It takes time for knowledge to sink in, and if you've got kids there's no better time to start training them to survive than right now. Just in case. Heaven forbid anything ever happens to me or my wife, I believe it's critical my kids know the fundamentals of survival so they've got a fighting chance. No matter what happens. Here's how I'm getting my kids ready to survive.
Starting and tending to a campfire
As Jeff likes to say in Survivor, fire represents your life, and in a survival situation that's definitely rings true. You need a fire for warmth, to purify water, to cook your food, and to keep and would-be predators at bay. I've taught my daughter how to safely start a fire using matches and newspaper, along with the striker and fire-making kit in her bug-out bag, and we've had many nights around the flames roasting sausages and smores, and making pine-needle tea. By making it a fun, family experience, your kids will learn through playing, which is the way it should be.
Taking them on a hike and a camp
Heading off into the wilderness on a hike is a great family activity, and getting your children involved in the preparations is a great way to get them thinking about survival. Start with a list and have them write down everything you'll need to bring, like food and camping supplies, as well as the tent and any bedding. Of course they may forget things on that first trip, but if you make them suffer without it for a day or two, I can guarantee you they'll never forget it again.
Pack their first bug-out-kit
Getting your kids involved in the process of setting up their own bug-out bag is a great way to teach them about the gear they need to survive, and get their mindset in the right place. Buy one of our tactical backpacks
, and have your kids list out everything they'll need to survive and help them to pack it. You may need to give a little guidance, the trick is to not just setup their bags for them, but to get them involved in the process and teach them how to properly use everything inside. Just in case.
Help them to grow a garden
When you grow vegetables from seeds it teaches your kids about the circle of life, and also instills in them the responsibility of looking after their. Plus, you could always teach them about the native plants in your area that are edible, and how to properly identify them. Oh and munching down on a salad of freshly picked herbs with vegetables straight out of the garden is incredible, and I've never been prouder when my little one brought me the first bunch of carrots she grew herself.
Teach them to fish and hunt
My kids are providers, and they've not even hit their teens yet. They'll pull in fish when we're down by the lake, and they're probably better at me when we're tying snares for rabbits and small game. When they're older I'll teach them to shoot, but for now I'm happy knowing that with a little gear they've got the skills they need to catch wild game, and to clean it and get it ready for dinner.
Join the boy scouts or girl guides
With the motto "Be Prepared" it's quite obvious that your kids are going to benefit from joining one of these organizations. I was a boy scout as a kid, and it taught me a number of outdoor skills that I've put to use time and time again, and it also helped me to form deep friendships that I still cherish 30 years later. Your kids will learn everything from wilderness survival to being a positive force of change in the community, while making friends along the way.
Teach them to read a map
Orienteering is a great way to teach your kids how to properly read a map, and to use a compass to orient themselves in the wild. Lookup orienteering events in your area, and bring your kids along. The first few times you'll need to go with them of course, but I was running alone through the woods by the time I was 12. You will need to be comfortable with your kids getting a little lost now and then, but if you let them take charge and find their way back again they'll develop confidence in their abilities and become more independent and able to survive.
Learning to defend themselves
One of the first things you'll learn in self-defense class is how to put up a fight, and that involves kicking, screaming and basically doing whatever it takes to get yourselves out of this situation. Unfortunately, far too many people train their kids to be quiet. Passive. To listen to their elders and do what they say. I'm the opposite. I want my kids to know how to throw a punch. To know that it's okay to say no when an adult tells them to do something wrong, and to be able to fight tooth-and-nail should they ever find themselves in a threatening situation. Put your kids into a self-defense class, and let them develop the confidence they need to stick up for themselves. Ultimately, I want my children to survive, no matter what. But not only that, my kids love learning so much that they simply eat up all the knowledge I can throw at them. It makes for a lovely bonding time when I can spend time with my family, doing things that I love, that will hopefully see us all better prepared for whatever disaster comes out way. No matter what, we'll survive.