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Fire with the Under Fives

Dusk and then dark descended swiftly in the Shacklewell Street Garden.

A group of adults and unders fives could be seen drinking hot chocolate and huddling over some tiny fires whilst the smell of bread cooking drifted on to the street to the occassional passerby.

The Keep Playing Team had been invited in to run a fire session with the users and friends of the Shacklewell St Garden by local mum and play enthusiast Yuki Finch.

We wanted a low key but fun event so had taken an enamel baking tray, that we balanced on bricks to keep it from scorching the concrete, and a Kelly Kettle to heat water for drinks. Our kit also contained some fire resisitant gloves, our fire blanket and a second kelly kettle full of cold water.

Fire is best with some food so we took along our long skewers, some bread dough and sachets of instant hot chocolate, Yuki turned up with a big bag of marshmallows.

At first we were all a little nervous - adults wanted something to do, the nights damp air was slowing down the firelighting, was this over ambitious, do under fives and fire mix? They adults were used to dropping in with their under fives to play in the old one o'clock club building and join in with the community gardening. This was something very different. The Gruffalo (or a young person in a Gruffalo suit) popped by to play. Then it all settled, one of the men there took on breaking up the scrap wood into small pieces, people began to place it on to the flames, the marshamallows were eyed expectantly.

Realising that the bread needed the embers, and the marshmallows would toast immediately, Yuki helped get the pink and white puffs on to sticks. Everyone moved closer to the fire as the children toasted the sugary treats in the flames  devouring them in appreciative glee. Mums and children rolled the bread into thin worms and wrapped them round the skewers - the children held them over the embers in the baking tray and made truly delicious bread.

Adults chatted, children were entranced by the fire and some slipped off quietly to have a play in the dark. It was a school night and by 5.30 the fires were gone and Yuki was locking  the gate. We'd met a whole load of people new to Keep Playing and hopefully they will share their stories of the night on this site. Our thanks to Play Champion Yuki for making it all happen.







November 30th 2011
A story by about the garden in Shacklewell Street Garden. It is a 'Experiences' story.
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