Survival Skills for Kids: 17 Survival Skills That You Must Teach Your Kids

Survival is not just for adults. It’s important that kids learn survival skills at an early age as well because you know you can’t keep an eye on them 24/7.

But what type of survival skills do you teach your children?

They probably don’t need to know how to craft a bow and arrow from a blade of grass to take down a raccoon but there are some essential skills that you can teach them.

In this post, you’re going to learn some of the essential survival skills that you should teach your children.

Survial Skills for Kids

Again, these skills aren’t anything crazy and they are just as important for kids as they are for you so don’t think you can’t get something out of these as well.

1. S.T.O.P

One of the worst things that you can do when you get lost is panic. When you panic you start to lose your senses and you end up in even worse trouble than you began.

This can, of course, be magnified with kids so it’s important they understand S.T.O.P.

What’s that?

Stop as soon as they realize they’re lost.

Think about the situation.

Observe their surroundings.

Plan what to do.


2. How to Grow Food

You might be thinking that your kid doesn’t need to start a farm but understanding the circle of life is an important part of any children’s education.

You can start off by simply growing herbs in the kitchen or even using some cuttings from onions to show them the basics of water and sunlight.

Even better if you have the room and time to start a garden of your own to grow vegetables along with them.

3. How to Preserve Food

We live in a world where we waste a lot of food simply because we don’t know how to preserve it.

Understanding how to grow food is great, but if you can’t make it last for a long period of time then you’re still going to find yourself in some trouble.

Understanding how to preserve foods without electricity can go a long way in not only survival, but understanding how to save money which can be just as important.

You can teach them how to preserve food by dehydrating it in the sun, canning by fire, smoking, salt curing or any number of other useful methods.

4.How to Identify Spoiled Food

When you’re trying to survive you want to make sure that you are putting things in your body that your body can handle. Nobody wants diarrhea in the wilderness, especially when it can lead to death.

It’s important that your child understand the signs of food that has gone bad. Plucking off pieces of mold shouldn’t make that chicken leg acceptable.

5. How to Forage and Identify Locally Edible and Medicinal Plants

This one can be a little challenging because we all live in different environments with varying plant matter but understanding what plants can be consumed or used for medicinal purposes can go a long way in any survival scenario.

There are ways that you can teach your child to identify plants in your region.

6. How to Hunt and Fish

Learning how to catch your own meal is one of the hallmarks of survival. Hunting for the purpose of survival shouldn’t make anyone squeamish and that’s why it can be important that you teach your children how to hunt with a set of tools. This can be a gun, bow, spear, or setting traps.

Learning how to fish is also a great skill to have even if you don’t live near a body of water.

7. How to Safely Use a Knife

One of the most important tools that you can carry around with you in any survival situation is a knife.

Understanding how to safely use a knife can be the difference between surviving and making yourself bleed to death.

Unfortunately, many of us spend most of our child’s lives teaching them that sharp objects are things they should stay away from. Teach your child that knives are tools that, when used properly, can help them.

Knife safety is of the utmost importance because while you don’t want your kids to randomly grab knives, you don’t want to feel secure knowing that they know how to use them.

Here is a great video showcasing knife skills:

8. How to Clean and Sharpen a Blade

A dull knife can almost be considered a useless knife. Understanding how to keep a knife sharp is a valuable survival skill. Your children should also understand how to keep a blade clean.

9. How to Clean and Prepare Fish and Wild Game

There is no point in learning how to hunt or fish if you can’t prepare what you catch. It’s important that your children understand how to humanely harvest the animals that they catch so that the animals don’t suffer and nothing goes to waste.

10. How to Start a Fire

There are a number of ways to start a fire. I’m always fascinated watching survival shows that showcase the many different resources one can use to start a fire.

Of course, the easiest is to have a source for a flame but sometimes that isn’t always an option and in those cases it would be great if your child understood the different tools they can use to get a fire going.

11. How to Find Water and Make It Safe for Drinking

You can’t survive without water.

Forget food. If you run out of water before you do food then there is nothing that is going to keep you alive. For this reason, your children should understand how to find water and make it safe for drinking because again, you don’t want them to end up curled into a ball on the ground.

Using something as simple as a lifestraw that is found in their bag can be the difference between life and death.

12. Make or Find Shelter

Shelter isn’t just something meant to keep you comfortable, it can be the difference between life or death. Keeping out the elements should be high priority for you.

This is why it’s important that children understand how to utilize their natural surroundings to their benefit.

You can teach them how to use sticks to make a lean-to or use tree branches for temporary shelter from rain.

Learning how to check for wildlife in a small cave or alcove is also important.

13. Basic First Aid

Let’s get one thing straight: everyone should know basic first aid.

It’s amazing how often you hear a story of a child saving their parent because they understand first aid.

14. How to Determine Direction

Unfortunately, you can’t keep a phone charged forever without electricity so it’s important that your child understand how to tell which direction they are headed in.

15. How to Signal

While your child might get lucky and randomly run into help, it’s always good for them to understand how to signal for help to give themselves the best shot at success.

