Week Six: Friction Fire Challenge!

Dear Robin Circle Families,

Each time we meet with this wonderful group, we are all so impressed with the maturity, patience, and intelligence of each of your daughters. We are able to challenge them beyond what we could have imagined, and they are so sharp!

As you know, we have been teaching the girls different things about their Nature Names each week. This week, we continued this practice by bringing different cards that each had a group of different plants and animals that depicted the diets of each of their nature names. The challenge was for each girl to pick which card was for her animal! It goes without saying that we were impressed that each girl found their card within their first couple guesses!


As we move forward into the chilly Colorado autumn, we thought it would be a fun challenge to begin teaching the girls about fire! So happened to have their bow-drill on hand today, which is a primitive method of fire-making that involves rubbing sticks together to create friction!

bow drill

Our next challenge for the day was to gather different plant materials that we thought would be good tinder. Tinder is typically a fine, very dry material that is highly flammable. Having a good tinder bundle is essential to starting a primitive fire. It’s basically a nest-like structure in which we place the coal that is produced using the bow-drill.

We went on a wander to the upper meadow on the McClintock Trail, where we found all kinds of different materials for tinder, including dried thistle blooms, dried grasses, pinecones, pine needles, and more! We traveled silently (by fox walking) back to the charcoal grill, and began making our coal! Watch this video to see how a coal is made!

Just as we arrived back at the grill to build our fire, the wind decided to pick up, which gave us another challenge! Starting a fire even with a small breeze can be quite difficult, so we had to act quickly! But all of the girls got together to create the tinder bundle, and had it ready to go as So heated up the coal. Meanwhile, others built a small tee-pee out of small sticks inside of the grill, where we quickly placed the tinder bundle that contained the hot coal. In no time, we had a little blazing fire!


Seeing the teamwork of the Robins today was so inspiring. When in a survival situation, it is essential for each member of a group to take on different roles to help reach our end result, which today was making warmth! All of our hands were busy during this time, and together, we successfully completed our challenge! (We were all wishing we had some marshmallows right about then!)


We can’t wait to use this newly learned skill later on in the season to cook some delicious treats and warm our chilly hands!

Next week, we have a fun craft planned that we hope will be a challenging and exciting activity for the group.

Until next time,


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