40 Ideas for Gardening with Kids (that actually make it fun)

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I’ve gardened with kids, and it can be a scary endeavor. Images of crushed plants and premature picked fruit can make one think that it may not be worth including the kids. It doesn’t have to be a nightmare. I have gardened with 5 kids and am still around to talk about it.  Here are […]

Basic Survival Skills You Need To Teach Your Kids

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  Aside from raising your child on the values of right and wrong, parents need to consider incorporating basic survival skills into their upbringing. A lot of these skills can be accomplished by regular camping, hiking, hunting and fishing trips and some need a little more of a direct approach. Here’s my list of survival […]

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Prepping in School!

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Prepping in School
James Walton “I Am Liberty” Audio player below!

These terrible school shootings have called us to question how school has changed. They have also called us to question what should change about school. We know that we are approaching a time of great change and that school should not be left out of that change. I would like to put the killing and the gun control talk aside and talk about what else we can improve in schools to better prepare our kids for the real world.

Continue reading Prepping in School! at Prepper Broadcasting Network.

How to Get Fabulous Kids Smart watch on A Tight Budget

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How to Get Fabulous Kids Smart watch on A Tight Budget    Smart watches have slowly become a necessity in the modern world. It is no longer only at the time; there are other important events that we would like our kids reminded. Producers of these devices have included many features including educational games, GPS tracking […]

The post How to Get Fabulous Kids Smart watch on A Tight Budget appeared first on American Preppers Network.

Homeschool From Anywhere (It’s Easier Than You Think!)

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My husband and I recently returned from two and a half years abroad. During our time in Asia, we homeschooled our two boys. Without access to things like homeschool co-ops or a spacious home with study space, we quickly got used to homeschooling on-the-go. Now that we’re back in America, I still love homeschooling in places that aren’t, well, home.

There’s this misconception that homeschool families only teach school at home, but there are plenty of places you can go to do your homeschooling, such as:

  • Parks
  • Coffee shops
  • Gaming cafes
  • Libraries
  • Community centers
Of course, you can always integrate things like museum visits, lessons, and day trips to different cultural and social activities. When it comes to regular, day-to-day book work, though, don’t be afraid to mix it up and visit other places with your kiddos.
Here’s how.
First off, plan your day. Whether we’re going to spend a day driving to another city and visiting coffee shops or exploring our own local town, I plan exactly what we’re going to be teaching, where we’ll be teaching it, and how long we’ll be gone for. This allows me to figure out what items we need to pack as far as things like pens, pencils, and books, but it also lets me plan out snacks and whether we’ll need things like a change of clothing.
Next, pack your bags. Each of my kids has a backpack they can easily fit their tablets, textbooks, and notebooks in. There are also plenty of pockets for extra art supplies, snacks, and drinks. I like to have each child utilize their own individual backpack because it simplifies things for me. Rather than throwing everything into one large tote, each of my kids has their own worksheets and books ready ahead of time.
Finally, take off. Get in your car or head to the bus stop and go have a wonderful adventure. Make sure you utilize every available moment you have to educate, even while you’re traveling. For example, while you’re on the bus, your kids can review flashcards or listen to language pod lessons on their phones. If you’re planning to drive, you can listen to an audiobook or have your kids practice reading out loud. If you’re standing in line waiting to order your coffee, your kids can review vocabulary words, spelling words, or even read a Kindle book.
Of course, homeschooling on-the-go won’t work with every subject or for every kid. If you’re planning to review math lessons or tackle new scientific theories, however, homeschooling at coffee shops or libraries can be a fun way to spend time with your kids in a new environment while being productive with your studies.

Teaching Kids to Be Prepared With Their First Emergency Kit

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As adults, it is easy to worry about what may or may not happen. As kids however, the thoughts never even cross their minds. All they want to do is eat, sleep and play. In this article I will show you how I started teaching kids the importance of being prepared. So, when is the […]

The post Teaching Kids to Be Prepared With Their First Emergency Kit appeared first on American Preppers Network.

Books About Bravery

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As a parent, raising kids who are brave, courageous, and strong is important. Whether you have boys or girls, toddlers or teens, it’s vital that you talk with your kids about standing up for themselves, being brave, and facing their fears. 
One of my favorite things about books is that they provide a safe, neutral way to talk with your kids about difficult topics. Bravery is one of those topics. While it seems like a simple thing to tell your kids to be brave, the truth is that learning how to put that bravery into practice can be tricky. Sometimes kids don’t know exactly how to apply the concept of courage to their lives, which is where books come in.
Stories provide a way for kids to see other children (albeit fictional ones) facing hardships and overcoming those problems. 
If you have younger kids (elementary age), here are several books you can read with them to start talking about the concepts of bravery, courage, and fear.


1. Sheila Rae, the Brave


2. The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread



3. Dad and the Dinosaur


4. Oh So Brave Dragon: A Picture Book


5. Lionheart
Have you read any of these books with your youngsters? If not, check out Amazon to buy a copy or visit your local library to read for free.

Fantasy Books for Middle Grade Readers

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As a writer, it’s probably not surprising that my kids love to read. We spend at least two or three hours each day listening to audiobooks and then an hour or two on top of that reading. Yeah, we love books around here. That said, sometimes finding new, interesting fantasy novels for middle-grade readers can be tricky. Once you’ve finished the books you love as a kid, where do you go?

Recently, I asked some of my writer friends on Facebook for suggestions on great fantasy novels for middle-grade readers. I got some fantastic recommendations and have been having a lovely time enjoying these stories with my kids.

Are you looking for new books? Check out my list and let me know what you think!

1. The Shadows

This house is keeping secrets . . .

When eleven-year-old Olive and her parents move into the crumbling mansion on Linden Street and find it filled with mysterious paintings, Olive knows the place is creepy—but it isn’t until she encounters its three talking cats that she realizes there’s something darkly magical afoot. Then Olive finds a pair of antique spectacles in a dusty drawer and discovers the most peculiar thing yet: She can travel inside the house’s spooky paintings to a world that’s strangely quiet . . . and eerily sinister. But in entering Elsewhere, Olive has been ensnared in a mystery darker and more dangerous than she could have imagined, confronting a power that wants to be rid of her by any means necessary. With only the cats and an unusual boy she meets in Elsewhere on her side, it’s up to Olive to save the house from the shadows, before the lights go out for good.

The Shadows (The Books of Elsewhere, Vol. 1) is a story about an 11-year-old who moves into a new house, but nothing is as it seems. This story is really interesting and has a decent pace. We’ve been reading a few chapters each night before bed, but each chapter ends on a cliffhanger so sometimes falling asleep after reading can be tricky! If you like this story, there are four more books in the series, so this is a great one to start if you plan to do even more reading.


2. A Hat Full of Sky


Rats! They’re everywhere: in the breadbins, dancing across tabletops, stealing pies from under the cooks’ noses. So what does every town need? A good piper to lure them away.

That’s where Maurice comes in. But he’s only a cat (though one that talks), so although he has the ideas, he needs rats and someone to play the pipe. Who better than the kid to play the pipe? And Dangerous Beans. And Peaches. And Hamnpork (who doesn’t really like what’s been happening since The Change; all a rat leader really needs is to be big and stroppy, thinking is just not his thing). And Darktan. And Sardines. And all the others in the Clan.
Then they arrive in Bad Blintz, which is suffering from a plague of rats, and find there are NO rats anywhere (though the two resident rat catchers seem to have plenty of tails to show, at 50 pence per tail).
Someone else has had ideas, and Maurice is not pleased.

A Hat Full of Sky: Discworld Book 32, (Discworld Childrens Book 3) is a Terry Pratchett novel set in the Discworld series. This is a standalone book, so you don’t need to read the other stories in the series in order to read it. We read this one and then moved on to some of the other Discworld books, which both of my kids really enjoy. 
If you’ve never read Pratchett’s writing, you’re missing out. Terry writes books that both children and adults can enjoy, so while this is technically a book designed for youngsters, there’s fantastic character development, world building, and poignant thoughts you’ll be able to enjoy in this one.

“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” ― Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky

3. Crenshaw

Crenshaw

In her first novel since The One and Only Ivan, winner of the Newbery Medal, Katherine Applegate delivers an unforgettable and magical story about family, friendship, and resilience.
Jackson and his family have fallen on hard times. There’s no more money for rent. And not much for food, either. His parents, his little sister, and their dog may have to live in their minivan. Again.
Crenshaw is a cat. He’s large, he’s outspoken, and he’s imaginary. He has come back into Jackson’s life to help him. But is an imaginary friend enough to save this family from losing everything?
Beloved author Katherine Applegate proves in unexpected ways that friends matter, whether real or imaginary. This title has Common Core connections.

Crenshaw was added to my to-read list when several of my author friends suggested it. Katherine Applegate is one of those writers who manages to suck you into her world in a seemingly effortless way.

“Imaginary friends are like books. We’re created, we’re enjoyed, we’re dog-eared and creased, and then we’re tucked away until we’re needed again.” -Katherine Applegate, Crenshaw




4. A Snicker of Magic


Midnight Gulch used to be a magical place, a town where people could sing up thunderstorms and dance up sunflowers. But that was long ago, before a curse drove the magic away. Twelve-year-old Felicity knows all about things like that; her nomadic mother is cursed with a wandering heart.

But when she arrives in Midnight Gulch, Felicity thinks her luck’s about to change. A “word collector,” Felicity sees words everywhere—shining above strangers, tucked into church eves, and tangled up her dog’s floppy ears—but Midnight Gulch is the first place she’s ever seen the word “home.” And then there’s Jonah, a mysterious, spiky-haired do-gooder who shimmers with words Felicity’s never seen before, words that make Felicity’s heart beat a little faster.

Felicity wants to stay in Midnight Gulch more than anything, but first, she’ll need to figure out how to bring back the magic, breaking the spell that’s been cast over the town . . . and her mother’s broken heart.


A Snicker of Magic not only has an incredible cover, but has an incredible premise, as well. What do you do when you move somewhere new and nothing is what you expect? What do you do when your entire life changes and you have to find a way to make sense of the world around you? As a family that recently moved from one side of the globe to the other, I like these types of books because my kids can really relate to the feeling of being thrust into a new world you aren’t quite expecting.

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Have you read any of these books with your kids? Which one was your favorite?

Egg Flip Game

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We decided to try out our other Playdough to Plato game. This game is an egg flip game. Each egg has a word on it. While there are rules enclosed, I absolutely love how easy it is to modify these games for your child’s age level. The way we played is slightly different from the original rules. I just said a sight word and then sounded it out with my kids and spelled it out loud. Then, each child looked until they found the word according to the letters I had spelled out. Once we found the correct word, my sons used a spatula to “flip” the egg-word over. You can download this game and others at Playdough to Plato.


Want more information home home education? Check out How to Home School Your Child Without Going Crazy.

Do homeschooled children have friends?

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One of the biggest concerns many new home school families have is, “What about friendships?”

A common misconception about home educators is that their children are “unsocialized.”

If you choose to home educate, you’ll have to put up with comments like:
I wish I could home school, but my child is just too social.
I thought about home schooling, but my child really needs social interactions.
I value my child’s friendships too much to home school.

The truth is that home schooled children do have friends, but most home educating families believe that school should not be all about social interaction. At some point, education needs to be about education. Home schooled kids have the opportunity to learn without having to worry about whether or not the boy sitting next to them likes them, whether or not the mean girl is going to make fun of them that day, and whether or not they’re going to get invited to a dance.

Most home school families do participate in things like field trips, science experiments, and community service with other home school families; however, the emphasis in home education is on education. It’s not on friendship.

If you’re curious about how your home schooled child will make friends, keep a few things in mind:
Friends do not have to go to the same school as you.
Friends do not have to be the same age as you.
Friends do not have to live in the same place as you.

Home schooled kids can make friends at church, at local nursing homes, in your apartment building, in your home school group, in local clubs, at the YMCA, in their Girl Scout Troop, or at their dance classes.

Home schooled children can also make friends online through message boards, Facebook groups, and websites designed to help home schooled kids interact with one another.

The idea that home schooled kids don’t have friends is a myth and places limitations on what a “friend” is. Is a “friend” only someone that you attend school with? If not, then you won’t have a problem.

Subscription Boxes for Homeschoolers: Little Passports

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Subscription boxes.
Chances are you’ve heard of them. You might even subscribe to one. Maybe you get a makeup subscription box or a snack one, but have you considered using subscription boxes in your homeschooling?
My family primarily uses IXL for our homeschooling right now. We’re a bit eclectic since we have such an emphasis on Chinese and Japanese learning for our kids, but IXL is the primary math/language arts program we use. In addition to that, I like to supplement our homeschooling with things like reading and, you guessed it, subscription boxes.
Little Passports is a box we found out about several years ago. It’s got a huge emphasis on teaching your kids about life in different states and even different countries. When you subscribe, you’ll basically receive an all-encompassing lesson plan and lesson each month. It makes homeschooling with unit studies and topic studies very simple, so if you’re a busy mom who doesn’t want to worry about over-planning, this might be perfect for you.

In addition to a US-based subscription box, Little Passports also has a world geography box, a box specifically for younger kids, and a science box. They also have a ton of great information for homeschoolers and parents on their blog. For example, this post on 9 ways to say thanks around the world can be a great post to share with your kids as they learn about new places!

One of the most important things my kids learned while we were traveling was how to say “thank you.” When you go to a new place, even if you aren’t fluent in the language, just being able to say “hello” and “thank you” in the local language can make traveling much easier. It also shows a huge amount of respect to the people you’re speaking with, so I love that Little Passports has these resources for parents. (So even if you aren’t interested in subscribing, check out their blog! There are tons of free articles you can enjoy and learn from.)

For more information about Little Passports, visit their website. Then leave me a comment and tell me what you thought!

  
Have you ever used a subscription box program to homeschool? Tell me about it in the comments!

Vandana Shiva talks ‘fake cheap’ food (VIDEO)

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Just saw this video of Indian scholar and sustainable-agriculture advocate Vandana Shiva talking about the true cost of cheap food and three keys to ending what she calls “the final stages of a very deceitful system.”

(By the way, Shiva is on our list of 50 Global Changemakers, here.)

She makes some excellent points, and I thought you might enjoy the video as much as I did.

Some of my favorite quotes from the video:

  • “We are living the final stages of a very deceitful system that has made everything that is very costly for the planet, costly for the producer, look cheap for the consumer. So very high-cost production with GMOs and patents and royalties and fossil fuel is made to look like cheap food.”
  • “Every young person should recognize that working with their hands and their hearts and their minds—and they’re interconnected—is the highest evolution of our species. Working with our hands is not a degradation. It’s our real humanity.”
  • “We are not atomized producers and community. We are part of the earth family. We are part of the human family. We are part of a food community. Food connects us—everything is food.”

I also love the way she defines “true freedom” in the video: “Never be afraid of deceitful, dishonest, brutal power. That is true freedom.”

And hey, let me know what you think about her solutions to the problem of high-cost “cheap” food! What others would you add? Leave me a comment below. 🙂

 

The post Vandana Shiva talks ‘fake cheap’ food (VIDEO) appeared first on The Grow Network.

Kids and Guns

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As a firearm instructor, you might not believe how many times I hear from someone that they would like to own a gun, but their spouse will not allow it because they have kids in the house.  On a grand scale, I understand and agree with the REASONING behind this feeling.  It’s a parent’s job […]

The post Kids and Guns appeared first on Dave’s Homestead.

The 8 Best Things about Kids Binoculars

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Children have a wide range of activities to venture into during their growth and development this exposes them enabling them to choose what they are interested in. it also comes at with an educational advantage. Some of these activities involve outdoor activities. When it comes to outdoor activities, a pair of binoculars is an important […]

The post The 8 Best Things about Kids Binoculars appeared first on American Preppers Network.

Review: Sun Tail Mermaid

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As I’ve mentioned before in my posts about Japan, I’m a huge Ariel fan. The Little Mermaid is one of my favorite fairy tales. When I was little, I even had a hamster named Ariel! If you like mermaids, too, you’ll be happy to know that now, you and your kids can be your very own mermaids in your swimming pools at home.

Here’s how.

Photos courtesy of Sun Tail Mermaid

Sun Tail Mermaid offers a variety of mermaid-themed products for both kids and adults. You can use these to dress up as mermaids at home or even at the beach! I’m a cosplayer, so I have an assortment of outfits for my favorite characters. This is no different! If you want to cosplay as a mermaid, have a unique Halloween costume, or even just play in the water in your personal pool, you may really enjoy the items Sun Tail Mermaid offers.

You can check out all of their products directly on the Sun Tail Mermaid website: www.suntailmermaid.com.

Photo courtesy of Sun Tail Mermaid
Make sure to utilize the Sun Tail Mermaid size chart, as this may be different than what you’re expecting. There are a number of different size options available, which is fantastic! No matter what size you and your littles are, you’ll be able to find an option that works for you.
There are MANY colors and sizes available on the Sun Tail Mermaid site. As you can see from the pictures, you can mix-and-match your favorite swimsuits and tank tops with your monofin or tail!

Photos courtesy of Sun Tail Mermaid

Now, one thing I really do love about Sun Tail Mermaid is that they provide Mer-Shield tape for use with your monofin. If you have youngsters who love to be rough and tumble, you’ll appreciate this, too!

Photo courtesy of Sun Tail Mermaid

Best of all?

My readers get a 10% discount!Receive a 10% discount on your order at SunTailMermaid.com by using coupon code: BestGiftEver

I was provided with a complimentary mermaid tail in exchange for a fair and honest review. Opinions expressed within this post are my own.

Skill-Based Gift Ideas to Suit Every Survival Kid

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gifts for adventurous kids

My kids were raised in an adventurous family. We live to swim against the stream and take on challenges of all kinds. At times, it seemed as though I was raising feral children, but now in their teen years, they’ve turned out okay after all! Adventure is good for kids because it developed self-confidence and an “I can do it attitude.”

Over the years on this blog, we’ve posted lists of skills kids should have and it occurred to me that kids who learn these skills are leading lives of adventure, filled with challenges

On this blog, I have several lists of skills kids should know — many are skills that will lead kids into new Browsing through the lists of skills kids should know and have, it occurred to me that those lists are excellent resources for gift ideas! Here are just a few gift suggestions from each list.

What’s extra tricky about these lists and gift suggestions is that they make learning a new survival skill fun and will most likely involve everyone in the family. It’s hard to beat that combination.

From our original, classic list, “32 Survival Skills Your Child Should Know and Be Able to Do ASAP!”

SKILL: Grow vegetables from seeds.

GIFT: A Grow Bottle from SeedsNow.com. I love the idea of giving a gift that is an all-in-one kit for growing a practical and edible plant. Just for fun, check out these holiday ornaments that contain seeds for plants like Dog Grass, Catnip, and Wintergreen.

SKILL: Know basic first aid.

GIFT:very kid-friendly first aid kit, the medibag.

SKILL: How to read a map and use a compass.

GIFT: A copy of Survivor Kid and a good quality compass.

To see the complete list of these skills and, hopefully, generate some gift ideas for the young ones in your life, click here.

From our list, “32 Basic Survival Skills Kids”

SKILL: Pack your own survival pack.

