Make some fire-starting pine cones.

©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Fire-Starting Pine Cones for Kids

Surprise someone with a fireplace with a basket of useful fire-starting pine cones. It's an educational activity for kids.

What You'll Need:
  • Small pine cones
  • Paraffin wax
  • Metal juice can
  • Pan
  • Water
  • Newspapers
  • Waxed paper
  • Scissors
  • Tongs
  • Salt
  • Basket or bucket
  • Ribbon

Step 1: Gather small pine cones outdoors. Clean off any dirt or leaves. If the cones are closed, put them in a warm oven for several hours until they dry out and open up.

Step 2: Break a block of paraffin wax into pieces and put them in a large metal juice can. Put the can in a pan of water and have an adult help you heat it slowly until the wax is melted. Never put a container of wax directly on a stove burner. It can overheat and catch fire.

Step 3: Spread newspapers on the surface you are going to work on.

Step 4: Cut some squares of waxed paper and lay them on the newspapers. Set the pan with the wax on the newspapers (the hot water will help to keep it melted).

Step 5: Pick up a pine cone in the tongs and dip it in the wax. Set the cone upright on the waxed paper.

Step 6: Sprinkle the cone with salt.

Step 7: Allow the cones to cool completely.

Continue with the rest of your cones. Pile them into a basket or bucket. Tie a ribbon into a big bow on the handle.

One or two of these cones is enough to start a fire in the fireplace. The salt makes them burn with a bright yellow flame.

To make a delicate, pretty gift for someone, see the seashell box on the next page.

For more ideas on nature-related crafts and activities to do with kids, see: