Ahhh, summertime. The carefree days of the season are in full swing for the kids, but that doesn’t have to mean chaos and unstructured activities for the whole family. If you’re a survivalist, you probably aren’t letting that happen anyway.
If you’re thinking about adding more educational aspects into your family’s lineup of activities, summer is a great opportunity to practice survival skills that they’ll carry with them throughout their lives.
Not sure what to do as a family? Here are a few fun suggestions:
Let’s Go Camping!
Camping takes work, but it’s also rewarding, educational and entertaining. Pick a good weather weekend, but be prepared to handle any type of weather Mother Nature may throw your way.
Teach the kids how to gather wood, build a fire, look for native plants, identify animal tracks, go fishing, play outdoor survival games, and learn how to make a shelter. Maybe just pick a few activities the first time around as not to overwhelm them. Save other skills for the next outing.
One of the first things you could teach them is how to make a shelter if they get lost in the woods. Teaching a child how to build a makeshift tent is a life-saving skill that may come in handy.
There are many methods of building something to hunker down in, so you’ll probably have to research it more and watch YouTube videos for ideas. But with small timbers, duct tape and a poncho, you could make a simple shelter. Or you could construct a more rudimentary shelter like the one below:
The Shooter’s Log suggests turning shelter building into a game/competition they dubbed “Shelter Skirmish” where you see who can make the best shelter from the objects on hand. First, you’ll will need to know the basics about the different kinds of shelters you can make, such as lean-to, natural and teepee shelters.
Food Growth and Preservation
There’s a sense of pride that goes into growing your own food because you’re being self-sufficient while others are going to the grocery store to get there veggies and herbs. Survival gardens are different than regular veggie gardens because the focus is more on foods that will store well and are calorie dense.
Start small by growing a half dozen or so things to see what grows well. You don’t need much space for a garden. At first it’s all about practicing. There’s always a learning curve with a new survival tactic. The better you become though, the more prepared you’ll be during a crisis.
Some of the veggies that store well throughout the winter are: potatoes, beets, carrots, parsnips, corn, onions, and beans. If you want to have enough bounty to last through the winter, learning how to store those crops will be an important part of the process. You’ll also probably incorporate canning, freezing and drying methods.
From there, you’ll start figuring out how much each person would need to eat on a daily basis and how many calories the foods contain. Sunflower seeds and peanuts are good sources of fat and have more calories than veggies.
You never know if you’ll have access to a power source after a disaster. It’s important to be able to survive and thrive with limited to no access to electricity and usable water. This summer, practice energy conservation and learn how to perform daily tasks without conveniences we take for granted.
Solar panels with battery storage capabilities provide power to your home in the event of a power outage emergency.
“Pairing a rooftop solar system with battery storage means you can charge the battery with your own panels instead of the power you buy from a utility — and the power can be replenished daily,” according to Vivint Solar. “Solar energy stored in a home battery not only gives you backup power in the case of an emergency, but the battery can also optimize savings for you.”
Not everyone can afford solar, but having a supply of flashlights and batteries on hand is important. There should be designated places for kids to find flashlights and batteries. Do they know what to do if the lights go out and how to get water?
You could practice with an off-the-grid weekend at home. Outdoor Life recommends setting up a theme around the weekend to make it fun and educational, such as “hurricane preparedness, 1800s house, or colonial times.” To be prepared you’ll need to have supplies on hand, such as water and lighting. You could also cover the importance of conserving water and energy in your daily life and how to be less wasteful and more resourceful.
With just these few ideas, you’re on your way to having an adventure-filled summer designed to teach life-saving skills they may need someday. Self-sufficiency comes in many forms; what does it mean to you and your family?
Avery T. Phillips is a freelance human being with too much to say. She loves nature and examining human interactions with the world. Comment or tweet her @a_taylorian with any questions or suggestions.