GIFT: One of the very nice, quality packs from Flying Circle Bags. Include some basic supplies, like a LED flashlight or UV Paqlite, some high calorie “survival bars”, a roll of duct tape, and some paracord.

SKILL: Follow a recipe.

GIFT: A fun kids recipe book, measuring spoons, and other basic kitchen supplies.

SKILL: Make a meal without power.

GIFT: Materials to make a solar cooker, instructions, and the promise to work on this project together. The Solar Cooking Science Kit is a good place to start. I’d suggest the Sun Oven, but that’s a little pricey for a kid’s gift!

SKILL: Know and use home and natural remedies.

GIFT: A basket of mild essential oils (lavender and lemon, for example), seeds for an herb garden, and a copy of A Kid’s Herb Book. Buy the book ahead of time to get more ideas of what to include in that basket! We reviewed the book here.

Read the entire list of skills here.

Suburban and urban kids need plenty of skills, too! Here are gift ideas from “32 Mental and Urban Survival Skills for Kids”

SKILL: Know how to manage money and set a budget.

GIFT: Financial Peace Junior and a small stash of Christmas gift cash to get the budget/savings process started.

SKILL: Self-defense.

GIFT: A series of lessons at a good, local martial arts school.

SKILL: Shoot a gun, including the use of eye and ear protection.

GIFT: An air-soft rifle, BB gun or .22 rifle. Include goggles and good quality ear protection.

To review the entire list of mental and urban survival skills, click here.

Finally, wilderness survival skills from our list, “32 Wilderness Survival Skills for Kids”

SKILL: Tie different types of knots.

GIFT: A roll of paracord and knot-tying instructions. This game, Knot So Fast, combines knot tying with some fun competition.

SKILL: Dutch oven cooking.

GIFT: Their own Dutch oven, a Dutch oven cookbook, heat-safe mitts, and a chimney charcoal starter. Boys and girls alike will love learning this skill!

SKILL: Identify and understand animal tracks and scat.

GIFT: The Who Pooped…? series of books features animal scat information for different parts of the country, including the Black Hills and a few other National Parks. A book my kids thoroughly enjoyed is Tracks, Scats and Signs.

Our entire list of wilderness skills can be found here.

 

Enjoy these gift suggestions now in the holiday season and for every special occasion throughout the year!

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Homemade Lunchables!

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My kids both love Lunchables as a special treat. Unfortunately, the cost can be high and the foods aren’t always that great.

I’ve seen a lot of posts on Bento boxes and moms making homemade Lunchables and a few weeks ago, I started making my own.

Here’s an example of a homemade Lunchable box I made this week. This one has:
-Crackers
-Cheese
-Pepperoni
-Tomatoes
-Fruit cup
-Grapes

You can pretty much put whatever your kids like in your box. I like to make a bunch at the beginning of the week and then my kids can go grab a healthy box when they feel hungry.

Here are some other things you could put in your homemade Lunchables:
-Turkey slices
-Goldfish crackers
-Wheat thins
-Apple slices
-Bananas
-Dehydrated fruit
-Beef jerky
-Bread
-Half a sandwich
-Chips and salsa or cheese dip (I make this one for my husband)

One thing some moms worry about is that their kids won’t get a prize or treat with homemade Lunchables. To combat this, consider putting a piece of chocolate or a prize in each box.

Have you ever tried to make your own Lunchables at home? What did your kids think?

Five Places to Home School Away From Home

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Looking for some fun ways to spice up your days? Instead of sitting at home, take your home education with you wherever you go. Here are just a few fun places that you can home school your kids away from home.

1. The park
Do you have parks close by? Why not pack up a picnic lunch and go learn about nature? You could opt for a playground and get in some PE time or head to a National Park and learn about America.

2. Museums
Children’s museum, science museums, or history museums can all be fantastic places to learn. Ditch the textbooks and instead have a great time exploring museums and learning from the exhibits. Don’t forget to check Amazon Local and Groupon for discounted rates.

3. The zoo
Learn about science, nature, and history at the zoo. Try to visit on a morning when the zoo is having a presentation so that your kids can learn more in-depth about feeding and caring for animals.

4. Grandma’s house
Love to travel? Why not grab your books and head to Grandma’s house for a few days? You could also try visiting friends in other states. Your kids will get to enjoy a road trip and learning about different cities.

5. The lake
Grab your fishing poles and head to the lake. You could learn about catching your own food, but this also offers a great opportunity for teaching your kids how to camp and survive outdoors.

15 Survival Movies To Teach Your Kids Prepping

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If you’re into prepping and you have kids, it would be wise to start teaching them disaster preparedness at an early age. There’s nothing better than growing up awake and prepared to face the unexpected, especially in volatile times such as these.

Having basic survival skills at an early age can be priceless and survival movies are a quintessential tool to use in this endeavor, as they combine learning with having fun, which translates into a win-win situation, especially if you’re a kid.

Of course, watching movies shouldn’t replace other “real life” activities, such as going camping with your bambinos.

Teaching your kids to survive on their own for a few days in an outdoors scenario is hugely important, not to mention that a camping trip builds confidence on their capability to be self sufficient, and also raises awareness on their personal hygiene in an off-grid scenario.

Furthermore, they’ll learn to be alert about the presence of dangerous wildlife and so forth and so on.

3 Second SEAL Test Will Tell You If You’ll Survive A SHTF Situation

It’s also worth mentioning that playing outside is essential for sparking a kid’s imagination (as opposed to pecking at TV/smartphones/tablets all day), as a pile of sand will quickly become a beach where the pirates of the Caribbean buried their treasures, and the trees and bushes behind the house morph into a luscious jungle, where monsters roam free, you know what I am talking about.

However, survival movies can be successfully used to prepare/teach your kids ahead of their real-life adventures, especially if they’re very young. So, let the games begin.

My number one choice is Walt Disney’s Swiss Family Robinson, a movie released back in 1960 and recommended for ages 8 and up. This Disney classic makes for the ultimate outdoor fantasy for a prepper’s family. The movie revolves around building a complex tree house on a Paradise-like tropical island, playing with animals (they are friendly, no worries), but also defending it all against pirates by using very sophisticated booby traps.

Let’s move to a more recent flick: Nim’s Island, a PG rated movie released back in 2008 (ages 8 and up), which makes for a contemporary thriller about a girl (Nim) and her dad, a science guy, both living on their private island. After her father goes missing during a storm, Nim is left (almost) alone on the island to take care of herself, with a little help from an agoraphobic visitor, but I will not spoil it for you.

If you’re looking for a good wilderness story for kids, Far from Home: The Adventures of Yellow Dog comes highly recommended. Released in 1995, the movie tells the story of a boy and his dog surviving in the wilderness and it emphasizes the importance of practical skills, self reliance and the value of knowing how to survive outdoors.

Cast Away is one of Tom Hanks’ best movies, as it explores a modern day’s man ability to survive in a very hostile environment, yet it encompasses almost zero violence, which makes it perfect for kids.

Everything in this movie is centered on a Federal Express engineer whose airplane crashes into the ocean, forcing him to live in seclusion on a deserted and remote island in the middle of nowhere. This is a modern-day Robinson Crusoe’s story of survival and it’s also massive fun to watch.

The Day After Tomorrow is a catastrophic flick which depicts a world collapsing after the planet experiences a dramatic climatic shift, which results in a new ice-age (what happened to global warming?). The movie is very interesting (read special effects) as it depicts a frozen America from coast to coast, while emphasizing the importance of survival skills in sub zero temperatures, planning ahead and having good gear at the ready if SHTF.

The Day After Tomorrow is a PG-13 rated movie, but as far as I remember, there’s no violence to speak of. However, there are some scenes depicting horrific injuries, and some characters drink alcohol as a way to mitigate their sadness after watching the destruction of much of the world as they knew it.

The Impossible is a very tragic survival movie which tells the story of the 2004 Tsunami that obliterated parts of Thailand. The Impossible is focused on the survival of a tourist family in Thailand, whose members were split up in the aftermath of the disaster, making for a true story of the people who had to stay alive through an incredible SHTF event. The story is very intense and the movie is rated PG 13 due to the fact that it sometimes depicts people suffering severe injuries.

A Cry in the Wild is a nineties flick about the sole survivor (a 13 year old boy) of a plane crash that got unreported. The hero’s name is Brian and the movie is about him trying to survive in the Yukon wilderness by his own wits, as he’s all alone. Your kids will learn essential survival skills from this movie: how to find food in an outdoors scenario, how to find shelter and also how to stay away from dangerous wild animals until you’re found.

Against the Wild is a 2013 “lost in the wilderness” movie following a plane crash (this is a recurrent theme, you can’t help it) about 2 siblings (teens) and their faithful dog. The trio must learn how to trust their instincts, and how to combine their skills in order to navigate an untamed and beautiful terrain. The struggle for survival is kind of mild and pretty boring for my taste, but given the fact this is a family movie, it contains zero violence, hence it’s perfectly suitable for your kids, being filled with positive messages and having positive role models.

Life of Pi tells the story of a young man’s epic journey of discovery and adventure after surviving a disaster at sea. As he’s cast away, he makes an unexpected friend, a Bengal tiger (another survivor).

The movie is great for kids, as it makes for an emotional, intense yet beautiful story of friendship and faith, as the heroes are trying to survive against all odds. There’s virtually no explicit violence, sexual content nor strong language in Life of Pi, while its impressive CGI makes it a powerful movie that will make your kids cheer in triumph or shed a tear as the story develops.

Twister is a nineties disaster flick about a couple of storm-chasers who are trying to build a state of the art weather alert system by putting themselves in the path of violent tornadoes. While you’ll find some violence and strong language here and there, the movie is very fun to watch overall, and your kids will be taught everything there is to know about the dangers of tornadoes (read severe weather conditions).

The Blue Lagoon is a movie made in the eighties about two 7 year old cousins who survive a shipwreck and find themselves deserted on a beautiful island in the Pacific. The movie is centered initially on the basics of survival, but later on it evolves into a love story, as the marooned couple slowly discovers sex, love and loneliness in this incredibly beautiful tropical paradise.

Lost in the Barrens makes for another “lost in the Canadian wilderness” survival tale about a Cree Indian boy and a white teen working together in sweet harmony in order to get through alive.

Wall-E is one of Pixar’s best, a romantic adventure flick, filled with action and environmental subliminal messages, which makes it ideal for the young prepper. Your kids will learn the importance of recycling and scavenging in a fun way, i.e. knowing how to make the most out of your trash, survive loneliness and finding hope in a SHTF environment.

The Wave is a rare Norwegian disaster movie about an implausible SHTF scenario, i.e. a fjord collapses and creates a tsunami, with our heroes getting caught in the middle of it and trying to survive.

Flight of the Phoenix tells the gripping story of the survivors of a plane crash with zero chance of rescue, who work together as they’re trying to build a new plane in the Mongolian desert. The action takes place in a harsh (even brutal) environment, with scarce resources and it includes a self-defense scene, as our heroes are attacked by desert smugglers.

The main lesson to be learned from this movie is that strong and loyal people who are committed to working together for a common goal in a SHTF scenario will survive almost anything.

These movies are good at explaining that a major calamity might struck you when you least expect it but never giving up and always thinking positive is what matters in a SHTF situation. That’s the mindset that would help your kids survive, beside the skills that you’re teaching them!

I hope the article helped. If you have other ideas or recommendations, feel free to comment in the dedicated section below.

This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia.

It Glows in the Dark! Smitco LLC Journal Review

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My son loves art.

Whether it’s drawing, painting, or crafting, he’ll spend hours working on projects and creating crafts. This is great for me because I love to see my kids being creative and using their imaginations. We’ve got shelves full of notebooks my little guy has used to draft his crafting plans and to just write, but this week, we decided to try something a little bit different.

We had the chance to try out a SmitCo LLC journal designed for kids to use to record their thoughts, hopes, dreams, and ideas. While it’s marketed toward girls, my son found this journal to be a fantastic addition to his notebook collection. If you’ve got boys or girls who love the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, for example, you may find that this type of journal is perfect for your little ones.

Here are some key features of this journal:

  • It comes with a matching pen
  • The pages are lined and include some illustrations
  • The front of the journal lights up and blinks
  • Included is a satin pink bookmark (attached)
Do your kids like to read?
Draw?
Come up with creative ways to spend their time?
A journal like this could be a fantastic Christmas gift or just a way to encourage your child to record their thoughts and practice writing. 
Here are some more ideas for using your Smitco LLC journal:
  • Drawing pictures of your family
  • Making lists of things you want to do someday
  • Writing down story ideas
  • Creating stories
  • Writing down your thoughts after a long day
  • Drawing pictures of your favorite things
  • Recording important information
The reason I love notebooks so much is that they’re completely versatile and you can use them for literally anything. When it comes to my son, he has several notebooks he uses for different things: drawings, ideas, projects. A journal is a fantastic way to encourage critical and creative thinking in both boys and girls and is a fairly inexpensive gift for the budget-conscious shopper.
What do you think? Have you ever used a journal like this? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Note: I received a complimentary copy of a journal in order to facilitate this review. Opinions expressed are my own.

30 Classic Movies to Watch With Your Kids

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It’s getting colder out there and with winter comes more time indoors. While I love spending time outside regardless of the weather, I’ve found that it’s not always possible to go outdoors. Whether your kids are sick, have asthma problems, or just don’t tolerate the cold very well, sometimes spending time inside is a better choice.

If you’ve found that you’re stuck indoors a lot with your little ones, you might get a little bit anxious. As a parent, you’re probably concerned about letting your kids have too much time online or in front of their devices, but spending time together as you watch classic films can be a lot of fun and opens up the possibility to discuss many different topics, including:

  • How people lived during different time periods
  • Social issues that affected the story
  • Clothing and apparel during different time periods
  • Similarities between today and the past

Make sure you talk with your kids after the movie and find out what they thought and what they found most interesting! When you’re ready to get started, grab a bag of popcorn and settle in for a night of movie watching! Here are 30 classic (or at least pre-1995!) films you need to watch with your kids.

1. Swiss Family Robinson
2. Pollyanna
3. Anne of Green Gables
4. The Parent Trap
5. The Goonies
6. The Princess Bride
7. The Neverending Story
8. Free Willy
9. Dennis the Menace
10. Mrs. Doubtfire
11. Charlotte’s Web
12. Babe
13. The Fox and the Hound
14. Angels in the Outfield
15. The Secret Garden
16. Homeward Bound
17. Fiddler on the Roof
18. Little Women
19. Old Yeller
20. Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
21. Home Alone
22. Mary Poppins
23. E.T.
24. Labyrinth
25. Stand by Me
26. A Troll in Central Park
27. 3 Ninjas Kick Back
28. The Wizard of Oz
29. The Sound of Music
30. Miracle on 34th Street

Most of these films are available directly through Amazon, but many are also on Netflix

What are your must-see movies for kids?

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

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How to Teach 2nd Grade Math Without Going Crazy

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If you’ve been scratching your head trying to remember whether > means “greater than” or “less than,” this is the pots for you.

I know firsthand just how tricky teaching 2nd grade math is. Fortunately, there are a ton of resources available that will help you educate your 2nd grader without going crazy.

Whether or not you used a boxed curriculum, there are a few things that you’ll want to make sure your child masters during his 2nd grade year.

Here is what your child should learn in the 2nd grade:


-Greater than/less than
-How to use a thermometer
-How to use a ruler
-Adding more complex numbers (100s, 10s, etc.)
-Subtracting those same numbers
-Mastering counting to 100 by 10s, 5s, and 2s.
-Basic geometry
-Fractions (what is “half”?)
-Basic money identification (quarters, nickels, etc)
For even more skills that your child should learn in the 2nd grade, check out this list on IXL.

Still want a bit of guidance when it comes to teaching?

No problem!

This post is designed to help you teach 2nd grade math while keeping your cool. If you’re uncomfortable with numbers or you have a difficult time teaching math, your child will pick up on it. He’ll become even more frustrated than he was before. In order to teach math in a way that is fun, relaxing, and educational, check out these resources an tips.

Greater than/less than:


Math is Fun has a helpful chart for remembering which sign means “greater than” and which means “less than.” To simplify it even more? The arrow points at the smaller number!

You can also watch Allie the Alligator with your child for teaching greater than/less than.

How to use a thermometer


For a science and math combined lesson, check out this tutorial that discusses how you can make your own thermometer using household items.

You can also check out Step Into Second Grade and check out this teacher’s classroom project. You can create your own thermometers during an art lesson!

How to use a ruler


Visit Education.com’s free ruler printable worksheet. You can print out your own ruler and let your child measure items on the page. Don’t stop there, though! Measure other things around your house. Need some ideas? Try measuring your doorknobs, your fridge, your child’s hand, or even your pets!

Adding more complex numbers (100s, 10s, etc.)

Visit PreK-8 for some free downloadable worksheets that you can use for teaching addition.

Education.com also has a printable that you can ues.

Watch a YouTube cartoon that explains how to do double digit addition.


Subtracting those same numbers

Read the lesson on double digit subtraction at Cool Math 4 Kids. They break things down and make it SUPER easy to teach your youngster!

Check out this YouTube video that easily explains to children how to subtract from the ones column and then the tens column.


Mastering counting to 100 by 10s, 5s, and 2s.

There is a fantastic song on YouTube that shows how your child can count to 100 by 5s.

This song shows how you can count using 2s, 5s, or 10s.

Not a singer? Practice counting with your child in the car, before bed, or even while you’re eating breakfast.

Basic geometry 

Soft Schools has free geometry worksheets that you can download to use in your home school!

K-5 Math Teaching Resources has several activities that you can do to teach geometry to your student.

Fractions (what is “half”?)

Get your free worksheets to teach fractions at Math Fox. They have a huge selection of worksheets that you can easily print off to use at home.

Math-Salamanders.com also has free worksheets for talking about fractions.


Basic money identification (quarters, nickels, etc)

Check out this YouTube video for teaching about U.S. currency.

You can also check out this video on how to make your own free money game.

Looking for even more tips on keeping your cool while you teach? Check out How to Home School Your Child Without Going Crazy.

Butterfly Crafts You Can Do at Home

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Autumn is here and it’s time to start conquering some new crafts! Whether you have a preschooler, kindergartner, or a 1st grader, butterfly crafts offer a great way to spend an afternoon, to decorate your house, to spend time together, and to learn about nature. In this post you’ll find four of my favorite butterfly crafts put together by top-notch bloggers who walk you through the process of creating butterfly crafts step-by-step.

Picking things like butterfly crafts will open up discussions with your child about science and nature. Ask questions like “Where do butterflies live?” or “Why are butterflies important?” Talk with your child about the differences between moths and butterflies. You can also use this as a chance to try out new craft items. Each craft below requires different things – some use paint, some use markers, and some use scissors. Choose a butterfly craft that meets your child’s needs and that is age-appropriate for your little ones.

Two-Daloo has a fantastic post on creating an easy butterfly suncatcher. This post also includes links to other bloggers who have similar springtime Easter crafts available.

Crystal & Co shows you how you can teach your child the letter “B” with this cute butterfly craft.

Spotted Canary has an easy butterfly craft that is perfect to do with a group of kids or for a party.

Modern Handmade Child shows you how to make a cute little butterfly at home with your preschool child.

