17 Essential Survival Skills You Should Teach Your Child ASAP

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As a parent, have you ever considered a situation like this one?

If your child got lost in the wilderness, could he or she survive?

Do you think your child will have the skills to keep herself safe until she reaches for help or help reaches her?

Although you can never wish for your child to end up on her own, you never know when she might find herself in a situation where she has to survive on her own. In our today’s culture that is convenience-centered, parents rarely consider survival skills essential to their children.

However, since life is always unexpected, it’s always important to make your children prepared for anything.

Here are some of the essential survival skills your child should know.

Kids essential survival skills

1. S.T.O.P acronym

How do you think your child may act should you become separated for a while? For example, your child gets lost in the middle of nowhere while you are on a family camping trip. Do you think your child would run around aimlessly due to panic?

Since you don’t want that to happen, you should teach your child how to S.T.O.P. It is an acronym that is very essential.

  • Stop as soon as she realizes that she is lost.
  • Think about the situation.
  • Observe her surroundings.
  • Plan what to do.

Keep in mind that whenever you go to a place where it’s possible to get separated from your children, always have a plan. This should also apply to attending crowded venues with your child or children.

2. How to Grow and Preserve Food

It’s fun to have a garden that is filled with leafy vegetables. Everyone should know at least how to grow a garden. Growing a garden is an essential skill that event your children should know. The best way to teach your children how to grow food is by starting your own garden.

If all grocery stores closed down, people who don’t have any basic knowledge of gardening would find it hard to survive. By starting your own garden and teaching your children how to grow food, they will be able to experience the beauty of life by enjoying the fruits of their labor.

Your kids not only need to know how to grow food, they also need to know how to preserve it. This is because you cannot eat all your food at once. Since food goes bad very quickly, knowing how to keep it good for longer is an essential life skill.

Teach your children how they can preserve food without electricity. This is because in case your children get lost in their wilderness, their food preservation skills will come in handy.

3. How to Forage

How to Forage

In today’s society, most beneficial plants are now considered weeds. However, several plants are very safe and edible. There are some that have medicinal properties. Teaching your child how she can identify such plants is very important.

You can show your child such plants within your location. This skill may come in handy in the event that your child finds herself lost in the wilderness. Your child will have no problem foraging for edible plants.

4. How to Safely Handle and Use a Knife

Most parents always instill fear in their children when it comes to sharp objects like knives. However, you should not try to make your kids scared of handling knives. You should teach your children that although knives are sharp and dangerous, they can be very useful if handled properly.

When teaching your kids how to use knives, ensure you inform them of the dangers of grabbing a knife by the blades.

Next time you are out in the woods with your child, you can give her a small pocket knife so that she can put it in her backpack. You can also teach your child how to cut objects with a knife.

5. Cleaning and Sharpening a Blade

Safely Handle and Use a Knife

Knowing how to make a knife useful and sharp is also another important survival skill that your child should know. A dull knife is not that useful hence you should teach your child how she can sharpen a knife. You can teach your child how to use a sharpening stone to keep the blades of a knife sharp.

6. How to Keep Safe from Wildlife

Since we live in big cities and populated areas, we don’t talk or think much about wild animals. Yet, wild animals can be a real threat, more so if you find yourself on their turf. Teaching your child what to do should they encounter a bear is very important.

Look around and determine the type of wildlife that is common in your area. You should then teach your children what they should do if they encounter such wildlife.

7. Starting a Fire

Fire can be very important to your child if she finds herself stuck in the middle of nowhere in cold weather. You should teach your child how she can safely make a fire and how to be around the fire safely. If your child doesn’t know how to start a fire, in the event that she gets lost in the mountains and it gets cold, she may find it hard to survive through the night.

8. How to Cook

Kids Cooking

Still on the subject of fire, once your child has known how to make one, she may as well learn how she can prepare a meal on it. Although your child may already know how to cook at home, teaching her how to cook on fire can be lifesaving.

