How to Teach Your Kids About Survival

Lost-Woods

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Life
in the 21st century is pretty cushy. For many families, survival training just
isn’t a priority. Food comes wrapped in plastic, we have machines that make
sure the temperature is always agreeable and when it rains, we just head on
indoors and reach for the remote control to watch television.

With
all of these luxuries in place, it can be easy to get lazy when it comes to
basic survival skills. However, kids can still get a lot of value from learning
a few important outdoor survival techniques. It’s a good way to put them in the
mindset of caring for themselves, and it doesn’t hurt if they get a little fun
out of trying new things they’ve only seen in Hollywood movies.

Cooking Their Own Meals

When
you think about survival, this probably takes on the image of a squirrel
roasting over a pile of sticks. Your kids don’t need to get that extreme just
yet, but helping them take ownership of meal preparation when they get home
from school is a great first step and a way to introduce the
concept of self-reliance
. Maybe it begins with making a simple peanut butter and jelly
sandwich. Later on, you can teach them to cook over a grill or on a camp stove
in the wilderness.

Building Shelter

Creating
shelter is one of those skills that you can learn when you’re young and carry
with you for decades. Besides, what’s more fun for a child than finding just
the right materials and creating an
amazing fort
?
Basic shelters like a lean-to or an easy-to-set-up tent can make all the
difference in a wilderness situation where inclement weather or getting lost
leads to dangerous outcomes.

Of
course, your child shouldn’t be subject to this type of situation until they
are old and mature enough to set out on a wilderness adventure. However,
practicing their skills will make them that much more proficient when the day
comes. When your family goes on a hiking trip, take the time to get your kids
involved in building shelter. Eventually, these things will become
second-nature.

Finding Water

When
you’re lost in the wilderness, lack of water is a much deadlier situation than
lack of food. It only takes three days to die of thirst, so practice finding
streams and small bodies of water with your children — both when they do and
don’t have maps and GPS equipment. Just finding water isn’t enough, though.
Make sure you teach your kids you’ve got to
purify it

to prevent illness from dangerous bacteria.

Your
kids can learn to boil water if they’re old enough to use a basic camp stove. A
gravity filter is another solution that provides great output in terms of the
volume of clean water provided but doesn’t require
much effort to use
. Other methods include using purification tablets and learning to use
an altimeter to derive whether a stream’s height makes it likely safe to drink
from.

Making Fire

Of
course, there are certain qualifiers for this lesson. Not every child is ready
to jump into making fire, so let your kids grow into it. When they’re ready, it
can be a fun and interesting exercise for the whole family. There are plenty of
kits on the market that provide a flint knife anyone can learn to use fairly
quickly. It’s not just a matter of making a spark, though — you have to
understand how to correctly stack your logs and set tinder so that the fire
will breathe and burn clean. Extra points if you can learn to build one in
rain, wind or snow!

These
are just the basics, but as we touched on earlier, practicing these basic
skills will give kids a feeling of self-reliance and self-confidence they can
find pride in. Teaching your kids about survival gives them both a great set of
skills and fond memories of family time that will stick with them for years to
come.


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