32 Basic Survival Skills for Raising Independent Kids

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Kids come in all ages and levels of maturity. Here is a list of basic survival skills for kids that are practical and basic to survival.

You’ll have to determine which skills are appropriate to teach your own children or grandchildren.

image: child swimming under water demonstrating urban survival skills for kids

Basic Survival

1. Trust your instincts
2. Develop situational awareness
3. Think ahead and always have a plan.
4. Pack your own survival pack
5. Be able to run and walk a good distance; be in generally good shape
6. Dress appropriately for weather conditions

Food and Water

7. Find water and identify if it’s safe to drink
8. Learn uses for water that isn’t safe to drink, such as cleaning
9. Learn to filter and boil water to drink
10. Grow vegetables and herbs from seeds (even in an apartment)
11. Know which foods have the highest nutrients and what a healthy diet consists of, and eat that way
12. Open canned food with and without a can opener (rub can lid ridge on cement and then pry open with a knife)
13. Follow a recipe
14. Know multiple ways to prepare food
15. Make a meal without power – for the oven, lights, or anything else
16. Preserve food by canning and dehydrating
17. Know how long refrigerated and frozen food stays safe to eat and how to maximize that time
18. Identify if food is too spoiled to eat

Health and First Aid

19. When to call 911, know what to say
20. First aid – start with basic first aid, work up to CPR, wilderness first aid, and even EMT for older youth
21. Know and use home and natural remedies
22. Know and administer essential medical equipment (such as oxygen tanks or EpiPens) used by family
23. Know where to find and how to administer essential medicine (such as insulin or nitroglycerin) for family
24. Know any family allergies, especially life-threatening ones, and where to find the epi-pen, if anyone has one
25. Assist an injured or otherwise handicapped person
26. Survival sanitation
27. Basic hygiene practices – and how it differs from survival sanitation

blue survival frog dry bag

Survival Skills

28. Find or build a shelter using whatever is available to you
29. Swimming and floating
30. Safely use a knife
31. Keep a blade tool clean and sharp
32. Sew enough to mend clothing and make simple items such as bags or scrap quilts.

Additionally, and depending on maturity, you can have your kids assemble a small basic kit of essential wilderness survival gear.

Remember to check out these other kid-friendly skills lists:

How many of these basic survival skills have your children acquired?

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