Help! Activity ideas needed for a two hour event

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Hi Folks

I've kind of been press ganged into doing two, two hour sessions with some kids at the beginning of the school holidays but as it approaches I'm getting less and less confident and need to have some set program to work to i think.

The obvious things that spring to my mind are food and fire.

I have a country park at my disposal so I thought we could forage for firelighting materials first, then go back and have a play with some firesteels, I could demo bow drill and then when our fire is lit maybe do some simple stuff like fireside bread on a stick or even just marshmallows and hot chocolate.

What do you think? Too boring? Any little frills you could suggest that might make it 'special'

Your thoughts much appreciated.



Full Member
Aug 24, 2012
What about a little knot tying session. My grandson is fascinated by knots and he's only four. You'd only need to do four to six. Or what about different ways to tie shoe laces. Or you could do a couple of basic basha set ups. My opinion on the food things is to stay away from it but fire is always good. A lot depends on the size of the group. Don't worry what ever you do even if it's just walking around the park pointing things out would be enough. I know he's busy but Wayland might be of service. Good luck.


Full Member
Jun 26, 2013
North Dorset
I think you are bang on with fire! Collect materials by all means but I should think to demonstrate and let them each try as many methods as you can. Fire bow, chemical, magnifying glass and parabolic mirror, flint & steel, ferro rod, battery and wire wool would take a very entertaining two hours for a class sized group. Worked well for our group over the weekend. Get them trying different tinders too.

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Bushcrafter through and through
Jan 12, 2011
I manned a set up teaching cubs and beavers fire lighting techniques. They all loved setting things on fire with ferro rods. A few cracked proper flint and steel. The bow drill was more popular with Dads and Scouts. But one of the cubs had a crack at it with my wheel bearing "speed" version.

Take a pencil sharpener to make instant tinder from any sticks and lots of cotton wool pads for the ferro rods - I also had some big "snuffers" (logs) and a bucket of water handy.

Two hours is a long time though - perhaps divide them into teams on different methods and rotate them around until you get a few more "experts" who can help instruct the kids who are having trouble.

You could also make up some char cloth too - get em to cut the cloth up, jam it into a tin - put a hole in the tin and set it into the fire.

Other stuff:

Cooking eggs in orange skins

Cardboard candle tins

Elder Whistle making

Shelter building against the clock (divvy into teams give them a blue tarp each, some rope, sticks etc.) - then test with a bucket of water and a brave volunteer.
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Oct 28, 2013
East Kilbride
Some of the things I have done with my Scouts:

shelters - gave each a bin bag (to replicate a survival bag) and 1 meter of string and get them to build shelters in groups of 3/4
fire races - race to light a fire and keep it going for 10 minutes
Cooking - cheese wrapped in bacon and put in tinfoil and then on the fire, sausages on a stick, fish has gone down well. slice the top of an orange off, put an after mint in the orange and put the sliced bit back on wrap the whole orange in tinfoil and sit on the fire. The mint melts and runs down the veins of the orange. We have made pop corn, making bags out of tinfoil and put the kernels in with some pop corn oil. also had a go at making our own lemonde.
knife, axe & saw
Wow, thanks guys, some great ideas.

I think my biggest problem will be that they will be a mixed age group so the idea of breaking them down in to groups might be helpful so that they all work together on what they are doing.

I'm wondering if a game at the beginning might help. any thoughts?


Full Member
Jan 25, 2014
Cabin Fever Central
Using long hanks of grass to make a rope for tug of war goes down well if you have enough bodies.
Worm charming is also an often overlooked survival skill, add a couple of eggs and you've got a cooking demo.
Woodland trail treasure hunt for plant/fungi samples.

Guiness records:
Balancing a 16 inch tent peg on the thumb - 10 minutes 9.6 seconds
Most laps around a two man tent whilst wearing a life jacket
Most tent circulations in one minute
Most sporks in the mouth
Most sporks in one hand

Couldn't find any for sleeping bags... eg: throwing, packing, getting in and out etc


Full Member
Jun 6, 2004
It can be a strange thing - part of the problem is that 'we' look at it through Bushcraft enthusiasts eyes as opposed the client. Even when we think we've nailed it, it turns out that simpler is very often the best.

The first basic tracking session I did with clients turned out to be about four stages too high pitched. Fire is a perennial winner - particularly if it's with purpose - cookig something for example. And again keep in mind simplicity.

The first few I did for general clients I lugged bow drills, ferro rods, flint n steel, fire pistons etc and various natural tinder to process. What 'won' - ferro rods and some cotton wool. Some skill required, but low failure level - so kept everyone interested. Grabbed everyone from 6 to 60 years old. Having used ferro rods for decades I had simply forgotten what 'magic' they seem to many people.

A few tried the bow drill - but 2 hours fly by and it was simply too complicated for brief attention span situations.

Keep it fun, keep it snappy, keep it simple - and try not to set fire to too many kids ( thankfully never happened to me, nope absolutely not, just saying it could happen, but definitely never even seen anything like that.... ) Enjoy!


Mar 20, 2012
Brighton, UK
In that case, fire making in all its guises. Maybe demo some alternate methods (you get some good 'oohs' from showing kids glycerine/potassium), then get them to try some of the easier stuff (maybe ferro rods).

Theres a craze amongst kids at the moment for elastic band bracelets, maybe exploit that and show them how to make a cord bracelet etc.


Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 28, 2014
Can you not even burn one of them as a safety example? Health and safety really tries to sap the fun out of everything these days


Dec 18, 2009
I run 1.5hr and 3hr sessions pretty much daily. I support the 'doing it for a purpose' ethos, set a scenario. Need water? You're looking at nettle cordage, knife skills, water filtration and fire lighting. A bit much for 2 hours but you get the idea.

Are your two sessions with the same group?


Full Member
Jun 6, 2004
Hair burns real quick ... allegedly. Though never ever seen it, nope it wasn't me.... er is everyone clear on that?