Now you’re all set to work on the letter “B” with your child! Remember to relax and have fun as you work together on your new project.

What Homeschool Moms Wish You Knew

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Home school moms still get a lot of crap from people about their educational choices. Whether it’s the weird glance from the cashier who innocently asks you, “Shouldn’t your kids be in school today?” or the comment from the mom at the park whose children attend a local private school, there are a lot of things that people don’t really understand about home school moms. Whether or not they want to understand, I don’t know. I do know that, as a home school mom, there are a few things I wish people knew about my choice and my family.

I researched my decision for years.
No one wakes up one day and goes, “I think I’m going to give up a career and that second income so that I can stay home all day long for 12 years.” It just doesn’t happen that way. For most moms, the choice to home school came gradually and was something that was researched, thought about, and prayed over. Parents who home school read books, talked to home school families, researched local schools, and poured over curriculum options before finalizing their decision. It wasn’t an overnight choice and it wasn’t an easy choice.

Home schooling is a sacrifice.
A lot of moms won’t admit this, but the choice to home educate is a sacrificial one. Whether it’s the mom of the family who home educates or the dad, someone has to stay at home with the kids. For most moms, this means giving up a career, it means giving up extra money, it means living in a smaller house, it might even mean giving up on extra luxuries in order to live off a single income. Home schooling requires your entire day, every day. While most home school parents feel like the choice was worth it, it’s not something that’s easy. In fact, there are days when it’s really, really hard.

I worry every day about my children.
Home school parents worry about their kids just like everyone else. Just because someone home educates doesn’t mean that they aren’t concerned about their child’s future or their well-being.

My kids have friends.
Home school children have friends and social lives, but to us, a distraction-free education is important. That means workbooks come first and playtime comes later.

My kid isn’t perfect, but neither is yours.
One of the hardest things about being a home school mom is when my kid makes a mistake. Immediately, the other moms look at me like, “Oh, it’s because you home school.” No, it’s because my child is four. Not all kids are perfect. Whether a child goes to school at home or in a publicly-funded building, kids are going to make mistakes. Kids are going to be shy, scared, brave, dorky, and awkward. No one’s child is perfect.

I’m not sitting at home watching television all day.
While I might be on the computer, it’s probably because we’re watching educational videos or doing research for a project. While home schooling means that I set my own schedule, it doesn’t mean that we don’t have one. Home school moms don’t just sit around watching TV all day, reading magazines, or drinking wine.

I don’t think I’m SuperMom and I don’t think that I’m better than you.
Home school moms don’t think that they’re better than other people. In fact, we’ll be the first ones to admit how imperfect we really are. We make mistakes. We screw up. But you know what? So does everyone. Home education doesn’t mean that I think I’m better than you. It just means that I’ve chosen a different form of education for my child.

I respect your decisions.
No matter how you choose to educate your child, we can still be friends. Each parent has to choose the style of education that works best for their family. Home schooling is what works for us. If public, private, or charter school education works for your kid, that’s great. Don’t try to convince me that I’m ruining my child by home schooling him. I’m not, and you’re not ruining your child, either.

Want to find out more about how home school moms manage it? Check out How to Home School Your Child Without Going Crazy.

Review: Sea Life Kansas City Aquarium

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The Kansas City Aquarium offers a fun, educational way to spend an afternoon. If you’re looking for a place you can take your kids when it’s too hot or cold to be outside, the aquarium provides an exciting place you can go to learn about sea life and underwater creatures.

Parking and arrival:
Sea Life Kansas City Aquarium is located at Crown Center in the same building as LegoLand, so make sure you check out my review on LegoLand for specific parking and ticketing information. The biggest thing to remember is that getting to SeaLife is very easy. We don’t live nearby, but had no problem locating Crown Center and finding parking.

Adventures:
Once inside the aquarium, you’re free to walk around and explore. There are signs throughout the aquarium that offer fun and interesting facts about the creatures. There are also shows and educational talks you can listen to. We missed those, but did have a chance to talk with several employees during feeding time for the fish and sea creatures, which was really fun. We learned all about how the diets for each fish are planned. There are also a couple of places where you can touch star fish, crabs, and sea urchins!

Additionally, there’s an entire room that’s wide open for kids to play in. There’s a Lego castle where kids can add and build their own Lego creations and add them to the castle. There’s also a space where you can crawl through a little tunnel and watch the fish from below.

Favorite bits:
My favorite part about visiting the Sea Life Kansas City Aquarium was learning about different underwater creatures. My family and I have been to many aquariums throughout the US, and we love to see how each center has different creatures and fun facts. I also have to point out that the staff members were super nice and friendly to us. Each person we encountered was very helpful and offered interesting information we didn’t know before.
I also loved that there are several places in the aquarium where you can stop and rest if you need to. For moms that have small children who are nursing, this makes it easy to feed your baby while you’re at the aquarium. Seniors may also appreciate that there are places where they can sit and rest on their journey through the aquarium and won’t have to stand and walk the entire journey.

Planning:
Plan to spend at least two hours at the aquarium if you go! There’s plenty to see and a lot to learn.


Have you been to this aquarium? What did you like best?

Please note: I was provided tickets to Sea Life in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not paid or otherwise compensated for my review. Opinions and pictures are my own.

Review: LEGOLAND Discovery Center Kansas City

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It’s cold and rainy, but the leaves are falling here in the Midwest, which means winter is coming! (See what I did there?) If you’re trying to find something fun, educational, and – most importantly – indoors to do with your kids this fall, consider checking out LEGOLAND Discovery Center in Kansas City. Conveniently located at Crown Center, Legoland offers an interactive adventure you and your kids are sure to love.

Parking and Arrival
It’s been a few years since I last visited Crown Center, but it was easy to find and parking was a breeze. There’s a convenient underground parking that’s really easy to use. Best of all, it’s only about a two minute walk from the Blue parking level to Legoland. Note that you’ll need to save your parking receipt. You can have it validated at Legoland, which means you can park for free for several hours! Make sure to check your validation slip to see whether you qualified for three or six free hours of parking. You’ll need both your parking receipt and your validation slip in order to get out of the parking lot.

Once we parked, finding Legoland was very easy, and check-in was a breeze. You can buy tickets to both Legoland and Sea Life at the same desk, which is super convenient. The staff members were all incredibly helpful and could answer all of my questions. They took three family photos for us, gave us directions and information about current exhibits, and then sent us on our way.


Inside LegoLand
LegoLand is really fun to access. You’ll take a Lego elevator up to the second floor, where you’ll have the chance to learn from a REAL master builder. If your kids love The Lego Movie like mine do, they’ll be excited to see a real master builder hard at work. Even cooler? They’ll get to design and create their own projects!

Each of my kids immediately got to work on their Lego projects. There’s an instructional video that shows how to use the special Lego Builder graphing paper, along with plenty of pencils. One of my kids designed a complicated Lego project he wanted to work on at home, but the other designed a small N. When he was finished, we went over to an area filled with Lego bricks and he got to design his own N based on the drawing he’d done. There are plenty of projects on display to give kids extra ideas. While the Lego projects aren’t designed to be taken home, your kids can leave their finished Lego project to show other kids who come through that day! There’s a special display shelf just for kid-made projects.

After working on creating some fantastic projects, we kept going through LegoLand. The next portion of the center was really fun: rides! There are two rides at the Kansas City Legoland Discovery Center. Both parents and children can go on these rides.

My favorite ride was Kingdom Quest. The Legoland website explains the rules of this game:

The captured Princess needs your help! Hop aboard your chariot on the Kingdom Quest ride to rescue her. Be warned, there are beastly trolls and sneaky skeletons lurking. Can you zap them all to save the Princess?

As you can guess, Kingdom Quest is definitely a ride, but it’s an interactive one. Each rider will have a laser gun they can use to shoot bad guys and Lego monsters (things like skeletons – nothing too scary!). The person who shoots the most monsters wins!

If rides aren’t your thing, there are tons of other fun, interesting Lego-themed projects and adventures! Here are just a few of those:

  • Lego karaoke
  • Lego play area (separate play area for toddlers)
  • Lego play kitchen where you can create your own Lego pizza
  • Lego pixel projects area
  • Lego racing area
  • Legends of Chima 4D movie
  • Lego cafeteria 
There was also an entire Lego room full of models of Kansas City, which was incredible to see. My personal favorite was the Wizard of Oz themed section. Inside tip: press the buttons to see your favorite movie scenes come to life!



Highlights

Here’s what my husband and sons had to say about Legoland:

“An epic adventure!” – My husband

“Epic! Epic epicness! Epic!” – 10-year-old son

“Really fun!” – 8-year-old son

We had a fantastic time at LegoLand Discovery Center Kansas City and will definitely visit again. My boys are already asking when we can go back and build things again.

If you’re ready to play your trip, check out the LegoLand Discovery Kansas City website for current times and ticket information.

Have you ever been to Legoland? What did you think? Leave me a comment and let me know!




Please note: I was provided tickets to LegoLand in exchange for a fair and honest review. Pictures and opinions expressed are my own.

Review: Colortime Markers and Halloween Tote

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My kids and I recently had the chance to try Colortime Crafts and Markers. I’d never tried fabric markers before, but my sons were excited to check out this Trick-or-Treat Halloween do-it-yourself bag from Colortime.
First off, Colortime has a ton of different products, including things like pillow cases! If you’re looking for simple, non-messy crafts to do with your kids, these are really, really easy. Those of you who have been reading The Nerdy Survivalist for awhile know that I love things that are cheap, easy, non-messy, and that don’t take up a lot of space. This craft was fantastic because we designed a bag my kids can use when they go out on Halloween, but it’s literally a tote bag, so we can also use it for going to the library or overnight sleepovers at Grandma’s house. 

When you use Colortime products, you’ll need two things: the item you want to color and markers. These typically aren’t sold together, but you can buy a variety of colors on their website. We used purple, green, and orange. The item we used also came with instructions for coloring other items, so we can reuse these markers on other bags, shirts, or even pillow cases to decorate together.

Overall, this was a completely mess-free craft that my boys both really enjoyed!

Disclosure: Colortime provided a bag and markers for us to try; however, all opinions expressed are my own.

24 Ideas for Gardening With Kids

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One of the most entertaining ways to spend time with kids is by gardening together. I love that gardening is something fun, helpful, and educational we can do together. Not only does gardening produce something valuable, but it teaches my kids real life skills they can use for years to come. If you’re a prepper, survivalist, or just a parent who wants their kids to learn valuable real-life skills, why not try gardening together? Here are some fantastic ideas you can use to garden with your kids: no special skills required!

1. Thumbprint art painted flower pots
This is a cute, fun project you can do with your kids! Create adorable flower pots for your personal garden or to give away to family members and friends.

2. Create a play garden
If your kids are interested in playing outdoors, why not create a play garden together? This website features a ton of different ideas you can incorporate to use in a personalized garden for your kids.

3. 20 school garden ideas for autumn and winter
This blog post has some incredible ideas for autumn and winter fun. You can use these with your kids at home or even in a classroom.

4. Create a garden rock caterpillar
This is a cute, simple project you can do with your kids. Consider spending an afternoon making garden rock caterpillars together that you can place in your garden. Like the painted flower pots, these also make sweet gifts.

5. Visit Kids Gardening together.
This is a really interesting website with a ton of great resources for kids about how to garden. If you’re starting from nothing and your kids have no prior gardening experience, this website provides a solid starting point.

Remember that no matter how long you’ve been gardening for, gardening with kids is its own experience. Maybe your kids will love gardening and maybe they’ll hate it, but try to focus on the fact that this offers you a great chance to spend time together and get to know your kids in a new situation. Furthermore, gardening will help your kids learn determination and planning. No matter what projects you work on together, they’ll be able to see that hard work really does pay off.

Have you ever gardened with your kids? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Gov’t Warns Dad: Your Kids Can’t Be Left Alone ‘In Or Outside The Home’ EVER

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Gov’t Warns Dad: Your Kids Can’t Be Left Alone ‘In Or Outside The Home’ EVER

Image source: Pixabay.com

Riding mass transit has been added to the list of activities that are too dangerous for our children.

In fact, one father — Adrian Cook — was investigated by social workers because his kids rode the public bus to school.

Cooks’ five kids had been riding the public bus in Vancouver, British Columbia, for two years without any problems. The father even received an email from another bus passenger praising his well-behaved children.

“So imagine my surprise when I received a call from the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD),” Cook wrote on his 5 Kids 1 Condo blog.

Following an anonymous tip, ministry case workers visited Cook’s home and interviewed his kids.

Put God Back Into History And Teach Your Kids What They Won’t Learn Anywhere Else!

Cook, who lives in downtown Vancouver and does not own a car, relies on public transit to get around. Cook taught his kids to ride the bus to be independent and self-reliant.

Public Bus Too Dangerous for Kids

“Our 45-minute bus ride is straightforward,” Cook wrote. “It begins with a bus stop visible from my living room window and ends at a stop directly in front of the kids’ school. We’ve had no issues riding the bus over the last two years, unless you count losing a cell phone or getting off a stop too early (their GPS-tracked cell phones easily resolved that).”

Despite that, Ministry social workers made Cook sign a safety plan stating his kids wouldn’t take the bus alone because they are under 12. That means Cook now must spend several hours a day escorting the kids to school and back.

Cook’s description of the MCFD’s rationale for its actions is chilling.

“The Ministry had checked with their lawyers ‘across the country’ and the Attorney General, and determined that children under 10 years old could not be unsupervised in or outside the home, for any amount of time,” he wrote. “That included not just the bus, but even trips across the street to our corner store, a route I can survey in its entirety from my living room window.”

It looks as if childhood freedom is dead in the United States and Canada.

What is your reaction? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Make a School-Friendly First Aid Kit

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first aid kitWe’ve all seen the First Aid kits you can buy at the store. Many of us have made our own. But does your child have one they can take to school without getting in trouble?

My kids go to public school. Their schools, but there is no denying that public schools have a lot of crazy rules when eating a poptart into the wrong shape (a gun, in someone else’s opinion) can get a second grader suspended, even if that wasn’t the kid’s intention.

Signed forms are required for kids to get simple over the counter allergy medicine, and the school nurse has to dispense it. A “medicated” cough drop is considered medicine and kids are not allowed to have them at school or on a school bus. A school nurse has to dispense cough drops. Seriously.

My son is very excited about emergency preparedness and wants to carry a First Aid kit wherever he goes, including school. Even in second grade, though, he knew he couldn’t have any medicine or sharp objects in school, so we set about making him a First Aid kit he could have at school.

All those crazy school rules make it harder to build a good First Aid kit. But it isn’t impossible to make school-friendly First Aid kit! It just requires thinking outside the box a bit.

Non-Medicine

Herbal remedies only require a few drops at a time and aren’t considered medicine by the average school district. That helps a lot in creating a school acceptable First Aid kit.

A contact lens case is a great place to store liquids and gels! You can buy plastic bags in any size online. Another good option is a simple drinking straw, which you can get for free at restaurants. Melt the end closed, add the liquid or gel, cut the tube short, then seal the other end. Single use size! You can even buy straws in different colors so they are color-coded.

To make a homemade rehydration solution is 1/4 tsp of salt plus 3 teaspoons of sugar added to a half liter of water. If you read the previous link, you may notice that the amounts I listed are half of what they list. That is because half liter bottles of water are extremely common and it’s easier to carry two packets than try and guess how much is half if you make the full amount. Also, little kids are, well, little. They really may just need a half liter.

Aloe gel is great for burns, including sun burns, but be aware that it can get sticky as it dries.

Essential oils would be great to include but really haven’t figured out a great, stable way to store them yet. Oils could easily interact with the plastic, altering their chemical composition or simply evaporating quickly.

If you have a great way to store and transport tiny amounts of essential oils, please share!

Non-Medicine to include:

  • Aloe: for burns, including sunburn
  • Honey: disinfect cuts (instead of Neosporin) – just make sure it’s raw, preferably local, honey
  • Cayenne pepper: add 1 tsp to 1 cup warm water and drink to stop a heart attack; help wounds coagulate (stop bleeding)
  • Rehydration solution: You can make your own with sugar and salt, or buy Pedialyte(TM) Powder if you think the school will be OK with it
  • Essential oils: there are many articles on this, choose the ones to suit your child’s needs. Companies like Young Living sell individual packets that could be very easily packed in a first aid kit.
  • Glucose tablets
  • Hand sanitizer: can also be used to sanitize objects because of the high alcohol content, and definitely school accepted
  • Salt for heat stroke

Bandages and More

There are some items that even schools allow. Bandages, for example. And tape.

  • Bandages (the link goes to novelty bandages with mustaches, bacon, and more printed on them)
  • Gauze pads
  • Paper tape
  • Moleskin
  • Plastic card, like a hotel room key, to remove stingers from bug bites
  • CPR face shield: A very small child probably can’t use this, but it can be used on older children and teens can learn CPR.
  • Non-latex gloves: Size small and large; small is for them to use; large is to be used ON THEM
  • Finger splint: A popsicle stick and tape
  • Vet wrap, in place of Ace bandages which have those terribly dangerous sharp, pointy closures (Hey, if a cough drop is dangerous, those must nearly be lethal weapons!) – Bonus: you can choose a fun color!
  • Super Glue for closing wounds
  • Small children’s safety scissors: They provide those in classrooms, after all, so they can’t be a danger.
  • Toothbrush: Use this to debride a wound
  • Syringe: irrigate a wound (I use free ones that come with medication.)
  • Face mask
  • Tick key
  • Lanyard: part of a sling
  • Electrical tape: It sticks to itself but not skin, making it great to hold gauze pads, splints, etc. in place for relatively short times

Non-Medical Emergency Items

first aid kit labeled1Some items are just good to have in an emergency. These have many uses, including potentially being cut up.

  • LED flashlight, preferably of the winding variety
  • Neckerchief/handkerchief
  • Silver emergency blanket
  • Rain poncho
  • Duct tape
  • Lotion or oil – generally of the cooking oil variety, to help if a finger gets stuck somewhere it shouldn’t be
  • Signal mirror
  • Ear plugs: this is mostly because one of mine is very sensitive to loud noise
  • Whistle: In an emergency like a tornado where a child could be trapped, this is useful for alerting emergency workers.

Stretch Items

There’s a good chance your school won’t allow these, but some may. It’s worth checking.

  • EMT Shears – scissors that, realistically, are less likely to hurt someone than even kindergarten scissors
  • Safety pins – small ones, not big horse blanket sized (although those are a great addition to a regular emergency kit or a car kit), although it’s possible schools will have an issue with this
  • Tweezers

Finishing Touches

Recently, I bought 500 small plastic bags on Amazon. In addition to Lego, they have a ton of items in our First Aid Kits. Sharpies are great to label with, but it does sometimes wear off if it gets damp. For medicine, especially herbal remedies others may not know, I write instructions on the bags as well.

Now, put them all together in a bag. Personally, I currently favor something similar to a lunch box because, unlike a bright red First Aid kit, no one will ever even notice it, and my son loves eating school lunches. If your child is a regular lunch packer, you could simply use either an old lunch box or one they don’t like to help keep them from grabbing it by accident. Another option is a pencil box.

