Kids & Teens Survival Skills

Survival for children should not only serve to prepare for an emergency, it also teaches children to assess and master the powers, dangers and challenges in the great outdoors.

 Teaching your children some simple survival skills will help them respond and act properly in an emergency. These skills are not only useful in an emergency, but also when the kids are engaged in other recreational activities such as camping, hiking and excursion on their bicycles and summer camps. This is particularly significant since rather rare are the opportunities to train children in  emergencies.

As a parent, however, it is important to know that your children’s lives are at stake and these skills are a worthwhile investment.

Learning about these skills makes sense and fun if you teach them to children in a playful way. Most children are also enthusiastic about putting together a children’s survival set as described later in this article.

This account is applicable take into consideration the age group from 5 years to 18 years and can be modified accordingly to suit the the parent.

It’s our belief that there are 8 Important Survival Skills To Teach Your Children / Kids / Teens :

(1)- How to Locate, Purify & Store water

Your child should learn  to find water , purify it and store for future use. Without fresh water you have a maximum of 3 days to live, so teaching your kids how they can find water should be goal # 1. 

As we all know, they can find it in rivers, lakes and wells. 

They can also find it by finding a stand of trees or brush that grows in a row alone in an open field, valley, or ravine. These plants seek water, grow where the water is closest to the surface. 

They need to learn, however, that the ingestion of raw water can cause various diseases, so it is necessary to  purify it, by boiling it for a few minutes, which can kill the micro-organisms present. 

Don’t assume they will understand how a filter works, or how to keep the “clean” end of the water filter sterile so that you have reasonably safe drinking water. An empty bottle, preferably made of stainless steel, should be included in the kit for cooking.They also need to know that the impurities exist and settle at the bottom of the pan.

(2) – How to Find Food

Finding the food source is another important technique your child should know. Teach your children to fish, to hunt chicken. and how to open canned food without a can opener. They should be familiar with these techniques, so that they can use these tips and tricks in survival conditions.

All of this survival stuff is hard work ! Maintaining your energy level is important; you will burn a lot more calories than you are used to burning. You won’t be sitting on a couch all day.

The thing about food is, if you don’t know what it is, don’t eat it! Contrary to popular belief, plants are not the best way to go in a survival situation. If you’re not sure what you’re doing, you could end up poisoning yourself for a measly 10 calories. Plants are very low in calories and it’s never worth the risk unless you are 1000% sure.

There are some food sources out there that are a safe bet, but if you don’t think it will be days or weeks to the rescue, you are better off forgetting to eat.

Any furry mammal is edible and will provide good nutrients, but catching them is a different story. Fish, and many insects, are also edible. You can eat worms too, but don’t expect them to taste good. In the forest, in the countryside, teach your children about berries that can be eaten, plants and mushrooms that are eaten, but also and especially those that are toxic. 

Be simple and only teach him things that he can easily remember and cannot go wrong.

A good option, especially with children, is to prepare a simple stick bread that only requires flour and water.

(3)- How to Build a Shelter

Building a shelter  can protect your children in emergency situations, such as harsh weather / temperature. So, they have to know how to build a shelter to survive. 

Teach them how to make a leaf bed to provide a barrier between the body and the soil so that the body temperature can be maintained at the right temperature during colder climates.

(4)- How to use a knife correctly***

Your children should learn to use a knife correctly. They must know the different types of knives and their uses, for example : knife net , skinning knife, hunting knife. Teach them the danger it can represent if it is misused AND the basic rules regarding usage, namely :

  • always close the knife when moving
  • do not put your fingers in the middle of the handle when folding the blade
  • never cut towards yourself.

They should know how to cut and bone the flesh; how to cut and peel fruits and vegetables; and these other techniques to cut things for various purposes without harming their body parts.

( *** More Details about PenKnives & Kids including recommended models can be read by visiting our website page at this link HERE. *** ).

(5)- How to build Fire, maintain it & protect yourself from it.

One of the most important parts of any survival kit are items to start a fire. Many adults struggle to start a fire without matches or a lighter, so what about a child? 

Teach the simplest basic methods. Put a firesteel in your pocket.However, many parents shy away from teaching their children how to use a simple lighter, or something more complicated like fire steel, or maybe some simple waterproof matches for little fingers that might have problems with a lighter.

Teach your child to collect the right branches and the right fuel to start and maintain a fire. Teach him/her to make embers to cook food. Teach him/her to extinguish it and not to set the whole forest on fire !

Be sure to teach your children the importance of personal safety and what the word “arson” means and that lighters and matches are not toys.

