Summer Campfire

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. Here are some hints for helping your friends with autism enjoy this traditional summer experience.

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So, the two key ingredients to a successful campfire are these (1) SAFETY FIRST, and (2) encouraging your friend with autism to be involved in all aspects of the preparation. Of course you would want to follow the safety guidelines for fire-building down the smallest detail, taking nothing for granted.

Here are some ideas a friend has found successful in encouraging his daughter to participate in summer campfire. The youngster collects sticks to use in the fire or gathers rocks to make the fire ring. She helps clear leaves and debris from around the fire ring, and she helps with the fire safety procedures by filling the water bucket, stretching the water hose to the site, and getting the shovel. The young lady helps bring out the lawn chairs or drags up logs for people to sit on outside the fire ring.

Several days before the campfire, she enjoys making a list of items needed for s’mores and shopping for them at the store. She needs some help shopping for the ingredients. Traditional s’mores use graham crackers, Hershey chocolate bars, and marshmallows.

Another campfire food this youngster likes is “Biscuit on a Stick.” Here is her family’s recipe. 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 embers, 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 before taking a bite of this delicious treat.

We welcome your input and ideas about summer activities. Just click on the comments button or send an e-mail to

NOTE TO READERS AND LISTENERS: I am Cathy Knoll, a board certified music therapist and long-time friend of many folks with autism. At we are committed to providing free, practical, everyday tips for making life better for people with autism. Feel free to send me an email with your thoughts or challenging situations or innovative solution. Send email to And don’t forget to check out our website for a wealth of ideas and a glimpse into the world of autism.

2 Responses to “Summer Campfire”

  1. Maddy 16 July 2008 at 12:28 am Permalink

    My daughter is off tomorrow to Summer camp out in the middle of nowhere! [her sister is a camp counsellor there too so the girls will have their first two exclusive ever weeks together!]

    Meanwhile, I’ll spin my wheels at home.

    I suspect I begin to ramble but the point I was going to make was that tonight [bed time tuck in time] I found out that she has never eaten ‘smores.’ Apparently this is very unusual.

    Then I pointed out that I hadn’t eaten them either!

    Are we the only two people on the planet that haven’t?

  2. cathy 16 July 2008 at 7:58 am Permalink

    Ooooo! HOW FUN for your two girls to spend time together “out in the middle of nowhere!” Sounds to me like Mom might want to sign up for a mama’s outdoor adventure sometime. And when the girls get home, enjoy a night sitting around a campfire before the summer’s over. They’ll both be ol’ pros at making s’mores by then. Enjoy!

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