If you prefer, you can use one of little red First Aid bags you can pick up in any pharmacy section.

Voila! A first aid kit for your child, or for your travels. Happy trails!

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Celebrating During Times Crises

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celebrate in a crisisMy family lived in Northern Alabama and experienced the April 2011 Tornado Outbreak. We saw one of the tornadoes from our front window. I worked clean up and recovery after the storms and the damage and loss was devastating for so many people. Even those of us that were spared direct damage still had to deal with days (and for some, weeks) of no power.

So, while we of course were thankful for being spared, there could have been a “mini-disaster” of our own because the day after the storms was my daughter’s 9th birthday. We were stuck at home and unable to go out for birthday fun as planned. Thankfully, I had already purchased her presents and had a dessert mix on hand so we were able to plan a last minute family celebration at home.

Now, please don’t misunderstand, missing out on a planned birthday party in NO WAY compares to the loss of property and life that was experienced due to these storms. My daughter understood what was happening and was not upset in the least by changing plans. But it made me think about a long term disaster or TEOTWAWKI event. It will be important to celebrate birthdays and holidays even in the midst of a crisis when at all possible.

My daughter’s 9th birthday is what triggered my desire to add holidays to our family preparedness plan.

Celebrate in a crisis

If we find ourselves in the midst of a pandemic, for example, and have to shelter-in-place for weeks or months, I am now prepared to still celebrate with my family on our special occasions.

  • Greeting cards for each birthday, anniversary and holiday
  • A small gift for each birthday, anniversary and holiday. Books, Mad Libs, card games, drawing books, and craft kits are great options.
  • Candy or other shelf stable treats related to each holiday
  • Stocking stuffers for Christmas. In my family that means scented hand sanitizers or lip gloss, little stuffed animals, mini Lego kits, and fun gadgets.

Rotation of these items is easy! When the birthday or holiday comes around, use what you have set aside and then buy something for the next year. I buy a bag of Halloween Candy on November 1st on sale and add it to the stash. After Valentines Day, I purchase a box of Valentine’s Cards with the candy included. Not only will my kids enjoy these, but they will have them to share with others in the neighborhood that might not have planned to celebrate.

If you find yourself in the midst of a shelter-in-place and haven’t planned ahead for some of these events, look around the house for something you can make. If you know how to knit or crochet, draw or paint, weave, make jewelry, etc, you can have supplies on hand to create a nice gift. The ability to bake cakes, cookies, or brownies and a few balloons or streamers will help create a festive occasion.  Be sure to have craft items for children so they can get involved in decorating and by making gifts for each other.

Think about the emotional boost that your family would get during a TEOTWAWKI event by doing something as simple as celebrating a birthday or having presents to open on Christmas morning. Hard times have a way of putting things into perspective and the celebrations don’t have to be huge, but taking the time to honor the person or the day can lift spirits, increase resilience, bond family members, and just produce some smiles.

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Smart Survival Strategies for Kids: Forbidden Items at School

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what to do if your kid forgets and takes a forbidden item in school

If your kid forgot a pocketknife and accidentally took it to school, what would they do?

It may not be every parent’s very worst nightmare, but it certainly ranks up there if your kids are in public school. What if your kid has a forbidden item in school? It could be an accident, or something they found that wasn’t originally theirs, especially for older kids who find something in their car or truck.

What should they do if they reach in a pocket and realize that a shell casing (garbage, to anyone who knows anything about firearms) is still there from their last hunting trip? What if, God forbid, they have a pocket knife in their backpack after a camping trip?

Medical and First Aid Supplies

One of the more popular articles on the blog recently was this one, Backpack First Aid Kit for Kids. The author listed a number of tiny, handy items that could all be contained in a small plastic container. When this was posted on The Survival Mom Facebook page, the results were shocking:

In schools around here, this would get the kid an out of school suspension. Over the counter medication of any kind has to be accompanied by a doctor’s note etc.”

Can’t do this any more. It would be taken from your child and you would go to jail for pushing drugs. We have become a stupid society.

You might be able to sneak a Band-Aid into the backpack, but nothing else. Our school district here in north Texas wouldn’t allow any of that stuff.

“It’s a great idea but it would be taken from my girls first thing. Our school doesn’t even allow the kids to bring in cough drops.

Harmless items, such as eye drops and Neosporin, may be considered illegal contraband in public schools these days, apparently! So what if your child does have one of these in a pocket, purse, or backpack, innocently and unintentionally? I’ve been known to tuck a couple of ibuprofen in a pocket, just in case.

The news is full of incidents in which kids have been suspended or expelled just for something this simple.

How should they handle this?

So, what would be a smart strategy if this happens with one of your kids?

One high school kid realized that he had left a pocket knife in his pocket after a Scout camping trip. The panicked kid faked sickness and went to the nurse saying he had to go home. His mom picked him up and took him home early and the problem was solved.

In another incident, a high school student grabbed what he thought was a can of soda on his way out the door. When he got to school, he realized it was beer and immediately turned it over to his teacher. The teacher turned him in to the principal, and the boy was suspended for 3 days and had to attend an “alternative” school for 3 months. His mother claimed he was just being honest and was punished in return.

If your child finds himself or herself in a situation like this, what would you advise them to do? Do they know how to handle it?

4 Simple Ideas For Back to School Prepping

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back to school preppingAmidst the joy of summer time swims, cold Popsicles, and sleeping in, the new school year sneaks up on us. I dread the whirlwind back to school shopping as advertisements plague the airways, and other media. I feel my wallet emptying before I even make the shopping list. Not to mention the kids exclaiming, “I want this one!”

Here are a few things I have learned to prep for back to school season. It will help save money, time, and some sanity.

School Supplies

Every year, we use the same basic school supplies. Most stores overstock these items. I’ve learned to wait until the end of the back to school rush, when the stores mark the items for clearance, then I stockpile crayons, ruled paper, printer paper, composition books, pencils, glue, etc.

Also, the teachers will love you in the middle of the year when they run out of some supplies. With the low cost, I never mind sharing from my stockpile.

My ongoing school supply stockpile also saves us a bit of money each year. With the savings, each child can pick out a few of their “must have” items without breaking the bank.

When picking out a back pack, I spend a little bit more money for one with a lifetime warranty. That way if it gets over filled and breaks a seam, I simply return it for a new one.

School Clothes

One way I save on school clothes is not to buy them only at the back to school sales. Instead I buy clothing year round. At the end of the seasons, when items are on clearance, I try to buy the next size up for the following year. This especially great for basic items like jeans, socks, undergarments, etc. (Side note on underwear: all tightie whities look the same; if you buy every male in the house a different brand, sorting laundry goes sooo much faster.)

On gift giving holidays, I buy each child a new outfit and shoes. I work it into the gift buying budget. This helps balance out the cost of clothing my ever growing brood during the year. Plus, it freshens up their wardrobe.

Online Shopping

Skip all the driving around and shop online. Scoping out deals is a click of the mouse and most websites offer free shipping over a certain amount spent.

I highly recommend Amazon Student. I sit down at the beginning of my college semester, and put in one big order for the kids and myself. With the student discounts and Amazon Prime shipping it is a double win. (Living overseas as a military wife, Amazon Prime has been a true life saver.) Another plus: I can find all my college books used and sell them back later, or I can simply rent and return books.

While online shopping I also use MyPoints.com, a free online points system resulting in gift cards, and RetailMeNot.com. You can look up any website you are shopping at and get online coupon codes. Both of these web sites yield a good return, $5-$25 on average.

Setting a Budget

The most important part of school shopping is setting a budget. Even more important is including the kids. I sit down with them, show them how a budget works, and what our plan of attack is.

They help me compile our supply list. When it comes to the actual shopping part, I usually give them a small budget of their own to buy their wants. The catch is they do the math, and I help them make conscious decisions on quality and usefulness. The rest of the list, which is mostly basics, comes from the stockpile.

Prepping for the school year can be a tedious repetitive task. Enter the new school year fully prepared by creating a small stock pile of the basic necessities. This will save you time, money, and some sanity.

back to school prepping

5 Ways to Teach Your Kids Survival Skills!

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5 Ways to Teach Your Kids Survival Skills With everything that is going on in the world today, and the fact that many children are addicted to technology, these 5 ways to teach your kids survival skills can really help to make a difference in their lives. From identifying plants to building a shelter, to … Continue reading 5 Ways to Teach Your Kids Survival Skills!

The post 5 Ways to Teach Your Kids Survival Skills! appeared first on Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

Bugging Out From School: Build a Kit and Make a Plan That Won’t Get Your Kids Expelled

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With back-to-school time approaching, have you ever thought about whether bugging out from school was something that your kids should know how to do?

A few years ago, I posed … Read the rest

The post Bugging Out From School: Build a Kit and Make a Plan That Won’t Get Your Kids Expelled appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

3 Simple Tips to Help Kids Stay Cool in Back-to-School Weather

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It’s hot out there and kids from coast to coast are going back to school. As a former classroom teacher in Phoenix, I well remember the sight of 25 sweaty, red faces coming in to class after lunchtime recess!help kids stay cool hot weather

If your kids are going back to school and you’re concerned about the heat, here are a few tips that I shared recently on The Weather Channel. They’re simple ways to help kids stay cool.

1. Overheating

Teach kids to be self-aware when it comes to overheating. When kids are outside, playing like crazy, they may very well go past the age of just sweating to full-on heat exhaustion. The next time you see them with sweaty, red faces, point out, “It looks like your body is overheating.” They have probably seen electronics overheat and then shut down. Teach them that their body is very similar. When it overheats, they need to take some time out to allow their body to cool down.

A few symptoms to know and to teach:

  • Nausea — All kids know what it’s like to feel sick to their stomachs. They’ll get the same feeling when their body becomes overheated, to the point of heat exhaustion.
  • Vomiting — An overheated kid may very well start throwing up. At that point they’re not only overheated but losing fluids as well.
  • Cramps — Sharp muscle and stomach cramps are another symptom. The next time your child experiences a cramp, be sure to give it a name, “cramp”, and let them know it’s a muscle saying, “Something is wrong!”
  • Super-thirst — When a body reaches the level of heat exhaustion, it cries out for water and more water. When a few gulps of water isn’t enough, it’s time for your child to know they need to rest and get out of the heat.
  • Dizziness — An over-heated body begins to feel light-headed and dizzy. This is another symptom that many children are familiar with.
  • Weakness — When a child feels too weak to play any longer, it’s a big warning sign that their core temperature is above normal.

As kids learn these symptoms, be sure to give them explicit permission to let their teacher, coach, or another adult know their body is over-heating. In sports, especially, kids are encouraged to, “give it your all,” but not to the point of a heat stroke! Kids need to know that they will not be in trouble for listening to their bodies’ warning signs.

2.  Shade, water, and air flow

These three are needed to create the perfect weapon against heat exhaustion. Fortunately, it’s super easy to put these pieces into play. Teach your kids to memorize these and find ways to

  • Shade
    • A simple cotton hat with a brim is ideal for providing shade that goes wherever the child goes. It can be rolled up and stored in a locker or backpack, and, if you have a Food Saver vacuum sealer, you can seal the hat into a vacuum packed bag so it takes even less room! Bonus: Wet the hat down before wearing to combine shade and water!
    • Teach kids to look for a shady spot to rest when they’re feeling overheated.
    • Bring along a large beach umbrella or a shade canopy to sporting events.
    • The proper clothing for hot weather isn’t what you’d think. Most kids will want to wear shorts and tank tops on hot days, but in fact, exposed skin will overheat far more quickly than skin that is covered in light colored, thin cotton fabric. It also helps protect against sunburn and dehydration.
  • Water
    • A bandana or similar-sized piece of cloth can be tucked into a pocket or backpack. Teach your child to wet the bandana and wear it around his or her neck for an instant cooling effect. A couple of ice cubes rolled into the fabric is even nicer on a hot day. One of these cooling neck wraps require only water to help the body stay cool. It would be a good idea to keep 1 or 2 in the car for those warm-weather breakdowns.
    • Schools will likely not allow kids to bring a spritzer bottle full of water, but do carry one to outdoor school and sports events for instant cool. Check out the Misty Mate, a portable mist system. I used to bring these to my kids’ swim meets, and in the middle of a hot Phoenix summer, they worked great.
    • Add a squeeze of a lemon or orange to your bottle of water to add a bit of flavor and Vitamin C.
    • Get each kid their own color-coded water bottle. I prefer these over the store-bought bottled water, simply because they can be refilled thousands of times.
    • Kids should drink plenty of tepid-to-cool water. Ice water can cause stomach cramps when a child is overheated. Add a few slices of strawberries, apples, and other fruit for an instant hydrating treat.
  • Air Flow
    • It’s probably been a while since you saw an old-fashioned collapsible hand fan, but these do a great job for helping a body stay cool. They can be found at import stores and online. Bonus: They make a great low-tech addition to any emergency kit!
    • Small battery-powered fans don’t take up much room but when combined with shade and water, can go a long way toward avoiding heat exhaustion. If you make no other purchase, buy one or two of these. Not only are they super-handy because they’re so portable, but they are also an invaluable prep for power outages.
    • Teach kids to watch for signs of breezes in trees and other greenery. Sometimes nature provides the ultimate in low-tech air flow!

3. Time

Be aware of how much time is needed for a body to cool down. If your child is just sweaty and red-faced, they may need just a few minutes in the shade and some water before they’re ready to continue. However, a child who is exhibiting the more advanced stages of heat exhaustion will need far more time for their core body temperature to normalize.

If your child reaches that point, immerse them in a tub of tepid water for at least 20-30 minutes. Be sure their head is also immersed in the water. If they show signs of losing consciousness or begin convulsing, call 911 immediately.

Kids can easily learn these signs of overheating and simple strategies to stay cool.

TIP- Discover ways to save on electricity and stay cool when it is hotter than hell outside!

Teaching Your Kids Survival Skills, Just Like They Did In The Old West

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Teaching Your Kids Survival Skills, Just Like They Did In The Old West

Those of us who have kids must take them into consideration in our survival planning. As parents, we want to protect our children from harm, which could very well cause us to do everything for them. But in doing so, we can inadvertently create a more dangerous situation for them.

Granted, all children need to be protected, especially small children. But as they grow, they need to learn the skills which allow them to become more independent. Please note that this is different than just being granted independence; it’s not about authority, but rather skills and knowledge.

In the Old West, children were given as much responsibility as they could bear. This required parents knowing their children and what their limits were. It also required the parents to train their children, giving them the skills and knowledge to be able to effectively fulfill those responsibilities. This also meant having the character to do the chores, without mom and dad having to get after them.

When Mom and Dad Are Gone …

But the real test of a child’s responsibility was when they were left alone. While this did not happen very often, there were times when it did, especially in the case of a single parent (where the other parent had died). But what would happen to the children if the single parent died while away from home? There were countless dangers in the Old West, ranging from marauding Native Americans to wild animals. Death could happen at any time, and when it did, the children were left alone.

Turn Drive Time Into Fun-Filled, History Time With Your Kids!

How long they would be left alone would depend a lot on the circumstances. If something happened to someone who lived in town, it would be noticed immediately. But for those who lived on isolated homesteads, it could be days or even weeks before anyone was aware that children were being forced to live on their own and care for themselves. Only then would the community rally around to help them.

Parents wanted to avoid such a situation. They wanted to train their children so that if something happened to them, their children would be able to care for themselves and survive. This caused children to grow up fast on the frontier, learning skills that we would normally avoid teaching our children until they were much older.

At 10 years of age, most children knew how to start and tend a fire, care for the livestock, work the farm, and shoot a gun accurately. Some would have the responsibility of hunting for the family’s food. Others would be working alongside their parents, tilling and harvesting the fields. There were no idle hands on the frontier.

But Not Just the Old West

Teaching Your Kids Survival Skills, Just Like They Did In The Old WestA survival situation would probably be much like the life they had on the frontier. As such, the same need to train our children would be imperative.

To a child, many of the things we would consider survival skills are exciting and fun to learn, giving them the motivation to learn, without having to know why they are learning them. Let’s use the example of teaching them gardening and animal husbandry, important skills for long-term survival. So, you start gardening and get some animals to raise, having your children work right along beside you. With the animals, that will be no problem, as most children naturally gravitate toward animals anyway, especially small ones. With gardening, most kids love to get their hands dirty.

Crazy Gadget Makes Every Window A Cell Phone Solar Charger

Shooting is probably the easiest skill of all to teach your children, as they usually have a fascination with guns, anyway. Besides, if you’re going to have guns in the home, you should start teaching them about gun safety at an early age. That’s the only real way of protecting them from accidents. If they are too young for real guns, start them with Nerf guns or Airsoft. Then you can move them up to pellet guns, before taking the big step up to the real thing.

Most other survival skills can be taught on camping trips. If you make camping a normal part of your family’s recreation early on, your children will grow to love it. Each trip can be planned around one lesson: teaching them a new survival skill, but talking about it as a “camping skill” rather than as a survival skill.

Tap into the natural curiosity and sense of adventure that your children have. Use their questions about life and things that they learn in school as a springboard for teaching them new survival skills, whenever you can. In other words, make survival training a part of your day-to-day life and your children will see it as normal — not something with ominous potential.

What advice would you add on teaching kids survival skills? Share your thoughts in the section below:

7 Reasons to Bug Out in the First Wave

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One of the more challenging decisions you may be faced with is when to bug out. A lot of us who consider ourselves seasoned preppers with a good number of survival skills might be tempted to wait until the last minute because we’re not convinced the situation is so dire that we couldn’t survive. Also, admit it, we don’t want to look foolish in front of our friends and neighbors if the crisis turns out to be a big, fat nothingburger.

However, if any of the following scenarios are a part of your life, it would be prudent to be in that first wave of people heading out of town.

