A Gift of Tinder

Our boys have a good friend named Max who is turning eleven this week.  We are looking forward to celebrating with his family this weekend.  But when it came to picking out a gift for him, we were a little bit stumped.  His current interest is in all things survival.  So Jonny emailed back and forth with his mom asking about different ideas.  Every family is different when it comes to what they’re comfortable giving their children.  We are pretty laid back when it comes to the outdoorsy survival stuff.  Jonny made a few suggestions:  a pocket knife, a multi-tool, or a flint and steel set, but each was met with either “He already has that,” or “He’s getting that for his birthday.”  Finally Max’s mom made a great suggestion, one totally up my boys’ alley:  a box of tinder, and maybe a magnifying glass.  Essentially, a fire themed birthday gift.  Seth has a collection of tinder that he keeps in little tins, and we thought that it would be fun to assemble something similar for Max.


The kids took a little “gathering” expedition and came home with river birch bark, cedar bark, pine shavings, and honeysuckle bark.  We still have a couple of days, so maybe they will add to the tinder collection.  Other options are different types of fungi including cramp balls and some sort of shelf fungi (the boys have experimented with which ones work and which ones don’t.)  I will visit the craft store for an attractive storage container to put it all in.


I also printed up the new Summer Science Special from Alphabet Glue this week, and was excited to see a campsite fire starter project included.  Keats decided to make a set of them for Max.  I think I’ll buy an extra copy of the Summer Science Special (It’s only $2.50!) print it up, and bind it in a folder for Max as well.  That way he will have the instructions if he wants to make more of the fire starters (not to mention several other great science projects and booklists as well!)

We think we’ve put together a pretty great, if not somewhat unusual, birthday gift (I bought the suggested magnifying glass as well-those are great for making fire) and hopefully Max will like it!  Maybe my kids will teach him how to eat roasted grasshoppers too, one of their latest “survival” activities.  Even Larkspur and Beatrix insist that grasshoppers are yummy.  You couldn’t pay me to eat one.