Can Your Children Light A Match? Todays Sunday Skill

How to Light a MatchLast week I wanted to light a sugar cookie candle in the living room. I reached for the disposable candle lighter and it was out of butane. No biggie, I sent the 16 year old downstairs for one of the many boxes of matches stored and asked him to do it for me while I was doing something else. Then I heard something that sent me reeling into a mom failure mode: “Mom, how do you use these things?” My child did not know how to light a match!

Have you taught your kids how to light a match? Good ideas on teaching them here.


WHAT? How does a 16 year old not know how to light a match? But then I thought about it. As a young kid we never let him play with matches, right? And as he did learn to light things for me I always used these candle lighters. No one around us smokes. Where would he really have come in contact with them?

Then a disturbing thought came to me: if the world as we know it ends tomorrow they will find my sons starved carcass in a stocked panty with a mechanical can opener in his hand and his iPhone in the other as he waited for a signal so he could google how to use it. Which is why I am starting off a weekly meme on the blog called Sunday Skills. Today’s lesson was how to light a match.

Different ways to teach your kids how to light a match

We started with the kitchen strike anywhere type. Both boys were impressed to learn you can, indeed, strike them just about anywhere. We had them try different different surfaces and they quickly figured out the best way to do it. Then we moved to small boxes you get from a restaurant (or used to) and then the hardest ones, a matchbook.

We did this outside around our gas fireplace. We took the log’s out and had the gas turned off and we had the kids gather dry grasses and pine needles and wet branches and try to light each of them so they knew what would burn and what won’t. They already understood how to build a fire since my husband cooks with wood quite a bit but since we aren’t a camping family, they have never had to look for things in nature to burn. We discussed how they would build a fire pit outside if they needed to.

Am I wondering how many urban and suburban kids don’t know how to do this simple skill we all grew up with. Do your kids? If not, its Sunday….time to teach them a Simple Skill!

And while you are at it put together this simple pack for your 72 emergency evacuation bags. Old prescription bottles are perfect for storing enough matches for your Bug Out Bag’s.

Keep a supply of matches in your bug out bag



  1. How old should a child be to learn how to light matches?

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