  1. You have a loved one with special needs. Recently I became acquainted with a middle-aged, single lady who lives with her elderly parents. Her father has dementia and her mother has mobility and health issues. She, herself, uses a CPAP machine. I wondered if this family would make it if they ever had to evacuate their home or city, as they live deep in hurricane country. Packing up medical equipment, remembering which prescriptions to pack (and then getting refills if necessary), and helping elderly and ailing loved ones into a vehicle is going to take time, along with energy and physical strength.
  2. There’s a baby in the family. Similar scenario. When I think of the road trips we took when our kids were little, the logistics were nearly mind-boggling. The strollers, toys and other diversions, the travel cribs, diapers, breast-feeding paraphernalia, blankets, clothes and then even more clothes — the list goes on and on. You can’t fully pack what you need to evacuate when you have an infant unless you have plenty of time. In that case, start your bug-out prepping a few days before you think you might actually need to leave.
  3. You have kids. Infants or not, kids are going to slow you down, guaranteed. When they’re little, they won’t be able to find their left shoe or they have a meltdown because it’s time to watch Sesame Street. When they’re older, they’re going to argue and question everything — why do we have to leave now? Can I take my best friend? I have to text my girlfriend/boyfriend first. And on and on and on. Then, once you hit the road, there will be frequent potty stops, “You need to burn off some of that energy” stops, and before you know it, you’ve been on the road 8 hours and have driven only 100 miles. So, yes. If you have kids, plan on bugging out at least a couple of days earlier than you might otherwise.
  4. You have nowhere to go. Think about it. If you wait too long to evacuate, you’ll be competing with thousands of other people for scarce hotel rooms, campsites, etc. If you don’t have any bug out location in mind, and let’s face it, that applies to most preppers, then by getting out on the road early you’ll have first dibs at the best locations. (By the way, take a look at sites like Airbnb and Vacation Rentals by Owner for places to stay in a pinch. Both require deposits of varying types and dollar amounts, but if you really do have nowhere else to go and don’t care to live out in the wilderness with the wife and all the kids, these might be a much better option.) This book, by The Survival Mom, has a list of some very creative bug-out location options and expert advice for planning an evacuation.
  5. There’s a chance you may not be able to return for a very long time. In this case, you’ll need time to pack several month’s worth of supplies. Not necessarily months worth of food — you can buy more wherever you’re headed, but you’ll want to pack clothes for different seasons, maybe homeschooling supplies, and important documents (marriage license, professional resume/certifications for future employment, medical records, birth certificates, insurance policies, financial papers, etc.). You may also want to liquidate such things as insurance policies, retirement funds, and investments, and possibly sell things to add to your cash stash. Wherever you end up, you’ll need funds to survive until you can get another job. All this is going to take a good deal of time, so once you’ve made the decision that you’ll need to leave and may be gone for many weeks, get started and then move out.
  6. You have pets and/or livestock to care for. On one cross-country move we had 4 cats and an elderly incontinent dog with us. Good times. It wasn’t easy to find hotels that were THAT pet friendly, and we had to make sure we packed their food, water/food dishes, disposable litter boxes, and litter. Abandoning our animals is unthinkable — first, I’d have to fight off the kids and wife, but second, and more importantly, those animals then become someone else’s problem, and that isn’t fair to anyone. If you have animals to consider, then you need to make those plans and preps right now to either take them with you or find somewhere for them to stay until the emergency has passed.
  7. You’re going to be part of a larger caravan. The more people who are involved in anything, the more likely there will be delays. We learned this with a sports team carpool recently. All it took was for one kid or one parent to wake up a few minutes late or unable to find their uniform to make the whole lot of us to arrive late to practice. This truth is going to be multiplied exponentially when your group is under extreme duress. This bugging out isn’t a rehearsal — it’s the real deal. You can bet a paycheck that once adrenaline sets in, some won’t be thinking straight, mistakes will be made, arguments over minutiae will slow everything down. So, as soon as you and yours are all set to go, head over to the group’s meet-up place, even if you arrive a few days early.

As always, the big question is, “How do you know when it’s time to bug out?” You may want to head over to our partner blog, The Survival Mom, and read this series of articles about when to know it’s time to bug out, as adviced by folks such as Jim Cobb, James Rawles, Claire Wolfe, The Apartment Prepper, and a dozen or so others. This article by Howard Godfrey contains more good advice.

The post 7 Reasons to Bug Out in the First Wave appeared first on Preparedness Advice.

9 Tips to Avoid the Summertime Prepping Slump

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It’s so easy for the hot, lazy days of summer to just sort of run into each other in a haze of heat and laziness. Then the day arrives when it’s time once again to get the kids ready for school, and we ask, where did the summer go?

If your prepping goals have taken a break right along with your pledge to have the kids do daily math drills and read for at least 30 minutes every day, then here are a few prepping activities and tips to avoid the summertime prepping slump.

1.  Get the kids involved in prepping activities

If they’re sitting around the house doing nothing, then they can help you prep! Children can fill canning jars, mylar bags, and buckets with dry goods and oxygen absorbers. They can help weed the garden and pick ripe fruits and vegetables. They can wash and prepare produce for canning and dehydration. Kids can go through their closets and drawers and pull out toys they no longer play with and clothing that no longer fits.

Hey, every time they say they’re bored, give them a prepping related task, like the ones on this list! They’ll have something productive to do and you’ll accomplish your prepping goals more quickly.

2.  Learn something as a family

Check out online calendars for craft stores, REI, Cabela’s, gyms, and your city’s summertime offerings. Many of these are survival and/or prepping related, such as learning how to read a compass, learning how to crochet or sew, etc. and very often these classes are free.

If these resources aren’t readily available to you, then check out a how-to book or watch some how-to YouTube videos on something your family would like to learn and do it yourselves!

TIP: Browse through my Skill of the Month page for dozens of ideas that will appeal to all members of your family!

Or, ask around and see if there is someone in your circle of friends and acquaintances who has a skill you would like to learn and is a willing teacher.

3.  Turn a family outing or vacation into survival training!

Camping, hiking, fishing — those are all survival related, fun, and everyone can be involved. Check out these articles with more information about enjoying the great outdoors, as a prepper:

7 Summer Children’s Activities for Sowing Survivalist Seeds

25 Things I Learned From Long-Term Camping

A Camping Skill Basic: Safe Fire Building

Camping is More than Just Equipment — Here is a list of skills you need to have

Make This Summer a Family Camping Summer

Survival Mom Camping-Survival Secrets

And then there’s my series on family road trips. As a veteran of some 16,000 highway miles, I consider myself to be somewhat of an expert in this area!

Eating On the Road: A Family Road Trip Survival Plan

Survive the Family Road Trip With These 13 Tips

Surviving the Family Road Trip

4.  Check into summer day camps related to prepping

Two summers ago my kids learned rifle skills in a 2-day camp at a local gun range. Lots of towns and cities start the summer with directories of these day camps.  If your kids are in a day camp or have gone away to camp, learning some sort of practical skill, then you’ll have time to either take a nap, read a relaxing book (just for fun!), or do anything else you like! Free time for mom is necessary!

5.  Amass produce in quantities and begin canning and dehydrating

Summer is prime produce time. Even if your garden was a flop or you didn’t get certain items planted, there are probably local gardeners and farmers who would love to share their bounty. Some might even be willing to trade a portion of their harvest for a portion of yours.

Bountiful Baskets is a large produce co-op that operates in many states. Do an internet search for “produce co-ops” in your area and you may end up finding a source of delicious, fresh product that you can then preserve for later.

Here are a few resources I’ve accumulated here to help you with canning different foods;

Once you have a good amount of green beans or tomatoes or whatever, make a simple plan for canning, dehydrating, and/or pickling. If your kids are whining about being bored, then you know who your helpers will be!

6.  Get away from the electronics!

Nothing zaps energy faster than sitting in front of a TV or computer screen hour after hour. Not only is time wasted but our minds and bodies become accustomed to inaction and it becomes even hard to get up and start doing something!

Allow yourself and the kids only a certain number of minutes per day in front of a screen.

7.  Take a few minutes to make lists to organize your prepping activities

A lot of time we find ourselves in a slump because we’re unfocused and are not sure what to do next. I’ve found that when I have all my scattered goals written down, it helps immensely.

Three lists that have helped me stay organized and focused on my preps are To Learn, To Do, and To Buy. From my book, Survival Mom:

List #1: To Learn
On this list you’ll keep track of skills and knowledge you realize will be important. A few examples on my own list are: Learn to tie various knots and know when to use them; work on creating recipes from my food-storage ingredients; and push my knitting skills to a higher level and knit a pair of socks.

Interestingly, many items on this list won’t cost a dime. If your budget is already strained, and buying even a few extra cans of tuna is a stretch, put more time and energy into learning skills, gaining knowledge, and seeking out other Survival Moms as resources.

List #2: To Do
Here’s another list that doesn’t have to empty out your bank account. Have you been meaning to compile all your important documents or inventory a garage filled with tools? Do you need to prepare your garden for the spring season?

There are simply dozens of things we intend to do, but they flicker in and out of our minds and are then . . . gone! As you read this book, start adding tasks to a To Do list and keep track of what you accomplish. It’s very empowering to see progress, although you will likely never have an empty To Do list!

List #3: To Buy
Although Lists 1 and 2 will keep you busy, there’s really no way around List 3. Stocking up on food, extra toiletries, good quality tools, and other supplies requires money. However, the good news is that a master To Buy list will help set priorities, keep you on budget, and even provide a shopping list when hitting the garage sale circuit.

Without a To Buy list, you may very well find yourself (a) spending money on things you later discover tucked away in a back cupboard or (b) snatching up purchases in a panic. This list helps save money as well as time.

8.  Assess whether or not the emotions that started your prepper journey have changed

If we begin a project or set a goal based mostly on emotion, when that emotion fades, and it will, very often our motivation fades as well. If you began preparing out of fear or panic, it’s likely that you’re not as motivated as you once were.

That’s all perfectly normal. However, if the logical part of your brain is convinced that prepping is important to the well-being of your family. You’ve just entered a new level of motivation based on rational conclusions. This is where lists come in handy: To Do, To Learn, To Buy. They’ll help you stay focused on what is most important regardless of the current state of your emotions.

9.  Start making plans and goals for when the kids are back in school

Summers are wonderful but let’s face it. When the kids return to school, so do routines. Having a predictable schedule once again will help you set priorities, focus on achieving small prepping goals, continue with prepping activities, and become the Super Survival Mom of your dreams!

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Summer Jobs for Teenagers: Responsibility & Dedication Building Blocks

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Whether you consider yourself a prepper, a survivalist or are simply striving to be self-sufficient, the basic building blocks for all these are responsibility and dedication.

We teach young children these things through chores, extra-curricular activities, positive reinforcement and most importantly, by example. As children grow older, it is important to encourage them to be responsible and develop a life-long commitment to hard work.

In short, push those teenagers to get summer jobs!

Strict child-labor laws exist to ensure the safety and well-being of minors in the workforce so be sure to read up on those before nudging your teen to get a job. Generally, 16 is the age required to obtain employment without special work permits.

Some Chick-fil-A restaurants hire teens as young as 14 or 15.

However, other restrictions may still apply for those under 18 or even 21 years of age such as: working in a retail establishment that sells tobacco or alcoholic products, industrial businesses that operate heavy machinery or locations that may handle hazardous materials. Visit the Department of Labor website for more information on youth labor laws and be familiar with laws specific to your state as well.


Great beginner Summer Jobs


Mowing Yards/Lawn Care

Lawn care is a great way for teens to turn summer chores into summer cash. By the teenage years, your teen may already be mowing the family lawn and have years of experience helping mom pull weeds.

Parental Considerations:

  • What type of lawns you will permit your child to mow? Are you okay with your teen mowing steep hills, large acreage, etc.?
  • Who provides equipment? Are you willing to allow your teen to tote your Lawn-Boy all over town or do you prefer they find clients who provide their own mowers?
  • What type of lawn care is not acceptable? Are you okay for your child to use weed killers, pruning equipment, etc.?

Washing Cars

Washing cars is generally a fun way to make money for the teen circuit. A small initial investment may be required to purchase items needed such as cleansers, brushes, and towels or start off with an all-inclusive beginner kit such as Armorall’s Car Cleaning Kit  and build on product as you go.

 Parental Considerations:

  • Sun Safety – Make sure your teen understands the dangers of the sun and takes special precautions to be protected.
  • Attire – Discuss the importance of being professional and how working in a bikini may not be appropriate.
  • Discuss with your teen what they should offer based on their capabilities and availability. Detailing the inside of a vehicle requires a lot more work than hosing down the exterior and should be charged accordingly.
  • Give your teen a business boost by purchasing their start up product for them or consider having them pay back half once they have a few jobs under their belt. Discuss with them the importance of setting back a little ‘working capital’ that will be needed to replace expendable supplies.

Local Farms & Greenhouses

Farms and greenhouses are always looking for extra help and cheap labor during the peak summer season and this could be a great summer job for teenagers. Some will advertise for summer help and others may pass the word along through the grapevine. Do not be afraid to mention on social media sites or make phone calls to your friends and family that your teen is interested in finding some outdoor work.

Some farms/greenhouses may have always had their own children and/or children of other family members and friends help them out, but as life gets faster, help gets harder to find. Don’t be afraid to ask the clerk at your favorite farmer’s market or plant stand if they need any summer help or know of anyone who does.

Parental Considerations:

  • Sun Safety – Make sure your teen understands the dangers of the sun and takes special precautions to be protected.
  • Hydration – Farming/Gardening is hard and dirty work. Be sure your teen packs plenty of water to stay hydrated throughout the long, sweaty day. Consider making Frozen Neck Wraps to help stay cool in the blazing summer sun.
  • Realize the outstanding prepping potential and self-sufficiency skills this type of work brings.

Local Pool Summer Jobs for Teenagers

If your town has a pool, aquatic center or water park, then they will always need lifeguards and concession workers. Local watering holes may advertise for their summer help, but if you missed the boat, check with your local city council or village hall to be directed to the right contact to apply.

Parental Considerations:

  • Sun Safety – Make sure your teen understands the dangers of the sun and takes special precautions to be protected.
  • Lifeguard training and certification can be pricey and classes are few and far between. However, the inconvenience can be well worth the effort as lifeguards are often in short supply. Check with your local YMCA or Red Cross to be directed to lifeguard training and certification classes near you.
  • With this training and certification, young people can help coach swim teams or give private swim lessons. These are both for-pay positions.

Babysitting

Babysitting has always been a popular job for teens and is no longer reserved for Friday and Saturday nights. During the summer months, teens can land a babysitting job taking care of younger children while mom and dad are at work.

Babysitting today is way beyond the cliché image of a teen girl chatting on the phone while the little ones destroy the house in the background. Today, it is common to find that parents want a sitter who can not only care for their child, but also provide an enriched environment that includes age-appropriate games and learning activities that keep the child engaged throughout the day.

The American Red Cross provides different levels of babysitter training and pediatric first aid to help prepare older teens and adults to provide the best child care.

Parental Considerations:

  • Clientele – Who will you allow your teen to sit for? Friends, family, neighbors or others?
  • How many children and what age(s) do you feel your teen can handle?

Dog Walking and Pet Sitting

Another oldie but goodie! Plaster a few flyers in areas common for dog walking, land a few clients, build a schedule that works for everyone and get to walking. Be sure to schedule a preliminary meeting between pooches if walking more than one dog at a time to be sure they get along to avoid potential dangers.

Vacationing families very often need a pet-sitter. This could be a viable and profitable option for older teens who can drive to their clients’ homes and are responsible enough to spend the night, if necessary, while the family is away.

Some Red Cross locations offer Pet First Aid classes, but if that’s not available, there’s a great pet first aid app for smartphones.

Parental Considerations:

  • Safety – What locations are okay for your teen to walk safely alone?
  • What breeds are forbidden and is your teen strong enough to control each dog?
  • Is your teen okay with properly handling and disposing of the doggie bags?
  • Is your teen mature and responsible enough to manage one or more pets in a household without supervision?

Local Aid Agencies

Check with government agencies such as your county Department of Job & Family Services or Community Action. Places such as these may offer junior training programs. Teens are placed with partners throughout the county for job training and experience and are paid the state minimum wage. Typical jobs through these kinds of programs may include:

  • Placement with local town or city maintenance crews mowing, weed eating, watering flower gardens, etc.
  • Working with nearby schools and their summer janitorial staff.
  • Placement with other government agency offices learning office fundamentals such as filing, answering phones, data entry, customer service, etc.

Food Service & Retail

Working in the food service or retail industry is a great way to add job experience to a teenage resume and openings are often plentiful. Fast food restaurants and pizza joints are often brimming with teenage employees and usually willing to hire those with no prior employment history.

However, the work can be downright dirty. Those entering the food service industry must be willing to clean public restrooms and greasy equipment as well as deal with numerous amounts of local patrons. Flexibility is typically a little tougher with these first-time jobs as your teen will be at the bottom of the totem pole and the establishment will have specific operating hours needing coverage.

Parental Considerations:

  • The Public – All walks of life may come in contact with your child and often times, have access to their name.
  • Is your teen mature enough to work in team-oriented environments in a professional and adult manner?

Overall Parental Considerations

  • Transportation for non-driving teens or driving teens without a vehicle:
    • Are you willing to help get them to and from work on time?
    • Will they have access to mom or dad’s car to transport themselves?
    • Are you able to help with transportation if it conflicts with your own work schedule?
  • Are you willing to accept your teen’s responsibility to work as scheduled when it comes to summer family events such as reunions, vacations and picnics?
  • Understand that many jobs are cash money such as babysitting and washing cars and therefore may not meet the minimum wage. Do not expect your teen to enter the work force with a high-paying salary but be sure they are paid a fair and honest wage for fair and honest work.
  • If your child is still too young for summer employment, pay attention now to where you see teens currently working so you have a better understanding later where to begin, and begin teaching them basic job skills at home, such as cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms, making change, and telephone communication skills.

Be sure to talk about the importance of employment with your child. Make sure your teen understands that they are to behave in a mature manner and be responsible. Express the importance of being punctual, staying off devices and working hard.

Teenagers will be introduced to a new level of accountability beyond the classroom and consequences could result in loss of employment and an early black mark in ways of references for future job considerations. Discuss with them how to handle any potential conflict in the work place and to respect co-workers; including those who may have different life-styles, beliefs and personalities.

Most importantly, teach your teen how to handle their new financial gain responsibly and provide an ample amount of positive reinforcement as they embark on this new journey.

Would you like fries with that?

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Five Ways To Teach Your Kids Situational Awareness

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Five Ways To Teach Your Kids Situational Awareness What we do with kids and how our preparedness lifestyle effects them is a tricky situation. There is a magic in being a kid and its very important that we do not extinguish that magic. The world will dump gallons of reality on that flame, don’t you …

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Summer Travel Safety Tips

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Summer is here!

Are you planning on taking a road trip or family vacation? Remember that prepping doesn’t just apply to surviving the apocalypse. It’s important to take precautionary measures even when you’re taking a trip.

Before you take off on your family vacation, here are a couple of things to think about.

Plan your route
Even if you plan to use GPS on your vacation, make sure you plan your route out ahead of time. Print directions and maps from your computer in case you find your GPS isn’t working. Sometimes when you’re driving through long, wide-open stretches of road (I-70, anyone?) or large cities, GPS becomes unreliable. Have a backup plan.

Bring chargers
Whether your kids love to play on their Nintendo DS game systems or their tablets, consider packing a portable battery charger. You can also use this for your cell phone. I like this one:
Anker PowerCore 10000, One of the Smallest and Lightest 10000mAh External Batteries, Ultra-Compact, High-speed Charging Technology Power Bank for iPhone, Samsung Galaxy and More

I purchased this battery charger before my family moved overseas. We had 17 hours of flying, so I wanted to make sure we’d be able to use all of our devices. I’m happy to say that two years later, I still use this every day and it works just as well as it did when I bought it.

Stay hydrated
One of the biggest dangers with traveling during the summer is dehydration. Drink plenty of water each day and pack water bottles for your kids to drink on the trip. If you’re busy having fun, you might not notice you’re becoming dehydrated until it’s too late. Stay aware and in charge on the journey.

Summer PREP School: 48 Survival Skills for Kids to Learn This Summer!

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About the only survival skills kids seem to have these days is how fast they can text on their phones, so why not broaden their horizons and send them to PREP School this Summer? There are dozens of survival skills for kids and summertime is the perfect time to learn them.

As tempting as it might be to have the I-Pad babysit your kids, why don’t you print off the list below and have them learn some Survival Skills?

