While talking about fire safety with my children the other day, we got into a discussion about the science of fire.  My kids wanted to know just how does fire burn?  Here is a demonstration of what we learned. This simple fire experiment for kids can be used at home or in the classroom. Obviously, adult supervision is required!

Science of Fire - a candle set in play dough on fire set on a table - Kids Activities Blog
Let’s Learn About Fire Today!

Science of Fire: Learning with Kids

Fire is mystical to children. Therefore it is critical that children learn the importance of fire safety and that fire is not something to play with.  That being said, it was fun to learn about the science of fire in this simple experiment for kids.

Supplies Needed for Fire Experiment

Supplies needed for Science Experiment for Kids How does fire burn
This is what you need for our simple Fire Activity
  • a few birthday candles
  • some play dough to hold the candles in place
  • a small spray bottle of water
  • a glass
  • and, of course, matches

Related: Scientific method for kids <–grab the free worksheet

How Does Fire Burn? Conversations

I asked my kids to think about what they knew about fire.   Among many answers given, some included “It’s hot”, “Stop, Drop, and Roll!”, and “It burns up what it touches”.

These answers hit upon exactly what our experiment would demonstrate. Starting with a conversation before you approach any science experiment can help kids make educated guesses of what they might see and then follow through with what they got right.

We did three mini fire experiments to see what we could learn about in the kitchen…

Instructions for Fire Experiments

How Does Fire Burn - three steps for fire experiment for kids = water spray on candle, covering candle with glass and letting a candle burn to the wick
Three Different Ways to Explore Fire

Fire Experiment #1

We sprayed water on a burning candle.  The cool water turned to steam when it touches the flame thereby taking away the necessary heat that the fire needs to continuing burning.  Findings: If a fire is hot then fight it by making it cool!

Fire Experiment #2

Think about what happens when we “Stop, Drop, and Roll”.  We stop because running around would only fuel the flame with oxygen.  So instead we drop to the ground and roll around which essentially smothers the fire by removing the oxygen that it needs to burn.  We tested this by putting a glass over a lit candle.  The glass didn’t even need to be completely covering the candle to reduce the flame or even extinguish it.   Findings: If a fire needs oxygen to burn, then removing the source of fresh oxygen will quickly extinguish it.

Fire Experiment #3

A fire needs fuel to burn.  This fuel could be in the form of logs in a campfire, gas from a stove, or a simple wax candle.  We let one candle burn completely down and once the wax was gone the fire quietly went out on its own.  Findings: Don’t feed a fire!  Remove the fire’s fuel and it will no longer be able to burn.

Our Experience with this Fire Experiment

This was such a simple experiment to do with basic things we had around the house.  But to my kids, it was fascinating and an experiment they will not soon forget.

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  2. What a great tutorial. My boys are fire starters… I cannot tell you how many times I have caught them trying to make the “child safety lighter” work. And when I light candles in my house, forget about it. They are obsessed with blowing them out.

    This experiment would be right up their ally,