If your child gets stuck in the wilderness, there will be plenty of edible plants to cook and eat. She can also cook fish or wild game.

9. Finding or Making Shelter

You should teach your child that it is important for her to keep out of the harsh weather elements should she find herself lost in the wilderness. Finding shelter will be one of the main priorities. It’s also important to teach your child that if she can’t find shelter, then she has to make one.

You can teach your child how to make a shelter using sticks. Your child can also use tree branches as shelter from rain or a shade to keep herself cool. All these skills are essential in keeping your child from being completely exposed to harsh weather elements.

10. Performing Basic First Aid

Kids Basic First Aid

Knowing how to perform basic first aid is an essential survival skill that everyone should know. Your child is therefore not an exception. If you have ever come across stories where young children have always saved their parents’ life because they knew how to perform basic first aid, then you will understand why you need to teach your child basic first aid.

As a parent, you should never underestimate the power of teaching your child basic first aid. Your child can not only save her life but also save your life too.

11. Determining Direction

Knowing how to determine directions is also a very important skill that every parent should teach their child. Should your child get lost, she will need to know where she is so that she can know where to go to. Knowing how to tell direction is what could make the difference between your children getting lost or being found.

12. Self Defense

One of the things you should never forget to teach your child is self-defense. Self-defense is a survival skill that is not only essential for potential safety but also for your child’s wellbeing.

Although self-defense can take time to learn, teaching it to your child can be very rewarding. You will also have fun teaching your kid how to defend herself should she find herself in a dangerous situation.

13. How to Find Water and Determine if it’s Safe for Drinking

It’s possible for a human to go for days without food. When it comes to water, it’s a different story. Our bodies cannot go for long without water. You not only need to teach your child how to find water, you also need to teach her how she can make water safe for drinking.

Drinking contaminated water can make your child sick. If you have already taught your child how to make fire, you can then teach her how she can boil water over that hot fire.

14. How to Fish and Clean the Fish

How to Fish and Clean the Fish

Knowing how to catch fish is also an essential survival skill. Your children could get lost in the wild, so if you teach them how to harvest fish, they can get food from ponds in the wilderness. However, knowing how to fish is only half the battle. Your children should also know how they can cut the fish and clean it.

15. Self-Awareness

If your child is aware of her surrounding, she will be better equipped at handling or avoiding situations that might put her in danger. If you show your kid the things she should watch out for in different scenarios, she will always be ready to react. One skill you should emphasize on is listening, along with staying alert throughout.

16. Climbing Trees

Kids Climbing Trees

Should your children find themselves on their own in the jungle; they will be faced with a lot of threats and challenges. If they are faced with predators, then one of the ways your children can be safe is by climbing trees.

Teaching your children how to climb trees is, therefore, one of the essential survival skills. Your children can also climb trees to know their bearing. Climbing trees can also be useful when hunting.

17. Sewing

Sewing is also a beneficial skill that is worth teaching your kid. If your children know how to sew, they can mend clothes on their own. If you teach your children how to use a needle, they will also know how to repair tents and tarps.

This skill can come in handy should you go out with your kids on a camping trip and you are unable to mend the tents because they can give you a hand. In the event that your children get lost in the wilderness, they will know how to make their own tents to keep them safe from the harsh elements.


Teaching your children survival skills at a young age will not only prepare them on how to handle a crisis but also lay a foundation for your kids to learn more about life as they continue to grow up.

The 17 survival skills your child should know as have been discussed above are very important. Teaching your children these skills is also fun. You can start teaching your children today so you can have a peace of mind knowing that no matter what, they will be capable of staying safe.

Photo of author

Sammy Garrard

I am the Founder and Chief Editor of outdoorsity.net and a prepper with over 15 years of experience. I’m excited to my knowledge and the things I learn while travelling in British Columbia, Canada where I live and around the world. Feel free to follow me on Twitter, Facebook!

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