If they learn and cross off 4 skills a week during the 12 weeks they are off from school, they will complete the entire list before school starts back up. You can even give incentives for each one they master and hold your own graduation at the end!

Some of these survival skills you might think your child isn’t ready for (which may be true), but you also might not be giving your child enough credit. My 5 year old can do each of these to some extent. So depending on how old your child, is you can make these more or less challenging. Plus, who knows? You might learn a few new skills yourself!

Some of these 48 Survival Skills Kids Can Learn are around-the-house skills, others are knowledge, and still others are actually making things. You can download the list here.

Around the House

  1. Cook and Feed Themselves – Depending on your child’s age, they should be able to cook a basic meal using ingredients from the pantry. Find opportunities to have your kids in the kitchen cooking with you! They can help stir, dump ingredients in a mixing bowl, and find the correct measuring spoon.
  2. Make a Meal Plan – Who says this is just Mom’s job? Let your kids have a crack at putting together a menu. You can even let them experience the joys of grocery shopping and coupon clipping, too. If nothing else, this will help them appreciate Mom more, and this article about meal planning
  3. Money Management – Too bad most adults don’t know anything about this skill – some still use their parents as a personal ATM. If your kids learn this skill while they are young, just imagine the impact on the rest of their lives (and yours)!
  4. Basic Hygiene (w/o running water) – If you really want to put survival to the test, turn off the water and find other ways to brush your teeth, take a shower, or even go potty.
  5. Wash Clothes – Bonus points if they do it by hand on a washboard, but every kid should at least learn how to spot their clothes, wash, dry, hang-up, and the hardest part, put them back in their closets and drawers!
  6. Memorize Contact Info – Do your kids know their address, phone number, parent’s name, or even their last name? This is something they need to know, because you never know when your family might become separated. If they are too young to learn them, consider putting contact info on a bracelet or necklace they can wear.
  7. Get a Job – Nothing teaches kids a work ethic and responsibility faster then getting their own job. They don’t have to drive or be 16 for this survival skill either. They can mow lawns, pet sit, babysit, do odd jobs for neighbors, or even work for Mom or Dad.
  8. Non-Electric Alternatives – I never realized how practically EVERYTHING I use requires electricity in some form until the power went out for 3 days in our area. Make a list of all the things you use on daily a basis that require electricity and find an alternative for each. Make a game out of it and have a No-Electricity Day and see if you have major withdrawals.
  9. Operate a Generator – If you have a generator, have the kids learn how to properly care for and operate it. It’s good to make sure HENgetbusylivingarticleit’s working properly BEFORE you need it.
  10. Take Care of Animals – Taking care of animals can teach children a lot – responsibility, compassion, and even where food comes from. Kids can pet sit, visit a farm, or even have an animal of their own. (Chickens, anyone?)
  11. Escape From a Window – Maybe this isn’t exactly a skill you want your kids to master, but it’s an important fire safety skill. They should know how to escape safely and without breaking any bones, especially from a 2nd story window. Be sure to add a couple of practice sessions for something this important.
  12. Learn Car Maintenance – It doesn’t matter if your kid is driving yet. I hand mine the mini vacuum and make them clean all the snacks they crush into the seats. You don’t have to be a mechanic to help your child learn how to check the tire pressure and put air in them, check the oil, or even how to ask for help in AutoZone. In the long run, properly maintained vehicles save you money, and doing it yourself saves even more.
  13. Have Chores – Just like mom and dad have jobs, kids need to have some everyday responsibility within the family. Moms shouldn’t be the maid (I tell mine that on a daily basis). Kids can help pull their weight by doing dishes, taking care of the lawn, picking-up their rooms, and so much more. Don’t take away the sense of accomplishment your kids will get from having chores.
  14. Decide on a Code Word – Does your family have a code word for – “please help now” or “someone is threatening me but I can’t say anything with them standing right here?” If not, take some time to come up with a code word, or a even a few with different meanings in case you ever find yourself in a sticky situation!

Outside & Physical Fitness Survival Skills for Kids

  1. Learn Archery – I didn’t realize at what a young age kids could pick up archery, but our kids recently got bows and are already better than I am (which doesn’t say much). They enjoy it and it’s a skill that could really come in handy if you’re ever abandoned in the woods.
  2. Explore Nature – It’s embarrassing to admit, but some days we don’t step outside once. Kids can’t learn about their surroundings if they never have a chance to explore them. If you need ideas on exploring nature take a loot at these 31 Ways to Help Your Child Get Outdoors!
  3. Split Wood – If you need a fire to cook food  or to help you stay warm, you’re going to need some wood! Learn how to split wood properly before the kids sneak an ax and try doing it themselves.
  4. Defend & Protect Themselves – I have small kids and I constantly worry about them getting picked-on at school, so teaching them when and how they can protect themselves is a must. Find a self-defense class, sign them up for karate or another martial art, or discuss with them what they should do if caught in a bad situation.
  5. Ride a Bike – Take some opportunities to help your child learn to ride a bike if they haven’t already. Take them to an open parking lot, work on pedaling, or even get a fun glider bike if they need help learning how to balance. Not only is this great exercise, but it helps your kids realize there are other ways to get around without Mom’s taxi service!
  6. Start a Fire – Knowing how to start a fire is a must in any survival handbook. Go ahead and teach your kids the proper ways to start fires before they attempt to do this unsupervised in your back yard (like mine)!
  7. Go Camping – Even if you just go camping in your backyard, their are numerous survival skills you can learn. Camping requires you to have food, ways of cooking it, somewhere to sleep, and so much more. It’s a great way to practice and see how ready you really are.
  8. Grow a Plant – Last year we planted a watermelon seed my child brought back from school and I was a little surprised how well it actually grew.  The day we were able to eat the watermelon he had taken care of was priceless. Since then our children have gotten more into gardening and they take so much pride in growing and eating their own food.
  9. Stage a Mock Evacuation – What is a real threat in your area? Tornados, fires, hurricanes, floods, or something else? Go ahead and stage a mock evacuation where your family has to get ready to leave in a hurry! You might learn a lot about your family and what they value.
  10. Fitness – Being fit is much more than looking good, it’s having the endurance to walk or hike long distances. Try planning a hike for your child while they carry their own bug out bag or emergency kit. This is good training to see how much they can handle, or if you need to lighten their load.
  11. Learn to Swim – With swimming season approaching water safety is a must! The best way to feel comfortable around or near water is to learn how to swim. There are even classes for babies that will help them know how to float on their backs until help arrives, and once your child is old enough, sign him or her up for swim team. Help your child be a strong swimmer. This is a skill they will use their entire life.
  12. Know How to Hunt & Fish – Being able to get your own meat by hunting or fishing is one of the ultimate survival skills. Sometimes it’s difficult to find places to hunt, but you can usually find a lake or pond nearby to at least go fish. Give your child some opportunities and help them process the meat afterwards.
  13. Purify a Glass of Water – Do you have any filters and purifiers? Have you ever put them to the test? Try actually getting water from a different source other than the home faucet and see if you can properly filter and purify a glass of water.
  14. Navigate Surroundings – We are so accustomed to just asking our phone to navigate us where we want to go, does your child even know how to use a map? Better yet, do you even own a map of your area? It might come in handy when power is down and you need to get around. If you’re really fancy, practice using a compass or even the stars to navigate.

Actually Make Things

  1. Make an Every Day Carry (EDC) BagEDC bags aren’t just for adults. Kids can fill their pockets or carry a bag with important essentials too. If you need ideas for putting one together, you can find tips for creating one here.
  2. Make Their Own Emergency Binder – Kids are never too young to start preparing for the future and make their own grown-up Grab-n-Go Binder! They can start filling it with recipes they enjoy, survival skills they are learning (or want to learn), important documentation and more.
  3. image by andy coan

    debris hut – image by Andy Coan

    Make a Paracord Survival Bracelet – Having 8-10 feet of  colorful paracord with you at all times could really come in handy, especially in a survival situation. Go ahead and help your child make their own Paracord Survival Bracelet this Summer as well as other paracord projects.

  4. Make a Powerless Cooker (& try cooking on it) – Help teach your kids there are other ways to cook your food besides the microwave by making an alternative cooking method. They get bonus points if they actually make a meal with it afterwards!
  5. Have Basic Sewing Skills – How about learning some basic sewing skills so if your child ever had to make their own poo wipes or needed a wonder oven they could sew it? Sewing skills come in handy for much more then mending clothes.
  6. Use Hand Tools –  Does your child know how to use any of the countless tools lying around in the garage, or even better do you? How about dusting them off, or getting them their own small set of tools? They can learn how to do basic repairs, hang pictures on their wall, or if they really want a challenge, they can build their own bow!
  7. Entertain Themselves without Electricity – I’m not sure if they have labeled a disease yet for kids who are addicted to iPads, phones, TV, & electronics, but about 90% of kids I know seem to suffer from it. Challenge your children to learn how to play a game (or more) that requires NO Electricity!
  8. Make an Emergency Kit for School – When summer vacation is almost over, you might want to consider making an emergency survival kit for school. Depending on where you live, your child might be stuck at school during a snowstorm, tornado, or another situation where it might come in handy.
  9. Forage for Food – This is something I want to learn how to do! Maybe doing it with my kids will give me a chance to finally learn about the different edible (and not so edible) foods in our area. If your kids know how to forage for food you can literally send them out to the backyard for dinner!

Learning

  1. Knowledge – This is one skill that takes time, but it’s also something you don’t have to worry about losing or getting stolen. Check-out books on survival topics your child is interested in at the library.
  2. Know How to Keep Cool or Stay Warm – Depending on where you live and the season, these survival skills can be the difference between life and death. We had to do an ER visit last year when my sister got severe heat stroke, and I’ve had friends almost lose finger and toes from not keeping them dry in freezing temperatures.
  3. Learn Some Common Sense – Basic common sense seems to be diminishing with each generation, but it doesn’t mean your child has to suffer from the disease too! Raising competent kids in today’s world can be a true challenge when they are being spoon-fed constantly, but there is hope. Take an honest look at your children and see if there are areas where you can help prepare them for real-life.
  4. Practice Calling for Help – What if you were in trouble and the only one that could help is your toddler? Would they know how to call 911, ask someone for help, or go to a neighbor? Go ahead and practice different situations or scenarios to see if they could help, if they had to.
  5. Safely Use a Pocket Knife – Little boys (and big ones too) are just drawn to anything that is dangerous and could possible harm them, so why not go ahead and teach them how to safely use and maintain their own pocket knife? This way, they won’t secretly steal and stash your kitchen knives!
  6. red crossLearn Basic First Aid – I have to be CPR certified & have basic first aid knowledge for my job, but these are skills that kids can learn too. Once they get down how to put a Band-Aid on, consider signing your kids up for a first aid class or similar age-appropriate class. Older kids can even train as EMTs and ask to volunteer with the fire department.
  7. Gun Safety – Even if you do not now and will never own a gun, kids need to know what to do if they are ever in a situation where there is one. My friends and family have had incidents because kids didn’t know how to properly handle firearms! So whatever you do – at least teach them to not touch, never point them at anyone, and never put your finger on the trigger!
  8. Be Able to Ask for Help – I never realized what a true survival skill this was until recently when I applied my child to a special needs school. The director said they know when a child is ready to leave their school when they can ask for help on their own. Do your children know how (or even who) to ask for help…or do you always do it for them? Do they even place their own order at a restaurant?
  9. Learn History – It’s hard to prepare for the future if you haven’t learned from the past.  Have your child hit the library (or even appropriate websites), visit National Parks, talk to older people (grandparents perhaps)…. There are lots of ways to give kids an opportunity to learn to enjoy real history!
  10. Download a Survival App – I had to throw in at least one thing kids could do with their phones and tablets. Not all disasters will mean you’re losing cell coverage, so downloading emergency apps for your child could really make a difference.

Spiritual preparedness

  1. Have a strong faith in God/appreciation for spiritual things – Whether or not your own family is religious, kids should be taught about faith — what it is and how it’s important in their lives. As a Christian, our children have learned that there is a presence and a power greater than themselves. We all reach a point in life when our own strength, knowledge, and self-confidence reach an end. Kids need to know — what do I do when that happens? In our case, we’ve taught our kids to pray and they’ve learned Bible verses that teach the power of prayer and the power of belief and faith. One book they have read is Case for Faith by Lee Strobel.

Want to print out this list to keep track of your kids’ skills? Click here!

So Will Your Child be Attending PREP School?

Let me know if your child participates in PREP school this Summer and what survival skills you plan on teaching them. I would love to hear what they learn or if there are any other survival skills I should add to my list!

Guest post by Jamie Smith. Updated by Lisa Bedford.

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Level-1 Prepping and Preparedness -Kids and Pets

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While we concern ourselves with the basics of prepping and preparedness, it is likewise important to consider our kids and pets! They have unique needs too and your life will be a whole lot easier if you plan your preparedness around them as well. During an “event” which requires the implementation of your preparedness plan, […]

Children’s Activities That Develop Self-Reliance

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Summer activities can be a fun and creative way to introduce your children to basic concepts of self-reliance and survival. These, in turn, boost self-confidence in a way that no video game or TV show ever will. In this book about wilderness survival skills, for example, kids gain competence in things that are authentic and have real-life applications.

Here are a few very simple activities, most cost nothing at all, but they have an underlying purpose to encourage kids to learn skills that apply to the real world.

1. Building Forts

A childhood favorite both indoors and out is building forts. Whether it be a table and blanket fort inside or a more complex structure in the backyard, allowing children to use their creativity to build these small getaways can help teach them early on about what works and what does not.

Very few of us will ever become an award winning architect or cutting edge engineer, but the trial and error process of building those wobbly but fun hideaways with friends can aid in constructing a more serious shelter later. If your family is city-bound and building a shelter of branches and  leaves is out of the question, I found this kit online that gives kids a chance to configure a fort in different designs and only requires bedsheets. Pretty creative! You could also provide something similar with PVC pipes.

2. Swimming

Swimming or splashing around in cool, refreshing water is a summer favorite on those hot, humid (or arid) days. Learning how to swim and water safety is something every child should experience early on. What seems like water fun can really be a subliminal survivalist skill that could save his or her life later on.

Excellent swimming skills can lead to jobs as a lifeguard, swim teacher, swim team coach, and possibly open doors for college scholarships. See how easy it is to find real-world purpose to even fun, summertime sports?

3. Fishing

As the old saying goes, “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime.” Spend those lazy summer evenings on a riverbank with your little one and teach them the ins and outs of fishing. Be sure to teach them how to properly set up their pole and bait the hook. Kids typically think of nonstop casting and reeling when it comes time to fish, but teach them the basics and patience so if the occasion ever calls for it, they can catch their own dinner!

4. Outdoor Sports

In the midst of an electronic age, it is important for children (and the rest of us) to get unplugged and outside. Putting down the PSP, DS, tablet, etc., and getting active outside helps children become more resilient to natural environmental conditions such as prolonged sun exposure and lack of a constant stimulant. In other words, kids are forced to entertain themselves in the summer heat.

TIP: Use these natural remedies for sunburn, which is hard to avoid with all that outdoor fun!

This may sound like a no-brainer but when kids spend most of their time inactively indoors playing video games or watching television in climate controlled conditions, making the transition to moving about in the heat and humidity of summer can be tough. Encourage your children to play outside to build stamina so if an occasion occurs where moving about outside is necessary, they will be conditioned and ready.

Some active outdoor summer favorites include baseball/whiffle ball, basketball, flag football, tag, catch, jumping on trampolines, jumping rope, mastering the hula hoop, hopscotch and kickball.

5. Hiking

Pack a bag, grab a walking stick and hit the trail! Hiking can certainly help condition the body for long hours outside and help teach little ones forest safety. Many state parks have hiking trails for all levels so if you are new to hiking, talk with a park ranger or other official about which trails are best for beginners.

Some state parks and campgrounds may even offer guided hikes which generally include basic lessons on the area’s wildlife, plant life and environment. Be sure your children know what plants are dangerous to touch and eat and how to respond to wild animal encounters. What is a fun day in the woods now can be a ticket for survival later.

At the same time, hiking teaches observation skills, navigation, plant and animal identification, foraging (this book is the #1 book on foraging and is highly recommended), independence/”I can do it”!, appreciation of nature, and so much more.

6. Target Shooting

Water guns are a summertime blast. Children giggle and scream as they run barefoot around the yard trying to blast their siblings and friends with that ice cold stream of water. What they generally do not realize is that they are building their hand-eye coordination as they practice zoning in on their targets. Another target shooting favorite is shooting aluminum cans with bb guns or air rifles.

Try setting cans up in different formations and teach your kids how to use the basic sight feature that is standard on most bb guns. If your child decides to take up hunting for sport or necessity later, he or she will have a comfortable edge hitting their target.

Your kids might be ready to handle “real” guns, and if so, you need to read my series of articles, “Common Sense Strategies For Teaching Gun Safety“.

7. Campfire Fun

Summertime campfires are a must for childhood nostalgia! Roasting hotdogs on a stick, making ooey, gooey s’mores, and sharing ghost stories are childhood campfire traditions for a reason! Teach your children how to make a campfire, introduce them to primitive cooking over the fire, and then how to properly and safely extinguish a fire. Check out these kids friendly campfire roasting sticks.

Get unplugged and outdoors!

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Have You Trained Your Kids To Work? What Will They Do When A SHTF Happens?

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Have You Trained Your Kids To Work? What Will They Do When A SHTF Happens? Kids are a huge bone of contention in today’s society. The truth of the matter is they are society. They are the future of this nation, this movement and everything else you see around them. Kids are our biggest responsibility. …

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The post Have You Trained Your Kids To Work? What Will They Do When A SHTF Happens? appeared first on SHTF & Prepping Central.

7 Clever Ways To Teach Kids (As Young As 2) To Work

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7 Ways To Teach Kids (As Young As 2) To Work

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Believe it or not, children as young as two years old can begin contributing to work around the house and homestead, and there are a lot of good reasons to get started this early.

Giving children tasks inside and outside the home will support their learning and development and give them practical skills. As they contribute, they will gain confidence in their abilities and be willing to take on more responsibility. They will learn how to solve problems and become more grateful for the work that goes into keeping them safe, comfortable and fed. It’s easy to find ways for them to help.

1. Make a game of it. Mary Poppins would agree. Anything can be made easier if it is made fun. If you challenge your child to sort, tidy or clean an area according to a particular set of rules, you can make it seem like play. There’s no need to go over the top on this; kids have a natural sense of duty and also a natural tendency to make play out of work.

2. Be patient. At first, the chores will take a little longer as you teach the steps to your young child. Bear in mind that kids have to learn what adults have internalized; for example, it might make more sense to a young kid to eat berries as they pick them, rather than put them in the bucket. Try to think like a kid as you explain the chore: Get down on their level, break the task into small steps and remember to look for the fun in it.

Heirloom Audio: Christian Heroes For Christian Kids

3. Work at kid-level. One trick to help kids do more chores indoors and outdoors is to have a special kid-friendly set-up for the chores they are expected to accomplish. If your two-year-old is sorting laundry for the wash, it might help to have a white basket and a dark basket, for example. Storing the supplies at kid level, or having stools to help kids reach, will ensure they will be willing to do more chores.

