5 Survival Skills Your Kids Must Know.
I’ve had no problem teaching my kids basic safety, running through fire drills, memorizing our names, address and phone number even when tiny. But I never let my mind wrap around the terrifying statistic that there’s a 50% probability that my kids and The Todd and I will be apart if disaster strikes–at work while they’re at school, perhaps. This is so scary that I secretly wondered if I could just quit, keep them at home with us ’till they were old enough to handle any contingency. Say, 40, 45…
Here’s the reality: the more we teach our kids. the better prepared they are for disaster. The better prepared, the higher the possibility that we all come out okay, and together.
How we teach our kids is equally important as what we teach our kids. If I’m worried and scared, that’s what they’ll focus on. But lessons taught with enthusiasm and a “how cool is that?” attitude will be learned in the same way. Let’s face it: when the Zombie Apocalypse comes, we all want our kids to be Daryl Dixon, am I right?
5 Survival Skills Your Kids Must Know
1. “I Can DO This!” Never underestimate the power of a confident kid. Everyone gets scared, but kiddos are more resilient and resourceful than we give them credit for. A steady diet of “I knew you could do this!” and “Excellent work, now what would you do?” get them thinking and moving on to the next step. If they’re ever forced to use this knowledge, those clever little brains will track back to what you taught them.
2. Water: The most crucial survival item. We keep water bottles in our kid’s backpacks for school along with their “bugout” bags and in the cars. If you have a route mapped for “bugout” plans, mark water supplies along the way. Include water purification tablets in the emergency kits. Teaching kids how to find water in nature is surprisingly fun. (Editor’s note: I used to love the cheesy old Westerns as a kid, where they’d be parched in the desert and come across a big fat cactus that would SAVE THE DAY.) There’s some great (and simple) tutorials here and here to watch with your kids, then practice on your own.
3. Food: Would your little people know how to find food? Would they know how to catch and clean a fish? Once again, never underestimate how important camping trips can be for teaching kids outdoor skills. The Todd just taught our 3 year old Zoe how to clean a fish (without touching the knife, obviously) she was fine with it, though ZoZo kept reassuring the fishy corpses that “you’ll feel fine in a minute.” There’s a couple of simple video guides for catching and cooking fish and small animals below.
Where to find edible plants? Are those berries okay to eat? There’s some great information that’s friendly in the book “Living Off the Land: Tracking, Building Traps, Shelters, Toolmaking, Finding Water and Food.”
4. Shelter: The hopeful thing here is that a decent survival shelter can be made out of nearly anything. Materials from a collapsed building, branches, logs, a tarp or a poncho. This is a fun one to do as a “challenge,” team up family members and see who can build the best shelter from materials at hand. There’s some good instructional ideas in the book “Shelters, Shacks, and Shanties: The Classic Guide to Building Wilderness Shelters (Dover Books on Architecture)” As far as they know, they’re “building forts.” Which is…actually sort of correct.
5. Building A Fire: Keeping warm, cooking food, building morale, signaling rescuers–all crucial. A good way to teach fire-building is with the A-F-I system: you’ll need air for the fire to grow, fuel to feed it and an ignition source. Lighters, flint, strike tins–always handy. There’s some simple patterns to teach from the book “The Outdoorsman, Complete Campfire Starting Methods (The Outdoorsman Series Book 1).”