourage her to participate in the preparation of the event. So, for example, she could collect sticks to use in the fire or gather rocks to make the fire ring. She could help clear leaves and debris from around the fire ring, and she could help with the fire safety procedures by filling the water bucket, stretching the water hose to the site, and getting the shovel. Your daughter could help bring out the lawn chairs or drag up logs for people to sit on outside the fire ring.

Another fun activity she might enjoy is making a list of items needed for s’mores and shopping for them at the store. If she is able to do so, let her find the ingredients in the grocery store without your help. Traditional s’mores use graham crackers, Hershey chocolate bars, and marshmallows. You can also try a less messy version by using the chocolate flavored graham crackers and marshmallows. Another campfire food you might want to try is “Biscuit on a Stick.” Just stretch a canned butter biscuit into a long thin shape and spiral it around the end of a long stick. Slowly “bake” it over the fire by holding the stick well above hot flames, and turning the stick slowly until your Biscuit on a Stick is golden on all sides. Slip it off the stick, let it cool a few minutes, then enjoy this delicious treat.

So, the two key ingredients to a successful campfire are these (1) SAFETY FIRST, and (2) encouraging your daughter to be involved in all aspects of the preparation.

NOTE TO LISTENERS AND READERS: I am Cathy Knoll, a board certified music therapist and long-time friend of many folks with autism. At FAQautism.com we are committed to providing free, practical, everyday tips for making life better for people with autism. You can click on a button to send me an email with your thoughts or challenging situations or innovative solutions. Check out our website for a wealth of ideas and a glimpse into the world of autism. www.FAQautism.com

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