Anyone who has been camping with kids knows that when they get into the woods their imagination runs free. Children are ready to perceive information with an open heart. Just provide them with a debris hut that you build together and it will quickly become their castle where they can play and fight the enemies. Without a doubt, camping is fun, but did you know it is also a great opportunity to teach your kids critical survival skills?

As one of the oldest and most famous traditions, camping is where you can start explaining many survival skills like how to create a shelter or to find your way in the forest, start a fire and stay safe in the wilderness. This article will show you how.

4 Major Survival Aspects of Camping

As a rule, there are four main survival aspects that are usually mastered by the youngsters who go camping along with you or become a part of the boy scouts or similar youth organizations. Regardless of your location and the length of the camping trip, it is vital to explain all the precautions and the safety measures of doing things right.

Making and Managing a Fire.

Knowing how to start a fire is one of the most important aspects of survival in the wilderness as you need to get dry and warm. While it is often shown in the movies as something simple, it is not always easy for the young ones since their movements are not yet mature and well-coordinated.

Teaching your children how to build and tend a campfire also includes keeping it under control. Make sure that you explain how to avoid burning down the surrounding area when one needs to send a signal by making the fire noticeable.

Building a Shelter

Even though you will bring along a good tent that already has poles and pegs to set things up, it’s a great idea to teach your child how to build a shelter on their own in case of an emergency or how to look for a safe place to hide when the weather is getting dangerous.

Along with shelter, explain the ways to retain one’s body heat because building a shelter when you are feeling tired and hungry is even more difficult. Therefore, one should start early when one is lost because the weather can change at any moment and it quickly gets dark. Remember to mention building a safe shelter in hollowed trees, or caves, and explain how to use tree branches.

Practicing First Aid

If there is anything that you should teach your kids to let them survive and help others, it is the set of first aid skills. Start with explaining how to treat a cut or deal with a serious wound. Do not forget to mention what SHOULD NOT be done because the children often make decisions that are not so obvious and clear to adults. Explain the first signs of hypothermia and heat exhaustion. It is good to start with pictures and examples to explain what must and can be done before a real doctor arrives.

The Art of Navigation

While there is no universal survival pattern since it will always depend on where you are, it is still important to learn the basic direction skills and working with a compass or a map that would explain where one must go. The safest way to start learning is to organize a short hiking trip to teach your child how to find a specific location and go back by using a compass or a map. Of course, it is not the same thing as GPS or Google Maps, learning things the old way is what will help to save one’s life!

10 Camping Tools That Can Teach Your Kids Critical Survival Skills

Therm-A-Rest Trail Scout This is one of the best self-inflating camping pads that can be a great support for the younger campers. It comes with a personal stuff sack and can be carried along during any camping trip.

Midland Walkie Talkies These handy devices are powerful enough to send radio streams a few miles in case someone is lost. Teaching your kids navigating their way with the map is important, yet we should remember that modern children enjoy some technology in their lives, so a good way to teach them using Walkie Talkie.

Midland - LXT600VP3, 36 Channel FRS Two-Way Radio - Up to 30 Mile Range Walkie Talkie, 121 Privacy Codes, NOAA Weather Scan + Alert (Pair Pack) (Black)
  • LICENSE FREE DUAL POWER OPTIONS 2-WAY RADIOS - These walkie-talkies feature 36 FRS (Family Radio Service) channels, along with channel scan to check for activity. Dual Power Options uses rechargeable battery pack (included) or 3 “AAA” batteries (not included)
  • UP TO 30-MILE RANGE - Longer range communication in open areas with little or no obstruction
  • 121 CTCSS PRIVACY CODES - The Continuous Tone-Coded Squelch System gives you up to 2,662 channel options to help block other conversations. Use silent operation to turn off all tones
  • NOAA WEATHER SCAN + ALERT - NOAA Weather Scan will automatically scan through 10 available weather (WX) band channels and locks onto the strongest weather channel to alert you of severe weather updates. NOAA Weather Alert will sound an alarm indicating that there is a risk of severe weather in your area
  • INCLUDED IN THE BOX - Radios (x2), Belt clips (x2), rechargeable battery packs (x2), Desktop charger, AC Adapter, Owner's Manual

Brunton Glow Compass It is one of those pieces of camping safety tools that you simply cannot survive without. It is the best way to teach the youngsters about finding relevant directions and explain general geography rules. Most importantly, it is small enough and has a flashing light that the children will love since it glows in the dark. It has a great metal loop that makes it possible to attach it to a child’s belt or a backpack. Even if it gets dropped, it will instantly start to glow, so it can be noticed in the tall grass.