4. Give lots of positive feedback. Adults know they are supposed to help out, but kids are still learning. Don’t be afraid to cheer and carry on when your child successfully completes a task on their own, especially the first time. As kids get older, give them more responsibility and tell them how what they are doing is contributing to the livelihood of the family. Make your children responsible for a portion of the homestead, piece by piece; they will take ownership of it and their pride in their work will grow.

7 Ways To Teach Kids (As Young As 2) To Work

Image source: Pixabay.com

5. Expect mistakes. As they learn, your children will break things, spill things, forget to finish tasks, leave supplies lying around and worse. This is part of learning. If you are choosing chores that your child can accomplish, the damage won’t be too bad (what’s a broken egg from time to time?). Talk to them about what they can do to avoid the mistake next time, see if you can help make the task work better for them and offer reassurance. Never lose your temper – or that may be the end of that chore for a good long time.

6. Keep kids safe. As with all things, teach young children how to do the task correctly and safely. Consider which hazards your child will be exposed to in the environment where they are working, and either move dangerous items out of reach or supervise your child to minimize the risk. Don’t expose children to unnecessary risk; instead, let them see you working safely and taking precautions so that when their turn comes they won’t eschew safety equipment or measures. Children under five should be supervised at all time, especially around water, vehicles and farming equipment.

7. Be realistic. First and foremost, don’t expect your child to accomplish a task that is too difficult for their developmental level. Below you can find a chart recommending the type of chores appropriate for young children; your child and the needs of your homestead may be different, but this will give you a jump start. Before you know it, your child will be contributing to the household and the community regularly and with enthusiasm, because you have been teaching the necessary skills all along.

Starter Chores

Very Young Children (Ages 2 – 5) Young Children (Ages 5 – 7)
Always under supervision, they can:

  • Make beds
  • Sort laundry
  • Match socks
  • Wipe tables and counters
  • Sweep outdoors
  • Wash the car
  • Feed animals
  • Tidy playthings
  • Collect yard debris
  • Dust
  • Wash windows
  • Clean up spills
  • Clear table
  • Help with planting
  • Water plants
  • Help with harvest

 

Everything in the earlier list and:

  • Sort supplies (buttons, screws, cutlery)
  • Prepare food (such as shelling peas)
  • Weed the garden
  • Fold laundry
  • Sweep indoors with a dustpan
  • Set the table
  • Help younger children
  • Vacuum
  • Put away laundry
  • Brush animals
  • Clean trashcans
  • Light cleaning in bathroom
  • Collect eggs
  • Rake leaves
  • Carry loads, load a wheelbarrow
  • Composting food scraps

 

How do you gets kids involved in work? Share your tips in the section below:  

Bugging out with Kids!

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Bugging out with Kids! Highlander “Survival & Tech Preps“ Audio in player below! The ole question is, how do we bug out with kids? This is as topic that can put a crimp in many people’s preps, however we have to preserve the next generation as best we can. Imagine if you will the loud … Continue reading Bugging out with Kids!

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52 Survival Skills your Kids Should be Learning

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52 Survival Skills your Kids Should be Learning Our little angels are the prospectors of the future. Its hard to look at them as they crawl or run or discover and consider the hardships they will one day face. Of course, we must allow them the time to push around their toy cars and enjoy …

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25 Ways to Teach Kids About Disasters Without Scaring Them

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I grew up in the early 1980’s at the height of the Cold War, and my parents were very paranoid about communist Russia. In fact, Red Dawn was one of their favorite movies. I was less than 10 years old when they warned me that a scenario like Red Dawn could happen someday soon. Naturally, […]

The post 25 Ways to Teach Kids About Disasters Without Scaring Them appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

Book Review: Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill

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There is perhaps no bigger or more important issue in America at present than youth violence. Columbine, Sandy Hook, Aurora: We know them all too well, and for all the wrong reasons: kids, some as young as eleven years old, taking up arms and, with deadly, frightening accuracy, murdering anyone in their paths. What is […]

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13 Things My Kids Have Learned From Running a Farmers Market Business

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kids learn businessFor the past two summers, my 3 children and I have operated a table at a small local farmer’s market. Each week we work together to haul in eggs and produce, set up our display, and answer questions. We sell our products for about 3 hours each day.

The skills and experiences my children are learning now will serve them very well as adults, whether they go after their first job in a booming economy, try to make ends meet in a not-so-great one, or find themselves in a total economic collapse. Knowing the basics of starting and running a business is a great skill to have, for children and adults alike.

Here are a few of the skills we are learning:

Identify a product and a customer

Finding something to sell that people want to buy is as much a mind-set as a skill. And once kids figure out that selling stuff makes money, they’ll have all sorts of ideas! Encourage them to think through what’s realistic (para cord keychains, yes; dented Matchbox car collection, probably not). The next part is to identify who might want to buy what they want to sell. Again, ask them questions and have them work out a few options for themselves. Our main product is extra garden produce and eggs, but our customers range from friends and family, to neighbors, to dad’s co-workers, in addition to our farmer’s market exposure.

Create a display

It’s as simple as being able to spot a hole and fill it. When we sell our last several zucchini, for example, my son knows we need to rearrange our table or put out more of something else to fill the empty spot. At the beginning of the market, and occasionally throughout, we also go to the front of the table and see it from the customer’s viewpoint. Younger children can be given a specific instruction (“Here are 4 more tomatoes, will you arrange them in that empty spot?”) but older elementary and middle school children can easily be assigned this on-going task. Eventually, they’ll be able to start with a bare table and make a pleasing presentation.

Talk to customers

Teaching kids how to speak professionally, clearly, and assertively is a skill that goes far beyond business. I started out asking my introverted child to simply say, “Good morning!” audibly and clearly to every passer-by for a few minutes at a time while I tended to some other task. Then he began answering people on our prices. Eventually, his confidence and communication skills grew so much that now he can handle customers start to finish without me.

Qualifying the sale

Asking a few general questions such as, “What are you looking for today?” goes a long way towards matching up your product and your customer. It’s also a great lesson in diplomacy—ask questions first. Kids might not be able to think of these questions on their own, but if you give them 2 or 3 stock questions that they could use over and over, they’ll have this skill down in no time.

Communicate the value of their product

In the business world, this is called, “Overcoming objections.” Kids don’t have to have answers to every single objection they might possibly hear about their product, but talking through a couple likely scenarios will help them feel confident and prepared. In our case, this means being able to explain why our eggs are superior to the cheap white eggs from the grocery store–and worth 4 times more. Knowing a few bullet points about the benefits of farm fresh eggs give them what they need to overcome a few of the common objections we hear–and increases their sales.

Negotiate unusual sales

Sometimes we have customers who don’t need a full dozen eggs. Or in the spring, when we sell seedlings and bucket gardens, they want a special order. Allowing the kids to participate with you as you figure out how to fill unusual orders can help them learn to think outside the box in meeting customer requests. (It’s also a great chance for some more math practice!)

Close the Sale

Having a great product, answers to questions, and prices figured out doesn’t do any good unless you can actually start collecting money. Again, teaching kids a few basic “closing” lines can get them started: “How many can I bag for you today?” or “Would you like cucumbers or green beans, then?”

Make change and count it back

It’s a lost art in this age of computerized cash registers to figure out correct change using only your head. It works like this: If someone owes you $4.75 and they give you a $20 bill, how much change do they need? Counting back that change by starting with the sale amount is a rare skill, but one that’s easy enough to learn. Just start counting with the total of $4.75, and as you hand over coins and bills, count up out loud: $5, $10, $15, and $20. Of everything my kids can do at our farmer’s market booth, this skill is the one that gets the most compliments!

Handle upset customers

Fortunately, in our line of work, we don’t have too many upset customers. But occasionally, someone does have a complaint. For example, this spring we had a customer who incorrectly planted her tomato seedlings, and they all perished. She claimed that she never received our instructional handout, and we happen to know she is the type of person to tell others about her experiences. With all those factors, we replaced her plants. Learning how to listen empathetically, and then deciding how to make something right–or just leave it at an apology– is a delicate skill. Not everyone will be happy, and that’s ok. But expecting to occasionally encounter unhappy people, and knowing how to deal with them, will also increase your kid’s confidence in his business skills.

Manage inventory

Being able to keep track of how much is left to sell, or what you usually sell in an afternoon’s time, or any other measure of inventory is a skill that can be easily developed with simple assignments. For example, have a younger child count up all the green peppers and write down the number.

Basic Accounting

Being able to add and subtract within the same page is another rapidly disappearing skill in our electronic age. Teach your child how to properly fill in basic accounting columns. For us, we might sell a few dozen eggs, then buy popcorn at a nearby stand, then sell some veggies, but buy bread from another vendor, and so forth. An older elementary child or middle schooler can easily learn how to record these transactions and keep a running total. And at the end of your sales day, show them how to count down the cash box back to your starting change to figure out the day’s sales.

How to accept tips

One thing I did not anticipate when we started our farmer’s market booth was how often my kids would be offered tips. They’ve been complimented and tipped for many of the skills listed above, as well as more traditional services such as helping people carry purchases to their vehicles. Learning not to ask for a tip from the next customer was a good lesson to have. And graciously accepting a compliment or a tip is a life skill that certainly transcends business transactions!

Create business relationships

There are only a handful of other vendors at our market, but my kids have made friends with all of them. The boys help carry in flats of produce, and help set up bread and honey at other booths. In the process, they are talking to other business people and learning from them. But they are also making contacts with people who could potentially serve as resources or references for them someday. It’s never too early to start making these connections!

Last weekend, my son and I volunteered for a booth at an event. Our “product” was a certain cause rather than vegetables, but all his skills were equally useful in the new context: creating a display, greeting people, qualifying the customer, matching up needs with product, and even dealing with grumpy people.

A farmer’s market is only one possibility. Other families we know make crafts to sell, and one teenager fixes cars. And there’s always a lemonade stand, garage sale, or the door-to-door school fundraiser. Whatever your family’s opportunities or interests, be on the lookout for ways you can impart business skills.

What activities are you already doing in that you could involve your kids, and teach them business skills?

kids learning business

The Dutch Raise The World’s Happiest Kids – So What Can We Learn?

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The Dutch Raise The World’s Happiest Kids – So What Can We Learn?

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What does it take to raise happy, well-adjusted kids? A UNICEF study broke this question down into five factors: housing and environment, behaviors and risk, education, health and safety and material well-being. They used these categories to determine which industrialized countries were getting it right.

A 2013 UNICEF report found that American kids ranked 26th – just above Lithuania, Latvia and Romania — out of 29 countries, and children in the United Kingdom ranked 16th. Kids in the Netherlands ranked first.

The report is a follow-up to a 2007 study that also showed the Netherlands in first place, with the U.S. and U.K. in the lowest two slots.

Those study results come as no surprise to Rina Mae Acosta and Michele Hutchison, the authors of the new book The Happiest Kids in the World. Acosta, who is American, and Hutchison, who is British, have first-hand experience in how differently the Dutch raise their children as compared with their native countries.

In their book, the two mothers, who are both married to Dutch men and are living in the Netherlands, identify several factors that are responsible for the sunny dispositions of Dutch children. The factors include more sleep for Dutch babies, less emphasis on academic achievement, more focus on family time and more involvement in childrearing by fathers.

More Sleep for Dutch Babies

Dutch parents guard the sleep time of their babies and are more careful not to overstimulate their babies than many American parents.

Awaken Your Child’s Love Of Learning And Put God Back Into History! Read More Here.

This extra sleep may help Dutch babies be well-adjusted. According to a study by Washington State University that was published in the European Journal of Developmental Psychology, Dutch babies appear to be more contented than American babies are.

In addition, Dutch parents use toys less frequently to play with their babies than do American parents.

Less Emphasis on Academic Achievement

In the Netherlands, academic education begins after children turn six. Grades are not emphasized, and children in primary school rarely have homework.

The Dutch Raise The World’s Happiest Kids – So What Can We Learn?

Image source: Pixabay.com

Dutch children play outdoors all year round in all weather, and they are usually unsupervised while they play. A popular parent saying is, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.”

Children are given a large amount of freedom as compared with American children, often riding their bikes to and from school and visiting friends on their own.

More Focus on Family Time

“The Netherlands have a reputation for being a liberal country with a tolerance of sex, drugs and alcohol, yet beneath this lies a closely guarded secret: the Dutch are actually fairly conservative people,” according to the authors in an article they wrote for the UK’s Telegraph.

“At the heart of Dutch culture is a society of home-loving people who place the child firmly at the center. Parents have a healthy attitude towards their kids, seeing them as individuals rather than as extensions of themselves. They understand that achievement doesn’t necessarily lead to happiness, but that happiness can cultivate achievement.

“The Dutch have reined in the anxiety, stress and expectations of modern-day parenting, redefining the meaning of success and wellbeing. For them, success starts with happiness – that of their children and themselves.”

The authors stress that Dutch families value togetherness and do not attempt to outdo their neighbors with lavish birthday parties or fancy gifts.

Dads Are Very Involved

Dutch families seem to be ahead of the international curve when it comes to work-life balance.  With the average Dutch worker spending an average of 29 hours a week on the job, Dutch parents have more time to spend with their kids.

The Dutch Raise The World’s Happiest Kids – So What Can We Learn?

Image source: Pixabay.com

The authors also report that competition between mothers – or “Mommy Wars” – occurs far less in the Netherlands than in the U.S.  and the U.K.

Dutch dads take an equal role in raising their children, and Acosta and Hutchison say it is as common to see a father wearing a baby-carrier or pushing a pram as a mother.

Dutch parents strive to give their children clear directions, not options. They say, “I want you to…” rather than something vague.

Two common Dutch expressions that reflect this clear sense of discipline are “parenting is practicing what you preach,” and, “what the old cock crows, the young cock learns.”

If you have seen photos of bright-eyed, rosy-cheeked Dutch kids, you now know a few reasons why those kids look so happy.

And there is one more thing that may contribute to those fresh-faced smiles. It’s “hagelslag.”

Dutch parents and children alike frequently eat chocolate sprinkles on toast for breakfast. Sprinkles have a way of putting anyone in a good mood.

What is your reaction? Share your thoughts in the section below:

The Happiest Kids in the World by Rina Mae Acosta and Michele Hutchison was released in January on the UK, and it is set for an April 4 release in the U.S.

Awaken Your Child’s Love Of History And Put God Back Into History! Read More Here.

50 Survival Items to Put in Your Kids Backpacks

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50 Survival Items to Put in Your Kids Backpacks If you’re in a survival situation and you’re on foot, your own bug out bag is going to be all you can manage. If you’re a parent or grandparent responsible for children in a survival situation, you can’t possibly carry everything they will need. It’s going … Continue reading 50 Survival Items to Put in Your Kids Backpacks

The post 50 Survival Items to Put in Your Kids Backpacks appeared first on Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

22 Survival and Preparedness Movies Your Kids Can Watch

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This list is part of my eBook, Prepared Kids: A Parent’s Guide to Raising the Next Generation of Self-Reliant, Responsible Adults! THIS WEEK ONLY (Jan 16-22, 2017) Get my Prepared Kids eBook as part of the Back to Basics Living Bundle–a spectacular collection of resources for preparedness, food storage, natural remedies, healthy living, cooking from […]

Get Outdoors!

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get_outside_benefits_survival-2

get_outdoors_winter_tipi-2Believe it or not we spend more time in our vehicles than we do outside.  I have friends who live in or around the city and their idea of getting some nature is to go down to the park and have their kids play on the swings for a half hour while the parents play on their phones.  A friend came up to our house to visit from the city a year ago and I took her young son and my five year old daughter to the woods.  This boy walked about twenty feet and tripped over a log because he didn’t know to look at the ground for obstacles.  He was so used to walking on manicured lawns and paths it never occurred to him that there might be something in the way!

By Jarhead Survivor, a Contributing Author of SurvivalCache and SHTFBlog

Kids between the ages of five and sixteen spend an average of six and a half hours per day in front of a screen, which is terrible; however,  I do believe the kind of screen time spent is important.  I assume that most kids spend their time watching videos, playing games, and engaging on social media.  This kind of screen time is passive and they are just sitting there slowly turning into a vegetable.  If they are producing something on the other hand, like writing a blog post, then I think the screen time isn’t as bad.  Yes, they’re not physically active; however, if they are producing some kind of content then they are stretching their minds and growing in that regard.

get_outdoors_snow_play-2Physically, on the other hand, this can’t be good for them.  I have a seven year old boy who would gladly veg in front of his Kindle playing games all day if we let him.  I also have a five year old girl who would sit in front of the TV watching Netflix and eating chips if we gave her the thumbs up, but we don’t.  My wife regularly throws the kids outside and makes them play out there.  The funny thing about kids though is that once they’re outside playing they don’t want to come in.

Balance

There’s nothing wrong with technology per se, it’s only when we allow it to consume our lives that it becomes an issue.  From the first moment we get up to the time we go to bed, we are stuck to some kind of screen.  I’m not saying I don’t, but we do try to have a little balance in our lives.  My wife hates the amount of time the kids spend in front of their devices. As such, we will force them to play outside.

Read Also: 10 Ways to Improve Your Survival Fitness

We live on a nice piece of land in Maine where there’s plenty of forest and open space.  My son learned to ride a bike when he was three, got his first motorcycle when he turned five, a 125 cc four-wheeler when he turned seven and drives them like pro.  My daughter loves to create crafts and I set aside time for her and I sit down where she will create things while I draw.  I have a tipi and wilderness camp where we spend a lot of time and the wifi doesn’t reach.  My boy can start a fire with a firesteel and can recite the Survival Rule of Threes.

get_outdoors_fire_start-2I like to think my family has a good balance with learning the old ways, being outside, and today’s invasive technology.  I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s, so I remember what it was like without a smart phone, computers, and when the only TV had antennas.  Cartoons only played on Saturday and after a few hours of watching them my mom would boot us outside until lunch.  We hung out with our friends in person and built dangerous bicycle jumps, climbed trees, and did other things that, by today’s standards, would certainly have got our parents in trouble for neglect.

But let’s face it, barring some kind of major SHTF Carrington event, our smart devices are here to stay and I don’t think that’s a bad thing; however, we do need to balance screen time with outdoor time.  Kids need to get outside and play.

Location!  Location!  Location!

We used to live on a  busy main road, which I absolutely hated, but when it was just Mrs. Jarhead and myself, we were willing to tolerate it because it was easy for us to jump in my truck and drive ten miles to the local hiking trails.  As soon as we found out she was going to have a baby, we put that house on the market and moved as fast as we could.  We did not want our kids being brought up near a dangerous, noisy road.

It was the best decision we ever made.  We now live on a back road in Midcoast Maine with tons of woods surrounding us.  It’s not like we lived in downtown Manhattan before the move – we actually moved less than ten miles, but the location we chose was much better suited to our lifestyle. People might say, “But Jarhead!  You’ve never lived in the city!  How can you make a comparison?”

get_outdoors_coffee-2Good question.  Actually I used to be a consultant for a big company based out of St. Paul, Minnesota and for two and a half years I lived on airplanes, stayed in hotels, and drove rental cars all over the country five days a week.  As a matter of fact, I spent the last two months traveling in NYC:  Queens, Manhattan, and Brooklyn.  I’ve been to just about every major city this side of the Mississippi and a few in Canada.  (I actually liked Toronto.)

