10 Survival Skills That You and Your Children Should Know

Updated on December 6, 2018

First a True Story

Hurricane Florence destroyed my home on the evening of September 13, 2018. From then until October 17, 2018 my fiance and I were homeless.

This information isn't from someone who signed up for something just to prove themselves. And it isn't from someone sitting in their mother's basement watching other people do it all day. This is from someone who was not as prepared as they thought they were, and thrown into a bad situation by the fury of nature.

Please don't think that you can make a fire just because you have some matches, and please don't think that you won't be thirsty because you have a case or two of water. Be mentally prepared and physically prepared to be able to effectively get yourself and your loved ones what they need. What you have will fail. What you have will run out eventually. And what you have will be stolen if you don't have it secured.

Practice being able to perform the items on this list as often as you can. Include your children and loved ones so they also know how to perform them as well. I wish that I had.

A Little About Security

Security isn't that gun that you've proven you can shoot the p*cker off of a mosquito with from two miles away. Security also isn't that knife that Rambo himself would be jealous of. Where are they when you wake up in the middle of the night with a hungry man's gun pressed to your nose? Useless. And probably not yours anymore.

Security is a state of mind. It's a full time job. It doesn't have to be expensive, and in a lot of cases it doesn't even need to be physical.

Start Small and Work Your Way Up

  • Magnetic alarms and party poppers can be bought from the Dollar Tree. They make pretty effective tripwires when they are rigged up in a walkway with some fishing line. Mouse and rat traps can be rigged up to set off caps and shotgun shell primers with just a little more work.

These simple noise making security measures don't seem like much. If someone is trying to sneak up on you to steal something from you, or worse, the noise lets you know exactly where you are. It also might make them think their priorities real fast.

  • Any animal will take the path of least resistance. Humans are no different. Learn how to use objects like tree limbs or trunks. vehicles, appliances, and even terrain to funnel them into an area where they meet you on terms that are the most favorable to you. Or use them to create a funnel right into the tripwires we just created.

Just think. Security is all about trying to make your situation better against something or someone that is trying to make it worse. It's the first and most important on my list because what good are the other nine things to learn if you can't protect them.

Teach your children about strangers and people that they can and cannot trust.

Practice Making Fire

Practice being able to make a fire in any conditions. Don't go set the woods or your neighbor's house on fire. Go out and try to light a fire in your grill in the rain, or in 30 mile per hour winds,.or a blizzard. Use different methods like lighters, matches, flint and steel,or a ferro rod.

Try using different fire extenders as well. Wax, lip balm cotton balls, vaseline cotton ball, hand sanitizer, and rubbing alcohol all are good ways to make the initial spark or ember last a little longer to get tinder to catch on fire.

Teach children how to collect and prepare tinder, kindling, and fuel and about fire safety.

How to Find or Make Shelter

Finding a shelter is a lot trickier than making one in my opinion. The only requirements would be that it isn't inhabited already by people or animals, and that all possible entrances could be secured.

Practice making shelters out of various items around you. If you live in a wooded area, I'd start in the woods.Logs, tree branches, pine boughs, leaves , and moss can be used to build a structure that will keep you out of the elements.

If you live in a more urban environment though, and can't find a shelter, you are going to have to be creative in what you build your shelter out of. A few pallets with a tarp stretched over them would do for a little while.

Children will have fun learning how to build shelters. It's like building a big blanket fort outside.

Practice Filtering and Disinfecting Water

The portable filters, and purifying tablets are nice, but it doesn't matter how many you have they are going to run out eventually. Learn and practice ways of making carbon filters with gravel, sand, and charcoal to filter out your water. Also, learn to disinfect with bleach, iodine, and U.V. rays for when boiling is not possible.

Showing children a filter in action could spur them into wanting to try to make one themselves. Watching cloudy water get filtered and come out the other end clear has a magical element to it.

Buy and Use Books About Wild Edibles

Wild edibles could end up a large source of your diet when other food supplies run out. You can't just start picking plants and leaves and eating them though. Buy books with detailed colored pictures, and use them to help you identify wild edible plants, and what parts of those plants are edible. DO NOT EAT ANYTHING until you are 100% certain you have positively identified it.

Make sure that you are 100 % confident in your abilities to identify safe plants to eat before you even begin to do it with your children.

Don't Go Hungry

Edible Wild Plants: Eastern/Central North America (Peterson Field Guides)
Edible Wild Plants: Eastern/Central North America (Peterson Field Guides)

This field guide is the best that I have found. I actually have three copies of it. It's highly detailed with both descriptions, and pictures that will help you find and identify wild plant food sources quickly and accurately.


Learn How to Make Traps and Snares

Traps and snares are very passive tools for securing food. You set them and they work for you while you do other things. Learn and practice how to make snares first because they are easier to master. Then work your way on to traps. When you are practicing setting up your traps and snares, trigger them with a stick after they are completed and disassemble them. These devices may seem simple, but they will kill and maim animals and people. Do not leave them set.

Practicing with traps and snares is a good way to teach your children caution and respect for nature. Have them help you collect materials and show them how they fit and work together.

Learn and Practice First Aid

I'm not saying that you need to go out and become an LPN or anything like that. Just learn some first aid basics like CPR and wound care. Then buy or make yourself a kit and practice with it.

Of everything on this list, this is probably going to be the easiest one to get your children interested in learning. They will think it's fun to operate on mom or dad.

Learn How to Keep Your Mind Occupied

Your mind can be your worst enemy when you get stuck in a situation like my fiance were in. It's easy to let it dwell on the situation that you are in and make it worse. Find tasks to keep yourself busy and concentrate on those tasks.

There isn't really a whole lot more that I can say about this. Every situation will be unique and I don't know what resources are going to be available to you. My best suggestion is to get a deck of cards, some dice, or a book or two to pass your time.

This is another instance when involving your children is going to be easy. Playing and being read to won't draw too much resistance from them.

Learn How to Navigate

There are things that could happen that could render your cell phone or GPS useless. Learn how to use a map or atlas and a compass together to find your way.

Children can be taught how to navigate with treasure hunting games. Hide or bury a treasure in your back yard or in the park and draw them up a simple map. After they have found the first thing, hide a second in a different direction. Teach them to use the compass and the map together to figure their direction. This will help you both practice at the same time.

Learn How to Sew

Knowing how to sew can be a very valuable skill to have. Clothing wears out, and gets damaged and if you know how to sew then you can repair it. I strongly suggest learning how to perform two or three different types of stitches for different types of applications and fabrics.

Use the curiosity of children wanting to know what you are doing to teach them how to sew. When they ask you questions about what you are doing show them.

Questions & Answers


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