16. Self Defense

They don’t need to know how to be a black belt but they should understand how to protect themselves when in danger.

17. How to Stay Positive

This might be the most important skill of all. Once you start being negative and feeling like there is no chance of survival then you might as well call it quits.

Helping your child understand that staying positive can be the difference between surviving one more day while help comes and giving up and just missing out.

Skills for Everybody

As you can see these really are skills for everybody to use but the sooner you’re able to teach your children these skills the better off they will be and the more comfortable you will be when you can’t keep an eye on them.

Don’t forget, it’s important that they also have a bug out bag ready for them in case of emergency.

Bug Out Bag Checklist: 10 Essential Items You Can’t Forget

In a perfect world you would have one of those fancy magic bags that allow you to keep an infinite amount of items but unfortunately, you don’t live in that kind of world so you have to rely on your bug out bag.

10 Essential Items for Your Bug Out Bag

While you can use any type of bag for your bug out bag, we prefer to have a bag that is made for situations like this. This is why we turn to the 5.11 Tactical RUSH72 Backpack. It’s designed by professional survivalist and built to last.

It contains special nylon with water repellant coating on both the inside and outside along with a foam back padded hydration pocket with two back-to-back zippered pull tabs.

While it’s not on the cheap end of the price scale, this bad boy will last you for a very long time.

Now let’s get to the items that you’d put into this bag.

1. Anti-Diarrhea Medicine

When you’re trying to survive your diet can change drastically. You might find yourself consuming things that you don’t normally consume and you never know what this is going to do to your body.

One of the worst things that you can get when trying to survive is a case of diarrhea. Clean water might already be in short supply so getting diarrhea will only exacerbate that problem.

It’s essential that you have something that will help fight diarrhea. You don’t need to go with anything, just work with something basic like Kirkland Signature Anti-Diarrheal.

2. Sewing Kit

You’ll definitely want to make sure you have a way to fix up any torn clothing or bags. A sewing kit is small and compact and does a great job of housing a number of items that will prove to be useful in survival situations.

Again, you don’t need to get anything extravagant. A simple sewing kit will do just fine.

3. Water Purification Kit

You’ll want to be drinking clean water out there because water can be one of those things that make or break your survival. Drink water with the wrong stuff in it and you end up laying on the ground in a fetal position in pain.

Thankfully, technology has afforded us the ability to bring along water purification systems that fit in a bag and act like a bottle.

The favorite of the Survival Don crew is the LifeStraw Survival Water Filter. It removes 99.9% of waterborne bacteria and parasites as well as filtering up to 1,000 liters of contaminated water.

It’s really the simplest way to ensure clean drinking water.

4. Bandana

Who knew that a simple piece of cloth could become such a vital component of survival. A Bandana can obviously protect your head from the sun and make it easier to breathe if you find yourself in a smoky situation.

It can also be used for first aid, water filtration and a means to carry items.

5. Bug Spray

When you’re out trying to survive you need to stay positive and that can be really hard when you have bugs chomping on your flesh. You also have to be wary of any diseases that a bug might have and for these reasons, it’s important to keep bug spray.

If you’re fortunate to be in a climate that doesn’t have bugs trying to eat you alive then this item might be replaced but trying to sleep with mosquitoes chewing you up is nearly an impossible task.

6. Emergency Radio

In the age of cellphones, it’s funny that a little pocket radio might be your key to survival. It’s important to be able to have access to news when you’re trying to make it.

It doesn’t hurt that from time to time you can play some tunes to boost your spirits.

7. Oral Hygiene

Besides a toothbrush and floss, you can get away with using an Oral Hygiene kit that not only has tools to help prevent cavities but also can be used for other purposes.

8. Change of Clothes

This one is pretty simply. You don’t want to leave with just the clothes on your back but you also don’t want to pack like your visiting all 7 continents.

It’s helpful if you find pack a set of clothes for the city and pack of clothes for nature. Sometimes it’s all about blending in.

9. Fuel-Free Lighter

10. Paracord

BONUS: TACT Mini Survival Kit

More Items You May Want

With just 10 items there is still room for more, but these are the 10 essential items we make sure we keep around. If you’re wondering what other items you might need for a 72-hour survival stint then check out our Comprehensive 72-Hour Survival Kit Checklist to Always Keep You Prepared for the Worst.

Comprehensive 72-Hour Survival Kit Checklist to Always Keep You Prepared for the Worst

You know that adversity can strike at any point and that’s why it is important to have a survival kit checklist handy.

The art of survival is the art of being prepared.

This is why every survivalist should ensure that they have a survival kit handy.

What goes in a survival kit, though?

This post goes through all of the items that you should have to prepare yourself for 72 hours of chaos.

The Comprehensive 72-Hour Survival Kit Checklist

One of the crazy things about being put into a situation where you have to survive is that you realize how frivolous a lot of the items in your life really are.

You might freak out today that your Wifi is acting up, but when the power is out and your Ben & Jerry’s is melting in the freezer your Wifi is one of the last things that you will think about.

This survival kit is all about having items that will get you to the next day because that is what survival is all about. Making it to the next day.

