Summer is upon us, and that usually means more time spent together as a family as kids are out of school. Even homeschool moms take a few breaks in the summer. This time of year is a great time to hone your family’s survival skills. I’ve put together a summer bucket list for the prepper family. See how many things your family can check off this summer. Have fun with it and get your family involved!
- Identify and forage for wild edibles in your yard. (Have any dandelions?)
- Garden, but be sure to grow at least one new-to-your-family plant.
- Cook a meal over a fire.
- Give your food storage a once over for expiration dates and damage. Restock to desired supply levels.
- Have children cook a meal by themselves in the house, with supervision.
- Have children cook a meal by themselves on the grill. Supervise!
- Have children cook a meal by themselves over the fire with plenty of adult supervision.
- Make and eat your own MREs (Meals-Ready-to-Eat) from food storage (Freeze-dried food is great for this.)
- Use your personal water filters at a local park.
- Visit several local farmer’s markets to find local food sources.
- When you start to get low on groceries, wait an extra day before shopping and eat from what is on hand.
- Start a compost bin.
- Put in a rain barrel.
- Dehydrate a fruit, a vegetable, an herb, and some meat.
- Can a fruit, vegetable, herb and some meat.
- Visit a local u-pick farm.
- Have a day with zero food waste.
- Grind wheat and make your own bread from it. (Extra points if you cook it over a fire.)
- Rotate your water storage.
- Only cook with cast iron for a week.
- Sprout seeds
- Tornado drill
- Fire drill (Check the batteries in smoke and CO detectors.)
- Evacuation drill (Do 1-hour, 30-minute and 15-minute notice evacuation drills.) This handbook provides all you need to know about getting ready for evacuations.
- No power for a full day and night.
- Only use generator power for 6 hours.
- “There’s no toilet paper!” (Cloth wipes, anyone?)
- No running water for a full day and night. (Do not skip bathing or washing dishes!)
- Minimize water down the drain for a day – reuse dish/bath/pool water in the garden or for plants
- Robbery/home invasion drill (Do several with the intruder coming in different doors/windows.)
- Spend a day unplugged from electronic devices (no internet connection).
Put your supplies to work
- Update your emergency binder. (Ask kids what important papers or pictures they might want to put in the binder.)
- Check clothing and shoe sizes in vehicles, bug-out-bags and tornado/storm shelter.
- Review your home library.
- Add money to your cash stash by holding a yard sale.
- Buy a tarp if you don’t have one, and then brainstorm all the ways they could be useful.
- Rotate any gas/diesel you have stored and refill right away.
- Check expiration dates on any bleach/sanitation supplies and restock.
- Reorganize garden tools.
Learn or improve skills
- Go camping. (Can your family live together for long in one tent? Reorganize the gear when you get home.)
- Go hiking. (Figure out what weight each family member can comfortably carry in a backpack.)
- Go fishing. (Try finding your own bait rather than buying any.)
- Go biking. (Do your children know how to patch a bike tire?)
- Have children start a fire from scratch.
- Wash clothes by hand.
- Go geocaching.
- Have the kids use a paper map to get from point A to point B. (If you’re ambitious, create your own family Amazing Race.)
- Build something functional from scratch with wood, a handsaw, nails and a hammer.
- Make your own bug spray.
- Make your own sunscreen.
- Make homemade laundry soap.
- Hone shooting skills at the range (Make sure to keep ammo stocked up.)
- Sew something simple without using a sewing machine. (Learn a new stitch if you already know how to sew.)
- Buy a new piece of cast iron and learn how to season it.
- Find 10 local birds and learn about them.
- Select 10 local insects or small animals and draw some of your favorite.
- Identify at least 10 different trees that grow in your area.
- Sharpen tools and knives.
- Earn certifications in first aid and CPR. (Discuss defibrillators and epi-pens, too.)
- Have everyone try out a fire extinguisher.
- Try starting a fire without a lighter or match.
- Learn to tie 5 different knots.
- Plan evacuation routes on a map and then actually drive those routes to become familiar with them.
Practice skills in different scenarios
- Spend a day living out of your car. (Take notes on what you wish you had.)
- Walk home from work. Bonus points if you can ably carry your emergency kit/bug out bag.
- Show the kids how to walk home from school safely.
- Do some summer school. (If you don’t homeschool, consider it a practice run if you should ever need to.)
- Play the “What If …” game.
- Discuss social media safety rules.
Fun and educational activities for your family summer bucket list
- Go scavenging for supplies at garage sales (Among other things, look for reference books, camping gear, cast iron.)
- Play board games, so you know the rules before you lose power and those games become a major form of entertainment.
- Learn new card games. (Is there a deck of cards in your vehicle or bug-out-bag?)
- Work on a family history tree and talk about family medical history.
- Learn to play chess.
- Do craft time using supplies from the recycle bin.
- Read classic literature.
- Make paracord bracelets.
- See how many ways you can use a kiddie pool.
- Find a local history or reenactment group and attend one of their events. (Get tips from the actors on how life was lived before electricity.)
- Visit a local history museum or county historical society to see how people grew food by hand in your area.
- Practice memorization with children — stories, emergency addresses, and numbers, directions, songs.
- Relax and go on a day trip or vacation. Discuss how you would handle some emergency situations en route and at your destination.
- Write letters. Can your children read and write in cursive? Can they address an envelope and put a stamp in the correct corner?
- Start learning a foreign language as a family. DuoLingo and Mango Languages are 2 free websites that teach foreign languages. Get their apps on your phones, too!
- Get to know your neighbors. Take them cookies or host a neighborhood cookout.
- Perform random acts of kindness.
After you check each item off your list, make sure to talk about what you learned as a family. Take notes on what worked, lessons learned, things to do better next time, and if there is anything to add to your survival supplies. Take pictures and create a photo book of the summer adventures as something you can look back on as a family. Creating a summer bucket list could be the start of a new family tradition. Don’t forget to add your own items to the list.
Click HERE for a printable version of this list!
Want even more ideas for a fun summer?
- 7 Summer Children’s Activities for Sowing Survivalist Seeds
- 9 Tips to Avoid the Summertime Prepping Slump
- Camp MAMA — Summer Camp Ideas for Moms
- Make This Summer a Family Camping Summer
- Summer Camp Prep
- Summer Jobs for Teenagers: Responsibility & Dedication Building Blocks
- Summer PREP School: 48 Survival Skills for Kids to Learn This Summer
- Summertime Survival Skills for Young Girls
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