Be sure to teach your children the importance of personal safety and what the word “arson” means and that lighters and matches are not toys.

(6)- Orientation (How To Use A Map & Compass)

This is a fundamental skill of survival. 

A child must know how to use a compass and a map and know how to orientate himself. Ideally he should know the different points of interest in the region in case you are not there (or no longer there) to help him: i.e. summits, rivers, water points, roads.

Mark all known points that may be important, such as your weekend campsite, yourself on the map so that your children know exactly where they should go. Teach them how to identify landmarks and how to follow a straight line on hilly terrain and how to navigate to the safest destination. This technique will help them survive in emergency situations.

(7)- Fitness & Self-defence

Teach your child perseverance through physical education. Make him take long walks, a combat sport, but above all don’t give up on him, be with him behind him, listen to him. Be an example for him / her.

Self-defence is very important in teaching your children a condition for survival. They must know how to defend themselves against wild animals, aggressors, and other risks.

(8)- Basic First Aid and CPR

 First Aid emergencies are real; they do happen.  If a child finds themselves with an adult, their survival (and the adult’s) may be in their small hands.  First aid skills for kids really are really necessary !

Knowing they possess these skills, even if they never have to use them, will increase their self-confidence and their compassion for others. 

Let’s consider these 5 SKILLS.

[ Note that older children plus those old enough to take a first aid class) can, and probably should, learn more advanced first aid skills ].

However, every small child (from age 3-4 years upwards) can / should begin to learn the following :

(i) Calling for Help

In the US, kids need to know how to call 911. (Many other countries are 122 or 999.  I believe Australia is 000.)  This one skill alone is HUGE.  If kids can calmly call 911, the operator can often walk them through other things that need to be done.

Kids should know……

  • How to dial your local emergency number (with cell phones this includes unlocking the phone OR how to access the emergency call screen)
  • How to “send” (start/initiate) the call once they have entered the number (not needed for a landline, but with cell phones you often have to press “the green phone button” or something similar)
  • Their address and phone number (most emergency calls are made on cell phones which means the operator may not be able to find your location)
  • How to describe their location (This is useful if you are away from home at the time of the emergency. For example, I’m near a 7-11 at a big park with a pool.  I see a sign with the letters S-A-L-T-L-A-K-E).  Most of the time, the operator will be able to find a general location (city), but your child may need to give specifics to help them find your exact location.

Once your kids know these things, practice!  Make it a game…give out lots of praise, and make it fun!

Use a pretend phone to have them “dial,” then “answer” and ask:

  • What’s your emergency?
  • Where are your calling from? Where do you live?”
  • What’s your name?
  • Who needs help?
  • Is the person _________ (awake, throwing up, bleeding etc)?
  • Please __________ (raise their head, get an icepack, push on the owie with a towel, etc.)

(ii) Finding a First Aid Kit

All children in your home should know where to find a first aid kit. If local adults come to help before an ambulance arrives, your child can show them where to find live-saving supplies.

As your children grow, you can teach them what the various supplies are for (maybe by “playing doctor”) and how to use them.

(iii) Control the Bleeding

Severe bleeding can quickly become life threatening, and even young children can find a clean cloth and apply pressure (push on the owie with the towel).  Make sure they know NOT to remove the towel, but that they can add another on top of it if necessary..

(iv) Family Specific Emergencies

If someone if your family has a severe allergy, everyone (including children) should know where to find and how to use an epi-pen.  Does anyone have diabetes or epilepsy, etc.?  What do your children need to know in order to help those family members?

(v) Hands Only CPR

Saved for last because very young children may be able to understand the concept behind hands only CPR, but not be big enough or strong enough to perform it.

But even young kids may be able to do more than we think they can with adrenaline running through their bodies.  An older child (7+ years old) can likely perform hands only CPR.


So, this has all been about the 8 best skills you need to teach your kids for their survival. In addition,  you can also teach them how to cook, sew, treat wounds, call for help, use the GPS function of a cell phone, swim, climb a tree, how to fish, how to hunt , and other techniques to learn more skills.

All of these tips will help your children fight the emergency and dire conditions and they will be able to protect themselves and survive.

Oh! There’s just one final important matter to bring to your attention …………..

Would you like your child / children to know and learn how essential Life & Survival skills so that they could save hundreds of lives in the future just like Tilly Smith did on 26th December, 2004 when she was only 10 years of age ?

If so, follow this link to read more details including why and how Tilly was able to save so many lives on that fateful day.




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