Camping is one of the oldest and most universal traditions in human history. Practically from the moment human beings first started living in huts and other permanent shelters, they’ve found it necessary to get back to nature by sleeping under the stars, cooking over a fire, and more.
Today, camping isn’t just a fun pastime, but a great way to teach your kids survival skills. It’s important to know how to survive in the wilderness, and the younger you learn what to do, the better. Camping is a great way to teach those skills in a controlled environment, while helping them learn proper procedures if they ever find themselves in an emergency. Here are a few of the things kids can learn when you take them camping.
- Making and Managing a Fire If you’re stranded in the wilderness, fire is one of the most important things to have. Not only does it provide you with warmth and a way to cook your food, but you can also use it to signal for help in a pinch. It’s also essential to know not just how to make a fire, but how to maintain it and keep it under control, so that it continues to provide warmth without spreading and burning down the surrounding area. Teaching your children how to build and tend a campfire is the best way for them to acquire these skills.
- Building and Finding Shelter On most camping trips, you’ll bring along a tent, likely a pre-bought one that includes poles, pegs, and everything else you need to set it up. Even though a person stranded in the wilderness may have one of these with them, camping trips still provide a great opportunity to show your child how to build a shelter of their own in an emergency, or seek one out in all kinds of weather. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could even ditch the tent entirely for a night and make your own place to sleep.
- First Aid This is a skill that’s important to know in any situation, whether stranded in the wilderness or in the heart of civilization. How do you treat a cut, or a more serious wound? What do you do for someone exhibiting signs of hypothermia? How about heat exhaustion? There are a number of dire situations that could occur, requiring makeshift medical attention until a real doctor can be found. Camping trips are the perfect place to teach the skills required in these situations.
- Directions and Navigation If you do find yourself stranded in the wilderness, survival is important, but just as essential is the ability to find your way back to civilization. This requires basic skills with a map and compass to guide you where you need to go. A little hiking trip while camping is a great way to teach your child how to find a specific place—and find their way back—by reading a map and compass properly.
These are just a few of the survival skills your child can learn by camping. If you’re not comfortable teaching them these skills yourself, consider signing them up for Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts, so that they can take camping trips regularly and work towards merit badges that cover the skills they need. It can be a fun, rewarding experience, one that also helps them gain knowledge that will come in handy for the rest of their lives.