Sunday, October 05, 2008

backyard campfire conversations.

Backyard campfires on cool autumn nights are the best. Warm fire. Cozy blankets. Campfire popcorn. Lots of stars...

...interesting conversation. Where did our hanging out around the backyard fire lead us? To some interesting questions from A.

How hot is fire?
Why is part of the fire orange and part of it blue?
How hot does it have to be to make popcorn pop?
How does popcorn pop?
How many stars are there?
Are all of those stars suns?
Do all suns have planets?
Can we see planets too?
Which one is Jupiter?
Why do the flames go up?
Why do the flames stop as they go up?
Is there other life in space?
How far are those stars?
Is there oxygen in space?
Can fire burn in space without oxygen?
If there is no gravity in space, what would fire look like in no-gravity (like in the space shuttle)?
Can we see a space shuttle or satellites from here?
Is that all the stars?
How come we can't see all the stars from here?
How can you tell that airplane is not as far as the stars?
Do different kinds of logs burn differently?
Does different fuel burn hotter?
What is hotter, big orange flames, or small blue flames?

And many (many!) more. I love following questions, thoughts, ideas, and inspirations wherever they might lead. What a great evening!

Note:: Any Minneapolis readers out there? My husband has a work conference this month in the Minneapolis/Bloomington area and we might tag along. We have been a few times before, but have been with kids only during the peak of winter. We'd love to find some fun things to do outside and/or more local and keep away from the big shopping/tourist oriented spots (other than the mandatory visit to IKEA, of course). Ideas/recommendations? You can email me at Thanks! :)


Anet said...

Great time and conversation!
I really want one of those fire pits! We were talking about make applesauce on a open fire. Wonder how it would taste?

Jodi Anderson said...

Ahhh, 'tis the season. :)

Our Home Schooler and Jen said...

interesting time
I love inquiring questions too
love how people learn

tiff said...

now that looks like a lovely night of family fun! all those questions are fantastic!

hope you get to tag along with your husband...and i will be extremely jealous of your spree to IKEA...all i can think of is all the organizational stuff that have to offer! Enjoy!

Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

I remember looking up at the sparks as they rode up on the thermals created by the fire. It seemed like they'd reach the stars.
Then I'd wonder how far away the faintest stars were. It was my first inkling of infinity.


dawn klinge said...

I love those questions...what a smart boy. ;)

Ruth said...

Haha, all those questions! Goodness! Bonfires are the best, we haven't had one yet this season. Great memories for the kids.

Tara said...

I love those times, too, but eventually start to panic because I can't answer everything. LOL. Trying to explain the bail-out situation to Tess was pretty funny... after 20 minutes or so I think she was sorry she asked!

Angie said...

Did you have answers for all of those?? I'm exhausted:)

Go to the City of Minneapolis website. They have a great list of all kinds of things. There are so many cool museums, art galleries, kids activities....all kinds of fun stuff.

Good luck!

Lisa Clarke said...

Ooh, backyard campfire! I so want to do that, but I don't know how... Do I need special equipment? What is that thing that your fire is burning in?

Hope you don't mind my questions, but I just love the idea of having some family time around a backyard fire on a crisp Fall evening. I'm getting giddy just thinking about it!

Mama Randa Morning Glory said...

Campfire conversations--- a perfect example of unschooling at work. If you had tried to sit down a 'teach' a structured lesson about fire or space, not nearly as much knowledge would be gained and retained. Hooray for trusting a child's natural instinct to learn!!!

RunninL8 said...

What great observations and questions!! I just love to try and spot the satellites. And it's always a treat to see an Iridian flash!
The aurora was out the other morning and i was dying to wake Lo up to see it,-she's never seen one yet- but it was so early!

kraftykash said...

This is my favorite thing to do. I think we have the same exact fire bowl. Great questions! Take Care- Kashoan

Anonymous said...

Yet more evidence that kids don't need to be encouraged or constantly entertained to be eager to learn about the world!

denise said...

anet - I would think it would be great. Just needs enough time to cook down a bit! :)

Tara - yeah, mine are 5 & 3, so not many questions we can't answer pretty well (yet!!!!!!).

Angie - Lots of answers! Sometimes the most simple answers are the best ... there is always time later to pursue it more. Thanks for the rec. Found a nice looking nature center close by and a few cool museums!

Lisa - We just have a backyard fire bowl. It is a metal bowl on a stand with a grated top/cover. We got ours at Target, I think, but I have seen them at camping stores, lawn & garden shops, and pretty much anywhere that sells grills. Then you just need something to burn. We use wood or recycled cardboard logs. :)

runninl8 - I can only imagine how much clearer your view is of the stars there (oh, and the aurora!)! When I lived in New Mexico I was amazed at how much we could see with the naked eye.

Lisa said...

So fun! We are just starting to get questions like this and I really love it!!!