Brunton TAG-Along 9041 Glow Compass, Multicolor, One Size (F-9041-OR)
  • TAG-ALONG 9041 GLOW COMPASS
  • TAG-ALONG 9041 GLOW COMPASS
  • TAG-ALONG 9041 GLOW COMPASS
  • TAG-ALONG 9041 GLOW COMPASS
  • TAG-ALONG 9041 GLOW COMPASS

Geocaching Kits. The chances are high that your youngsters have already heard about geocaching. It is another way to teach your kids how to survive with the help of modern technology. Start by turning it into a treasure hunt and implement various navigation rules as you go. Since one can add smartphone use, it will help even those kids who cannot imagine their days without sending some message or posting an Instagram picture every five minutes.

You can also consider the Garmin Etrex10 device that will be suitable for kids as it has topographical data already installed with the time and distance estimates.

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Garmin eTrex 10 Worldwide Handheld GPS Navigator
  • Rugged handheld navigator with preloaded worldwide basemap and 2.2 inch monochrome display
  • WAAS enabled GPS receiver with HotFix and GLONASS support for fast positioning and a reliable signal
  • Waterproof to IPX7 standards for protection against splashes, rain, etc.
  • Support for paperless geocaching and Garmin spine mounting accessories. Power with two AA batteries for up to 20 hours of use (best with Polaroid AA batteries)
  • See high and low elevation points or store waypoints along a track (start, finish and high/low altitude) to estimate time and distance between points

Signal Mirror. As long as you remain in a sun-filled environment, using a simple mirror is an important survival kit since it can easily spread the light for miles. Since it needs no power or batteries, it can be used basically as much or as often as you would like. Remember to explain the light signals to your child so they can choose a particular rhythm or even an actual message to help the rescue teams see that it was not an accidental flash of light.

Best Glide ASE Compact, Military Grade, Stainless Steel, Emergency Signal Mirror (2 pack)
  • The Best Glide ASE Compact Emergency Signal Mirror is a durable, compact, metal signal mirror that won't crack like the plastic or acrylic mirrors. Furthermore, the Stainless Steel construction is more reflective than the plastic or acrylic mirror.
  • The Best Glide ASE Compact Emergency Signal Mirror utilizes a hole in the center to aim your reflection. It also includes instructions printed on the back.
  • The Best Glide ASE Compact Emergency Signal Mirror measures approx 2 x 1.5 inches and weighs less than 1 ounce. It is small enough to fit into your wallet, coin purse, or pocket.

LED Flashlight and Signal Light. The younger children will always appreciate something that can act as a torch and glows in the dark. It also has both positive and negative aspects. For example, the rescue teams will be able to find a child much easier if he or she has a LED torch or a flashlight of some sort. The problem is that the batteries can run low and the light will eventually get weaker. The practical solution would be to use LED-based lights and take another set of batteries just in case as a part of the basic survival kit. 

GearLight LED Flashlight - Bright, High Lumen, Battery Powered Tactical Flashlights for Emergency, Camping & Outdoor Use - S2000
  • Bright - With a solid build and powerful brightness, the S2000 delivers up to 1200 real lumens. Its ultra-wide beam effortlessly illuminates a whole room or backyard.
  • Adjustable - The multiple modes on this super bright flashlight replace the need for multiple flashlights, and the adjustable zoom spotlight feature allows you to focus in on small objects up to 1000 feet away.
  • Durable - Rain and snow will roll right off this water-resistant aluminum flash light. It's strong enough to survive a 10-foot drop or being temporarily submerged under water.
  • Battery Powered - This compact tactical flashlight can be powered for hours with 4 standard AA batteries. (Batteries not included).
  • Multipurpose - Equip yourself with one of our quality handheld flash lights for use around the house, walking the dog, hiking a trail, or camping in the woods.