Food and Water

You’ve probably heard how you can go 3 weeks without food but you can’t go 72 hours without water.

Why is that?

The answer is pretty simple. Our bodies run on water and most of us have plenty of energy reserves stocked up in our systems.

Before we became carbohydrate gluttons, humans used to be fat-burners.

What does this mean? It means instead of making glucose (sugar) our primary source of energy, fat was our primary source.

In fact, there is a diet called the Keto Diet that replicates the diet that our ancestors used to enjoy.

Once your body enters a metabolic state known as ketosis its main energy source becomes ketones. Ketones are produced in the liver and they use fat as their fuel source.

Because your body can store way more fat than it can glucose, that means you already have a pretty decent supply of energy stock saved up.

However, if you aren’t consuming water then none of this works out at all.

You already know that your body is mostly made up of water but did you know that water is what helps your organs function and is what also helps to transport the ketones to different areas of your body?

With that small biology lesson behind us let’s look at the food items that you should always have in stock in case of an emergency.

  • Canned meat and fish. Ideally, you want the pop-top cans that don’t require a can opener but make do with what you can get. Beans are another options and when push comes to shove you can’t be picky.
  • Trail mix. A great source of protein and quick energy.
  • Dried fruit. Careful with the sugar content in dried fruit. Again, when push comes to shove you can’t be choosy, but too much dried fruit can wreak havoc on your insides along with causing blood sugar crashes more frequently.
  • Protein or granola bars.
  • Cereals. You might smile at this one thinking you can go back to your youth and load up on the sugary sweets but ideally you want to stay as healthy as possible.
  • A gallon of water per day per person. You might be thinking that you don’t even drink that much water now but you should. The rule is that you should be consuming between 0.5 ounces and 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight every single day.

As you can see you are looking to keep stuff that isn’t perishable or at the very least can last a long time. Although this post is about surviving for 72 hours you never know how long you will have to stretch it out.

Bedding and Extra Clothing

You might be thinking that you can survive with just the clothes on your back and you are probably right. However, you want to give yourself options since you aren’t used to living the survival life.

This means that you have bedding and clothing readily available to prepare you for most situations.

There are few things worse than going a night or two without decent sleep.

Here are some items you want to make sure you include in your kit:

  • Wool-blended blanket and emergency heat and reflective blanket
  • Sleeping bag and sleeping pads
  • Extra clothing (no, not the exact same outfit)
  • Rain coat or poncho. You never want to stay wet.

Personal Supplies and Medication

Some survivalists might consider these items luxury but the goal of survival isn’t too rough it as much as possible. It’s to keep yourself as comfortable as possible in extraneous situations.

That means you are ready to handle most situations.

If there are medications that you need to take daily or weekly then make sure you always have those handy.

Beyond that, you want to ensure that you have a first aid kit always available. You want to make sure you can handle situations where someone is wounded to lower the risk of further injury and infection.

Also, the better you can keep an eye on hygiene the better you will be at preventing sickness and disease, along with ensuring that you are keeping as comfortable as possible.

Here are some items you might want to keep handy:

  • First aid kit.
  • Toiletries like toilet paper, baby wipes, toothbrush, and feminine hygiene products
  • Cleaning supplies like soap, shampoo, etc.
  • Medication
  • Prescription medicine


We are starting to enter the area of nice-to-have items. Some people will consider these items as essentials but at the end of the day there is only so much you can have ready.

However, if you can include these items then you stand a better chance than others.

  • Basic tools you’d find in any toolbox
  • Can opener
  • Pocket knife
  • Dishes and utensils
  • Rope
  • Duct tape
  • Whistle
  • Cell phone charger
  • Crank radio
  • Pen and paper
  • Dust masks

Light and firestarters

These items go under the equipment category but because they focus on making sure you can see in the dark they get special recognition.

  • Flashlights
  • Extra batteries
  • Long burning candles
  • Flares
  • Lighters
  • Windproof/waterproof matches

Personal Documents and Cash

Now we are starting to get into spy movie territory. You know the part of the movie where the spy has to make a run for it so they open up their secret stash that has fake identities and cash in different currencies?

Well, you don’t need cash in different currencies or fake identities, but you should keep all personal documents with you. You never know (unfortunate as this sounds) when you need to prove your identity.

  • Legal documents like passports, marriage and birth certificates, contracts, leases, etc.
  • Insurance policies
  • Credit cards
  • Cash

The Kit

Now that you have all of these items ready you need to make sure you have a way to carry them easily and that usually entails finding a decent backpack.

If you have a lot of stuff then you might have to upgrade to a duffle bag.

The two most important things to keep in mind with this bag is that you can access it easily and you can carry it.

No point in doing all of this work if you can’t get it out the house.

Final Notes

So there are the items that you should try to have handy in case of emergency.

It’s important to keep in mind that you should update this kit every 6 months. You don’t need to replace everything but at the very least make sure to check that things haven’t gone bad or that your emergency clothes have gone out of style.

Divide the items into appropriate groups and whenever possible store them in Ziploc bags.