Everything You Need To Know About Winter Survival For Kids

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My kids usually have their sleds lined up by the garage door by Thanksgiving.  They’ve been trying on their snow clothes, eyeing new ski jackets in the L.L. Bean catalog and are ready to get out in the snow!  I love to watch them play in the snow and ski down a (slightly elevated) hill, but the Survival Mom in me wants to make sure they also have some winter survival skills.  Combining the fun of winter sports and outdoor activities with a few survival lessons are my sneaky way of making sure they know what to do if ever they find themselves in trouble.

Some specific skills and knowledge I want them to have are:

  • how to prepare for going out into winter weather
  • what to do first if you ever feel you’re in danger
  • the four basics of survival: warmth, shelter, food, and water

Above all, I want my kids to know how to make it easy for rescuers to find them.  When there’s a chance they’ll be out of my sight, say, when they’re skiing or tramping through the woods, I want them to have a small survival kit with them.  Just in case.

Once kids are on their December break, putting together individual Winter Survival Kits is a sure-fire activity to keep them occupied.  These are small enough to be carried in backpacks or fanny packs, and kids love having something important that is all their own. It’s important to keep in mind that an essential piece of survival equipment is knowledge.  Make sure your kids know what to do with each item if they’re ever in an emergency situation.  Here is what you’ll need to make up these kits.

  • a bright colored bandana or similar size cloth
  • a whistle
  • a small, powerful flashlight
  • 2 hand-warmers and 2 toe-warmers
  • 2 high-calorie energy bars
  • a small bottle of water (Once it’s empty, it can be filled with snow for more drinking water.)
  • a large black trash bag (use as an emergency blanket or shelter)
  • a pocketknife
  • a small packet of tissues (emergency toilet paper, runny noses, etc.)

Put all these items in a large zip-loc bag or small nylon sack, and it’s finished.  In no way is this meant to be provisions for long-term survival!  It’s filled with just enough essential items to help a child signal for help and stay occupied until rescue arrives.  For older kids, you might add a firestarter, a few tablets of over-the-counter pain medication (in case there’s been an injury), and additional food and water.

Older kids will enjoy this video of how to make a small survival stove using a couple of cans, toilet paper, and alcohol, and this video from Shiloh Productions has multiple survival tips designed to help kids survive the wilderness.

Sometimes parents have to be sneaky in order to teach our kids what they must know.  Now that winter is in full swing, take advantage of the colder weather to teach important survival skills your kids will never forget.

TIP-Be prepared to keep warm this winter. Learn more here- INSTANT WINTER SURVIVAL TIP: How to triple your warmth options