How active are you kids over the summer break? Your kids may be enrolled in year around school, which means they most likely only get about 3 weeks for a summer break. Either way, summer break is a great opportunity to teach your kids some essential survival skills.
When teaching kids survival skills one key thing is to ensure you make them as fun and entertaining as possible. Most kids do not want to go to survival school during the longest break of the year. But with a little creativity you can teach them some skills that could be vital to saving their or your lives at a later time.
Here are 6 survival skills you can teach your kids this summer:
When I started a garden club for kids, I worried if they would act too rowdy and destroy the plants, if they’d give up, or if I’d end up doing all the work. As it turned out, even the kids who would rather play Xbox than run through a sprinkler love being a part of the garden club. They have pride in ownership, in being able to take something to their families’ tables.
Their way of doing things is sometimes silly, but I let them try. Last year, I broke a cucumber plant in transport. My son acted as though it was a wounded pet. I wanted to throw it out, but he said, “It’s sick. It needs to be tucked in.” He planted the cucumber, then used a rock as a pillow, and a leaf for a blanket. I was surprised when the plant took off and became one of the season’s best producers.
2. Managing Fire
Giving kids the ability to start and control fire is a powerful motivator. It might be one of the scarier skills to teach, but I’ve found that most kids learn a healthy respect for fire after the first time they scald a finger.
Teaching this skill takes a lot of patience. It’s hard for beginners to build a proper structure to start a fire, and they might have to do it two or three times before getting it right. Show them how the kindling and logs must be placed in a way that allows fire to draw in oxygen from all sides.
3. Outdoor Cooking
Why do all the cooking when the kids will do it for themselves? Once they’re used to managing a fire, the next logical step is learning to cook over it. If they’re not accustomed to cleaning animals, making “hobo bags” can be a first step.
Hobo bags are whatever meat and vegetables you have on hand, wrapped in tinfoil, and roasted over the fire. If you want to get creative, you can get kids to find wild onion for flavoring.
Teaching kids about shelter can be tricky. While most kids like the idea of roughing it, it’s easy to turn them away from outdoor living. The first few times out, make sure they are warm and dry enough to enjoy it.
Build up their confidence by taking walks after dark, to identify sounds they will hear during an all-night trip. A fun nighttime game is to give each kid a flashlight, and let them follow the bellows of a bullfrog until they find it. Usually, the frog will patiently allow himself to be viewed, at least briefly, before splashing away.
5. Water Collection
Water collection can be taught at any time, and at virtually any place. When the forecast calls for rain, challenge kids by creating a contest of who can collect the most water. Send them on a scavenger hunt to find baggies, plastic grocery bags, or other containers. Teach them different methods of hanging, spreading and half-burying containers to catch water, and let each one develop his or her own preferred way to catch water.
6. First Aid
Kids love the drama of playing on a mock rescue team. Invent scenarios that allow kids to administer first aid using on-hand materials. One child can pretend to have a broken leg, while the others make up an appropriate splint with sticks and torn-up pieces of an old shirt.
Each of these skills can be divided up and spread out over several weeks so that you child has plenty of time to learn the skills, and time to enjoy their summer so that they do not get burnt out with the learning aspect.
Have you taught your kids any survival skills?