Emergency Whistle Also known as mountain whistles, they can produce loud sounds without forcing the youngster to blow really hard when and if they are weak or tired. It is also way more efficient than shouting. As you are looking for a good emergency whistle, remember that they also come in handy sets with signal mirrors and fire flints.

LuxoGear Emergency Whistles with Lanyard Safety Whistle Survival Shrill Loud Blast for Kayak Life Vest Jacket Boating Fishing Boat Camping Hiking Hunting Rescue Signaling Kids Lifeguard Plastic 2 Pack
  • SUPER LOUD survival whistle: double tubes emergency whistle, high pitched powerful noise maker with dual sound chambers, can provide up to 120 decibel dB sound power, enough to be heard over a mile away. Cannot be overblown, works great as signal whistle.
  • PEALESS DESIGN means no moving parts, nothing to obstruct sound, and nothing to jam, break or freeze. Lightweight and fail safe works well in any conditions with excellent airflow design. Comfortable mouth grip, won't stick to lips like METAL ones in cold environments.
  • ADJUSTABLE REFLECTIVE LANYARD and CLIP, high visibility even in the dark with slider button to adjust length around neck, long lanyards can easily loop through backpack, sailboats, hike gear, life jacket, kayak PFD, paddle board. You can also clip the whistle to your belt or shoulder straps for quick and easy use in case of emergency.
  • SUPER DURABLE high impact ABS plastic construction ensures strong durability and complete waterproof moisture resistance. Premium quality whistles to carry for life safety, camping, hiking, hunting, fishing, swimming, boating, kayaking, marine sporting events any kind of outdoor activities, also for dog training.
  • EASY-TO-REACH SERVICE, every purchase includes our worry-free warranty and lifetime support. If you have any questions, our friendly customer service team will be more than happy to help out.

First AId Kit Although it may not always be of much use for a young child, it is recommended to teach your child to have it present in any case.

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First Aid Kit - 100 Piece - Small First Aid Kit for Camping, Hiking, Backpacking, Travel, Vehicle, Outdoors - Emergency & Medical Supplies
  • EQUIPPED to suit your needs and optimized for a large variety of injuries and having all the 1st aid items gathered ahead of time will help you handle unexpected moments (includes CPR Mask, Bandaids, Blanket, Tourniquet and more). Trusted by families, lifeguards, parents, students, teachers, nurses, doctors, EMT's, construction workers, truck drivers and professional business offices.
  • DURABLE & COMPACT (7.5" x 5.2" x 1.5"). Easy to carry and lightweight, yet holds all the essential supplies (100 pcs with great shelf life, refill when necessary). It has just the right pocket size so it fits anywhere in your RV, atv, yacht, boat, jeep, bike or motorcycle.
  • TAKE THE FIRST STEP TO PREPARE for any situation that may arise. Make sure you store it in your bug out bag, backpack, car glove box, baby diaper handbag, purse or med cabinet for quick access. Recommended for most daily use or survival adventures: Workplace, School, College, Kitchen, Road Trips, Fishing, Hunting, Boating, Wilderness, Kids Playground and more.
  • HIGHEST STANDARDS. Manufactured with the finest equipment in a modern facility, you can be sure of first-aid contents that will not let you down (especially if you live in Earthquake Prone Areas or exposed to other natural disasters like tornadoes, hurricanes or flooding).
  • Total commitment to make YOU HAPPY & Satisfaction Guarantee. If you don't absolutely love it, simply contact us and we'll make it right.

Duct Tape Since it is one of the most versatile camping tools that you may have without taking too much weight, it can be used to repair anything, build a shelter when you need to connect something together and it is one of those tools that can stick something together when you need to cover a hole or repair a broken plastic bottle to collect water from the nearby stream.

