It's no secret that the world can be a dangerous place. From natural disasters to man-made emergencies, there are countless situations where having some basic survival skills can mean the difference between life and death. And yet, many people go through life without ever learning even the most basic of survival skills. This is especially true for children, who are often blissfully unaware or sheltered from the harsh realities of the world by their parents. But what happens when disaster strikes and Mom and Dad aren't around to protect them?
Here are four reasons why it's important for kids to learn survival skills:
Kids are natural explorers and survival skills give them the confidence to explore their surroundings.
Survival skills teach kids how to take care of themselves in an emergency situation, for example getting lost in the wilderness or caught in a natural disaster. These things are often unpredictable and so having your kids be prepared and confident in a scary situation can help not only them, but maybe even you.
Survival skills give kids a sense of responsibility, resourcefulness and independence.
Survival skills can help kids bond with family and friends, as well as build character.
Let’s look at some important skills that you can teach your children, and how to do just that.
Basic Survival Skills Every Kid Should Know
Teaching survival skills to children is an important part of providing them with the tools for success in life. Although it's not always easy to teach them, there are some easy ways to incorporate these skills in your day-to-day life, making it fun for you and them! These basic survival skills have the potential to help in dangerous or difficult situations, from fires and floods to a variety of other challenging scenarios.
To equip kids with the know-how they need, there are three essential survival skills that all children should acquire. Let’s take a closer look at why these skills are essential.
1. Situational Awareness
Situational awareness is an essential skill for staying safe in any environment. Knowing, or being aware of, your surroundings and being alert to potential threats can help keep you alive in a dangerous situation. This heightened sense of awareness is what helps someone remain vigilant and prepared for the unexpected.
Those who have a strong grasp on situational awareness can anticipate when danger may be present, enabling them to react quickly and efficiently if necessary. For example, if someone notices suspicious activity or a person behaving erratically in their vicinity, they can take steps to remove themselves from the situation before it escalates into something worse. Developing an understanding of situational awareness not only helps people stay alert during everyday activities but also equips them with the tools needed for survival during extreme circumstances.
As a note, this is not to entice fear in your children, just to help them be aware of anything that may harm them. You could call it a 6th sense.
Retaining Body Heat
Depending on the nature of the situation, whether indoors or outdoors, this might look different. If your child is in a situation where they are lost outdoors then the easiest way for them to stay warm and dry would be to find a place of shelter before it gets dark. This can be in a cave space or amongst bushes that provide good cover, which can help to prevent moisture from dew throughout the night, rainfall, and even predators.
If you or your child is caught in an emergency at home, like a flood or hurricane, without power or heating then the best way to stay warm is to layer up on the clothes.
A fun way to incorporate this into your child’s day-to-day life is to play hide and seek both outside and inside, rain or shine. Kids are generally already good at finding hiding spots that lead their parents to anxiety, so it’s worth speaking about why they chose that particular tree or cover to hide under, while pointing out if a space was good for hiding from bad weather or not.
Understanding how to determine cardinal directions, read a map and properly use a compass can be invaluable in the event of an emergency or unexpected situation. These skills provide not only direction, but also confidence in the outdoors so kids can enjoy exploring nature without fear.
In addition to learning traditional methods of navigation, modern technologies such as GPS devices or smartphone apps can be used by kids to enhance their outdoor experience. By familiarizing themselves with these tools and having access to real time data they will be better equipped for any unforeseen circumstances that may arise on their adventures. Teaching your kids these important life skills will ensure they are able to stay safe in any unfamiliar environment and confidently explore the great outdoors for years to come.
A couple activities to do that assist with teaching navigation skills are geocaching, or treasure hunts. Make up your own adventure in a park near you, in your neighborhood or even in your home. You can use coordinates or landmarks.
Identifying Poisonous or Edible Plants and Animals
Knowing which plants and animals are edible and which ones might be poisonous can be the difference between life or death in the wilderness. Teaching kids how to identify these things can provide them with a great advantage if they ever find themselves in an emergency situation.
Being able to recognize common toxic plants like poison ivy, mushrooms, nightshade, or hemlock can save someone from severe medical issues or even death in some cases. Similarly, knowing what animals to avoid such as snakes or other dangerous creatures could protect a child from harm if they were ever lost alone in nature.
You can prepare your kids by showing them images of safe and poisonous plants and talking through the properties of each plant or how different animals react. Another way to do it is to point out edible plants when hiking or walking with your kids. This way they also know what is available in their immediate area or environment.
Finding Clean Water Sources
On average, we can survive without water for up to 3 days, which isn’t very long. Therefore being able to find a clean water source is a very important skill for anyone to have. This not only applies to being in the wilderness, but also if you have experienced flooding in your area.
Luckily, there are several techniques that can be used to ensure you have access to clean water during an emergency situation. One common method is boiling any collected liquid; this will kill off any bacteria or other contaminants present in the water. If boiling isn’t possible, there are also filtering systems, like the Survivor Pure 10K which goes under the sink, or you can use the Survivor Filter Pro which is a hand pump water filter. Alternatively, there are tablets that can be used to purify contaminated water sources. Additionally, it’s important to remember that not all surface waters are safe; standing bodies of still water such as ponds should generally be avoided due to potential contamination from animal waste and runoff.
The best places to look for clean water sources in the wild include fast-running streams, rivers, and lakes—especially those located within valleys surrounded by mountains as they often contain fresher and cleaner sources than those found near large cities and population centers. Additionally, trees such as willow and birch often grow near fresh water sources so looking around these trees can help locate a potential source.
2. First Aid
First aid can be a matter of life or death, so it’s important for kids to learn what to do when someone has been injured or is ill. First aid is one key skill that every kid should possess. Knowing how to treat bruises, cuts, scrapes and burns are important steps a child should learn early on. Understanding injury prevention techniques can also help a kid stay safe while playing or exploring outdoors. Teaching kids about proper cleaning techniques will help ensure they stay healthy as well.
Kids should also assemble emergency kits like bug-out bags and supplies for natural disasters or emergencies, these include first aid kits so it is important for each child to know what is inside and how to use everything in there.
3. Basic Scout Skills
Scout skills include camping, backpacking, communication and DIY essentials like building a fire and shelter construction. Teaching your children basic scout camping skills can help them develop confidence while out enjoying nature!
Camping and Backpacking
Camping is not only fun but also an important part of learning how to be independent in nature. By teaching your children these essential skills early on they will become better equipped to stay safe while exploring outdoors. It’s important to start with easy activities like pitching tents before teaching more advanced techniques such as starting a fire or fishing with primitive tools.
Knowing how to build a fire is one of the most important scout skills for any age group. Fire building requires gathering dry tinder, kindling, and fuel logs before building it properly with either matches or a lighter and air flow. Once built correctly with care, children must keep an eye on their fire while they are camping out in order to make sure it doesn’t spread beyond their area.
Communication is one of the most vital elements of any kind of survival situation. For example, if a child is lost or injured in an unfamiliar area, they will need to be aware of how and when to contact authorities or helpers as well as how best to describe their situation accurately. Teaching kids progressively about various techniques such as loud yelling, whistling, and building fires can help them know which methods might work best in certain circumstances. Furthermore, teaching them phrases like “I am scared” or “Please help me” may come in handy if they were ever confronted by a stranger while alone outdoors.
Emergency phone numbers can also be included in your child’s emergency kit or bug out bag so that it is easily accessible for them.
Children are far more understanding than we often give them credit for, which means many things that they are taught in a fun way will often hold greater weight in the future. But it is our responsibility to ake sure they are prepared for the world!