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Gorilla 3044401 Tape Handy Roll, 1-Pack, Black
  • Convenient for on-the-go repairs; it packs a powerful grip in a portable size
  • Great for smaller repairs or projects. It is made to stick to rough, uneven, unforgiving surfaces. Can also be used for clamping surfaces together.
  • Double-Thick Adhesive; Grips smooth, rough and uneven surfaces
  • Tough, Reinforced Backing; The tight weave contributes to the heft, but Gorilla Tape can still be ripped by hand
  • Rugged, Weather-Resistant Shell; Withstands moisture, UV rays and temperature extremes

Emergency Survival Blankets. Mylar survival blankets come in all types and sizes but a Survival Bivvy can be used as an emergency sleeping bag. It is also essential for keeping warm in situations when you can barely move. Teach your children to stay in their emergency sleeping bags if there is no obvious danger until they are found by the rescue teams. They also retain body heat.

Go Time Gear Life Bivy Emergency Sleeping Bag Thermal Bivvy - Use as Emergency Bivy Sack, Survival Sleeping Bag, Mylar Emergency Blanket - Includes Stuff Sack with Survival Whistle + Paracord String
  • STAY WARM AND ALIVE IN EXTREME CONDITIONS: The Life Bivy emergency sleeping bag serves as your emergency blanket, survival shelter, and emergency bivy sack all-in-one. Engineered for emergencies and survival, you have the ability to call for help using the 120-decibel survival whistle and the bright orange color alerts rescuers. Perfect for your bug out bag, survival gear, car survival kit, or bug out gear, the Life Bivy is an essential tool to ensure you stay alive in an emergency
  • PATENT PENDING PARA-SYNCH TECHNOLOGY PARACORD DRAWSTRING & SURVIVAL WHISTLE: The 120-decibel emergency whistle cuts through wind and trees alerting rescuers up to 1-mile away. The 550lb nylon core patent pending Para-Synch Technology drawstring can be used to secure or repair gear, build an emergency shelter, or start a fire. In a survival situation, your tools and skills are the difference between life and death. The Life Bivy's multi-functional stuff sack stacks the deck in your favor
  • EXTRA-THICK TEAR AND PUNCTURE RESISTANT MATERIAL: Your ultra-lightweight emergency bivvy survival sleeping bag is constructed of 26um extra-thick mylar material with a tear and puncture resistant coating so it stands up to extreme conditions. Your Life Bivy is durable enough for repeated uses so it can be folded up and placed back inside the waterproof Nylon stuff sack for your next adventure
  • PROTECTION AGAINST RAIN, WIND, & SNOW: Your waterproof and windproof survival bivvy bag is made of extra-thick tear & puncture resistant polyethylene material with sealed seams locking out harsh weather to cover & protect you in the worst conditions. The reflective interior of the Life Bivy emergency sleeping bag protects you from hypothermia and keeps you warm by reflecting 90% of your body heat back to you
  • ULTRA LIGHTWEIGHT & COMPACT: Small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and weighing just 4.1 ounces, the Life Bivy survival sleeping bag comes rolled up inside a durable waterproof stuff sack so you can store it nearly anywhere. Toss Life Bivvies in your hiking pack, go bag, bug out supplies, and glove box so whether you’re trapped in your car during a winter storm or forced to spend an unplanned night outside, you’re ready for the harshest conditions Mother Nature throws at you

The Art of Noticing Things

Also known as situational awareness among survival specialists, it is one of the most challenging parts to master. In simple terms, your task is to teach children to notice things and survive in an emergency situation. Starting with the development of an instinct to learning how to cope with panic, you should explain that no camping tools or popular gadgets can be as important as knowing how to stay calm and level-headed when facing a critical situation.

The best way to approach a younger person is to explain that panic often leads to wrong decisions and unnecessary risks. Middle-school-age children will appreciate your questions as you ask them about what they have noticed. The role-playing will also be useful to analyze various scenarios together with relevant explanations and questions.

Speaking of water, remember to instruct your kids not only about how to find water but explain the basic water purification techniques in the wilderness. Show them how water can run downhill and direct them to various spots where they can notice little streams or pools. At the same time, teach them to watch the animals as the majority of them will always seek water sources.

Finally, remember to build the child’s confidence by praising their achievements and support them according to their age and skills. Take camping trips regularly and do not forget to keep things fun. If your child is inspired and learns something in a calm, yet demanding environment, it will re-create the real emergency situation in a much better way!

Author’s bio. Jessica Fender is a professional writer and educational blogger at EssaySupply, an aggregator for useful college resources and websites. Jessica enjoys sharing her ideas to make writing and learning fun.