So yes, I can make a strong comparison between the slow country life and fast paced, high stressed, city living.  Listen City Dweller – I’m not telling you to move to the country, although I’ll bet you’d be a lot happier if you did.  People in the cities are stuck in their high-rise caves, living on top of each other, stressed out of their minds at the high cost of living and lack of paycheck.  They stay in these dark caverns venturing out only to work or to do other things inside.  Few people actually have a chance to get back to nature and I find that very sad because they don’t realize the health benefits they are missing.

Ironically, it’s these same city people who say, “If TSHTF I’m going to bug-out to the wilderness and live there until it blows over.”  Hmmm, not so much.  Folks, if you’ve never spent any time in the wilderness and that’s your plan, I beg you to reconsider.  If I had a choice to choose between a city dweller with a full pack and my son with a firesteel, I’d take my boy ever time.  At least he knows how to start a fire using natural materials and to look for shelter!  Surviving in the wilderness is extremely difficult even for people who’ve been trained.

Get Outside!

get_outdoors_jarhead_dad-2Take your family camping.  Take them on a long hike in the woods, wherever that might be.  Let your kids know what it’s like to carry a backpack and walk for awhile.  It’s ok for them to be a little uncomfortable.  Give them responsibility to do things like gather kindling or firewood.  Show them how to set up their tent.  Allow them to help in the decision making for certain things.

My five year old loves coming out to the tipi with me because I’ll make her noodle soup.  Not the most nutritious meal, but being outside climbing trees and running around is great for my kids and we do it several times a week.  My son is old enough now to use a hatchet and loves the opportunity to swing it at dead trees to help with firewood.

Granted it’s a little more difficult in the winter, but we still do it.  I’ll go out on a Saturday or Sunday and stay four or five hours and sometimes will even spend the night out there (yes – even in the winter).  My kids come out to visit and when they’re tired from cutting and carrying wood, climbing trees and wrestling in the snow, they walk back to the house.  It’s awesome!

Related: Cold Weather Camping – Why You Should Try It 

get_outdoors_reading-2If there aren’t any kids in your family take yourself outside.  You’ll be happier and healthier for it.  Being in nature has shown to bring positive health benefits, so if you’re feeling depressed, you might want to spend a few days in nature without electronics and see if that helps before running to the doctor for a prescription. But that’s another article! Questions?  Comments? Sound off below!

 

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Book: 52 Prepper’s Projects for Parents and Kids

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Prepare your child for the unpredictable through 52 prepper projects. Teach them basic outdoors survival skills, first aid, how to create their own “bug-out bag,” and more.

The post Book: 52 Prepper’s Projects for Parents and Kids appeared first on Dave’s Homestead.

Teaching Kids The Prepper Mindset

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Teaching Kids The Prepper Mindset Teaching your kids to be able to take care of themselves using the resources around them is invaluable. A prepper mindset is something that has to be learned. While most of the modern world considers this to be getting a job and paying bills, preppers and homesteaders tend to look …

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The post Teaching Kids The Prepper Mindset appeared first on SHTF & Prepping Central.

The 12 Days of Christmas: Day 1, A New Craft for Your Kids

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crafts for kids

The Paranoid Dad and I have been brainstorming ideas for having a richer holiday experience with the kids without a huge emphasis on gifts and getting.  My son, in particular, needs to learn more about the joy of giving and the joy of this beautiful season.  We’ve come up with a list of twelve family activities to incorporate into the next three weeks or so.  Not surprisingly, some of these have a “preparedness” theme, but others are just for fun.  I’ll be posting one each day for the next twelve days.  Hope they inspire you and your family!

By the way, I know the traditional 12 Days of Christmas begins on December 25 and runs through Epiphany, January 6, but if I started sharing with you all my great holiday ideas on the 25th, that wouldn’t be very helpful now, would it?  🙂

Day 1, A new craft for your kids

Make the most of your kids’ Christmas vacation …or Winter Holiday or Solstice Observation Days or whatever term your local school district is using these days!  Your kids have about fourteen uninterrupted days at home, and no doubt you’ll start hearing complaints about boredom and how there’s nothing to do.  Start planning ahead right now to teach them at least one new craft skill that might also help them create gifts for family members or friends.  Don’t worry about being an expert yourself.  It’s even more fun when parents and kids learn something new together!

Since all of us have different learning styles, I suggest getting an instructional book and then using YouTube videos to supplement the learning process. With their hands actually holding the craft supplies and their eyes and ears engaged with instruction, your kids and grandkids will be able to master these crafts for kids much more quickly.

Here’s a fun variety of skills to consider, along with links to helpful, instructional books:

For supplies, check out eBay, garage sales, and Craigslist and watch for craft store coupons. Even better, find a family friend or relative who can teach a new skill to your kids. The beauty of a gift like this, whether given during the holidays, on a birthday, or one of those “just because” gifts, is that they all invite interaction. When my daughter and I are sitting on the couch knitting our different projects, we have time for relaxed and casual conversation. If you give this type of gift, set aside some time to help your kids or grandkids get started, maybe start a project of your own, and then enjoy the time together.


Give your children a gift that could last a lifetime: a new hobby. Read more here…
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Honestly, in my 17 years of parenting, time together is irreplaceable and priceless. Too often, I get consumed in one of my many projects, leaving my kids to figure out something on their own. Ultimately, that undermines the home environment and atmosphere I desire. A shared hobby goes a very long way toward creating bonding time, and it’s so easy to do.

NOTE: One of my Skills of the Month is “Handicrafts”. Check out this section for many more related articles.

One possible benefit to many of these crafts for kids is that they can become an income source down the road. A very good friend of mine creates gorgeous wooden tankards with her husband and that provides income for them throughout the year. There’s always a market for beautiful and well-crafted items, whether they’re knitted scarves, a quilt, or a beautiful handmade birdhouse.

This month, before your young’uns even say the words, “I’m bored!”, be ready with craft supplies to keep them busy and productive!  If the craft has practical applications, such as knitting, so much the better.

crafts for kids

Introducing the Prepared Kids eBook!

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I’m so excited to introduce to you my latest project, the Prepared Kids eBook!  Do you have children in your life?  This book is for you!  Packed full of practical information for helping raise your children to be prepared now and as adults!  Going past just lists of supplies or skills, this book focuses on […]

Preparing Kids

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Preparing Kids James Walton “I Am Liberty” Listen to this show in player below! So the immediate questions becomes how far into the abyss do you pull a child when it comes to teaching them preparedness? The other big question is: In our world today do they not have the right to be informed about what … Continue reading Preparing Kids

The post Preparing Kids appeared first on Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

How To Survive With Kids In Small Spaces

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Survive with kids

If you and your family are stranded in a small space or hidden shelter, you’ll need to have a plan to keep your kids entertained. Otherwise you’ll all end up on each other’s nerves and the already serious situation can quickly become much worse.

It’s essential to be as prepared as possible, so take time now to integrate some of these ideas. That way they don’t seem as strange to your children.

If you have a shelter or panic room already in place, practice spending time there. That way your kids aren’t dealing with both a brand new environment and a crisis.

Don’t Leave Your Kid in the Dark

If you’re in hiding, the kids are going to figure it out. Do them a favor, and tell them the truth. You don’t have to get into all the details, but definitely talk to your kids in an age-appropriate way.

Share what’s going on and what you have to do. That way your kids know your expectations and you can work as a team to survive.

Kids are perceptive, and will often pick up on emotions they’re parents are exhibiting. Taking time to talk about the situation will help ease their fears. They’ll know what they need to do, and most of the time kids rise to meet our expectations.

Have a Variety of Activities on Hand

You won’t be able to bring much into small quarters, but by being prepared you’ll make your shelter more enjoyable for everyone.

The age of your kids will definitely impact the activities you plan. Here are some ideas that’ll work for a large range of ages. Of course you know your kids best, so be sure to pick somethings you know they’ll enjoy.

Games

Surviving with children

Having a variety of games on hands is great, but if space is tight you probably won’t have that luxury. The good news is with a little creative thinking you can create your own games with some basic items.

Games are a fun way to keep the family engaged. You’ll help distract your kids from what’s going on. Games are also relatively quiet activities, which helps if you need to stay hidden.

Here are some things to keep on hand for game time:

  • A deck of cards
  • A couple of card games that don’t take up much space such as
    • Tell Me a Story
    • Uno
    • FastWord
    • SkipBo
    • Phase 10
  • A couple of dice
  • A pack of index cards and a marker or two

With these items, you can create hours of entertainment. A plain deck of cards gives you everything you need for dozens of games. Here are ten popular games that are easy for kids to pick up.

  1. Solitaire
  2. Speed
  3. SlapJack
  4. 21
  5. King’s Corner
  6. Crazy 8s
  7. War
  8. Snap
  9. Golf
  10. BS

If you start learning one of these games a week as a family, you’ll build great memories now. You’ll also be familiar with them in the event of a crisis. Then playing cards will seem familiar instead of like a foreign activity.

In addition to playing the card games according to the traditional rules, you can experiment with adding rules or changing game play completely. With the boxed card games, you’ll have plenty of variety to create your own family favorites.

For instance, you can use SkipBo cards to play Go Fish. You can hide all of the wild cards from the Uno deck and have your kids go find them. The letters from FastWord can be used to see who can build the longest and shortest words.

You can use the dice to learn about probability, to roll for a treat, or to create new games. The index cards and marker will give you everything you need to create customized cards. Perhaps you’ll write words on them and use them to play Charades or Pictionary.

The possibilities are endless!

Pen & Paper Games

With a stack of paper and a pen, you can create a variety of games. Like the card games, take time to learn these now. That way you’re all set if you need them. Here are five favorite pen and paper games for kids:

  1. Hangman
  2. The Dot Game (where you try to make boxes out of dots by drawing lines one at a time)
  3. Tic-Tac-Toe
  4. Categories (everyone writes down a word from a named category)
  5. MadLibs (write a story but leave some words blank. Then have your child name a color, a noun, a number word, etc. to fill in the blanks.)

Games with No Materials

If you didn’t have time to grab any supplies, or you just need some fresh ideas, these games are perfect. They don’t require any materials.

1. Guess Who

One person secretly selects a character or person. The other players take turns asking yes or no questions to figure out who the mystery character is. You can ask:

  • Are you a female?
  • Are you in a TV show?
  • Do you wear fancy shoes?
  • Are you a real person?
  • Have we ever met you?

And all sorts of other questions. Once someone guesses the identify correctly, another player takes a turn. This game can keep everyone entertained for hours.

2. The Alphabet Challenge

Work together to name an object from a given category that starts with each letter of the alphabet. You can try to name:

  • Animals
  • Food
  • Vehicles
  • Boy Names
  • Girl Names
  • Verbs

You can decide in advance that you’ll skip a given letter if no one can think of an answer. That way you don’t get discouraged.

3. Math Drill

You can take turns giving math problems to each other. They’ll help keep your brain sharp. For younger kids you can ask them to count to a certain number. Older kids and adults can tackle multiplication or division questions, or problems with multiple steps.

4. I Spy

This classic is a great game for young kids. One person secretly picks an object in the room and then says, “I spy with my little eye something…..” and says the color of the object.

Everyone else takes turns guessing what the mystery object is.

White Boards

Since space will be tight, you won’t be able to bring an arsenal of art supplies. But, a small white board and a couple of markers for each child will help. Remember to throw in an old sock to use as an eraser.

On the boards you can have your kids:

  • Draw
  • Practice writing their letters or words
  • Write a short story
  • Practice math facts
  • Play any of the pen and paper games

They’re can be used individually, which makes them an ideal silent activity. If you’re able, you can have your kids take turns sharing what they worked on. That’ll help them feel connected.

Books

Kids Activities While you can’t fit your whole library into your survival space, you can select a couple of books to bring.

You can either select read alouds or family favorites, or bring a couple of each.

If you bring enough books for everyone to have one, you can implement a daily reading time.

If you’re reading aloud, you can encourage your kids to draw something from the story on their white boards. Keeping their hands engaged will help them listen and stay quiet while you read.

Depending on your situation, you might have your kids act out a part of the story. Bringing books to life is a fun way to pass the time.

Simply talking about what you’re reading will encourage reading comprehension. After all, you don’t want to stop learning while you’re in your shelter. These discussions will also help draw you closer as a family.

Simple Sewing or Needlework

A needle and thread along with some scrap fabric is all you need to help your kids learn a new skill. They can practice sewing squares and then take the seams out and try again.

This Survivopedia post shares how to recycle an old pill bottle into a sewing kit. That doesn’t take up much space.

If you bring some yarn and knitting needles or crochet hooks, you can teach your child a skill that’ll help keep them quiet and engaged. They’ll be able to practice, and can always undo what they’ve created and make something new.

A Family Journal

When the crisis passes, you’re going to want to remember some events and feelings from your time in your survival shelter. Keeping a simple spiral notebook and a pen around can help preserve these memories.

Encourage everyone to write in the journal regularly. Your younger kids can draw a picture about how they’re feeling or what they did. Writing is therapeutic for many people. This process might help provide your children with an outlet to share the thoughts they’re having.

Fun Distractions

kids activities

There will be times when everyone just needs to hit the reset button. When the kids are fighting and everyone’s temper is short, it’ll help to have a few fun distractions to bring out.

You shouldn’t use these things regularly, but instead save them for when they’re needed most. You can pick up most of these items at the Dollar Store or around the house, so you don’t have to worry about spending a ton of money on them.

  • Glow sticks
  • Stickers
  • A pack of bubbles
  • A coloring book to rip pages out of
  • A sheet and some clothespins to create a fort
  • A new game
  • A puzzle book like Crosswords or Word Searches
  • A toy car

Once everyone’s mood is lifted, you can put the special items away for another day.

Encourage Activity

Sitting for extended periods of time is rough on the human body. Break up your positioning if possible. Roll a die and see how many jumping jacks everyone should do. See who can do the most sit-ups in 1 minute. Take time to do this several times throughout the day.

You’ll help improve blood flow, and will help keep your muscles from getting stiff.

Food

Of course you’ll need food in your survival space. If at all possible, ensure it is food that your family is used to eating. You don’t need any battles in your tight quarters.

In addition to your food reserves, you’ll want to have a few treats on hand. These can be pulled out to boost morale, to use as bribery in the event of immediate danger, or simply as a reward for something.

These foods make good treats for kids, and the adults:

  • Candy
  • Chocolate chips
  • Raisins
  • Small crackers
  • Dried cereal with fun shapes or marshmallows
  • Fruit snacks

While these aren’t the most nutritious foods, they can help provide a sense of normalcy to your children.  They’ll also help break up the routine of survival food and feel even more special.

Water

Be sure your survival space has plenty of water on hand. You’ll need water for drinking, and also for hygiene purposes. You don’t want to run out of water!

A Place to Relieve Oneself

Kids have to use the bathroom, just like adults. Be sure you’ve thought through how this will work in your survival shelter. You’ll need a way to dispose of your human waste.

If you have babies, you’ll need diapers and wipes on hand. You can use cloth diapers and wipes if you have enough water to keep them clean.

You’ll also want to have toilet paper or substitutes on hand. Also bring along a bottle of hand sanitizer to help keep germs from spreading.

If you’re able to hang a sheet or something around your bathroom area, it’ll help add a sense of privacy to your shelter.

Give Your Kids Jobs

Kids love to feel useful. In a tight space, there might not be much that needs done. But, any job you can give your kid will help them realize that they are playing an important role in your family’s survival. You might be able to ask them to:

  • Dry dishes
  • Entertain the baby
  • Pick up the trash
  • Organize the supplies
  • Count the different items to help you take inventory
  • Dust

These jobs might not seem critical, but they’ll help your children embrace the situation.

Your Attitude Matters!

Your kids will know how your feeling. If you’re getting sick of being in the tight space, they’re going to pick up on that attitude and amplify it.

Even if it’s hard, try to have a good attitude for the sake of your kids. Look at it as an exciting adventure. Be cheerful about the activities you’ll do.

A little bit of enthusiasm on your part will do wonders in helping the family survive this tough time. This is especially true if the crisis lasts for an extended period of time.

What Ideas Can You Add?

Keeping kids entertained in tight spaces can be challenging, but it’s definitely possible! What ideas can you add to this list? Please share them in the comments section so everyone can have a solid list remember if they ever need it.

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This article has been written by Lisa Tanner for Survivopedia. 

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How to Explain Emergency Preparedness to Kids

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This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com Being prepared for emergencies involves the whole family, whether you are buying supplies and gear, or developing new skills.  Young children quickly notice a change in routine or behavior.  They will become curious about what’s going on.  Kids get anxious whenever anything interrupts the familiar schedule.  If there is an impending emergency such as an ice storm or hurricane, they may become fearful. Here are a few tips on explaining preparedness to kids: […]

The post How to Explain Emergency Preparedness to Kids appeared first on Apartment Prepper.

5 Tips For Distributing Gear Among Your Family

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This is one of those articles every prepper should read because it makes some points that I rarely hear mentioned. First of all, if you have a family, then you shouldn’t have just one bug out bag. You should have a bag for each family member. But if you do that, there are several questions […]

The post 5 Tips For Distributing Gear Among Your Family appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

32 Survival Skills Your Child Should Know and Be Able to Do ASAP!

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Best Of the survival mom

In recognition of National Preparedness Month and to allow me a bit of vacation time, I’m pulling from the archives the most popular blog posts, ever. This one has been read over half a million times!

32 Survival Skills your child should know and be able to do asap. Great list of boredom busters! | via www.TheSurvivalMom.comKnowledge is something that takes time to develop, so we need to start teaching the next generation now.  In case God forbid, our children are left to fend for themselves or we are injured or even just to make your family more apt to survive, every child must learn these survival skills so they can pull their own weight and contribute as much as they can.

It’s not just physical survival we need to teach them but mental, emotional, and spiritual survival as well. If your family learns now to be a well oiled machine, you will be more likely to survive any type of collapse.

  1. Grow vegetables from seeds. This isn’t the easiest skill to master and you’ll need expert advice.
  2. Have local edible and medicinal plant foraging skills. This book is a must-have for foraging beginners.
  3. Knowledge of dietary needs and how to meet them using wild plants and game
  4. Make a fire and know fire safety
  5. Cook on an open fire
  6. Open a can of food with and without can opener (rub can lid ridge on cement and then pry open with knife)
  7. Be able to tell if food is too spoiled to eat
  8. How to safely use a knife
  9. How to shoot a sling shot
  10. How to hunt small game with snares, traps and sling shot
  11. How to fish and hunt, using  a bow and gun when old enough
  12. How to clean fish and wild game
  13. Find water and identify if it’s safe to drink
  14. Filter and boil water to drink
  15. Basic first aid
  16. Basic hygiene practices
  17. Find or build a shelter in the wilderness
  18. How to stay warm, cool, and dry in the elements
  19. How, why and when to stay hidden
  20. Self defense
  21. How to make a basic weapon and how to use it
  22. Be able to run and walk a good distance and be in generally good shape
  23. How to climb a tree to get away from predators, get directional bearings, and hunt
  24. How to read a map and use a compass
  25. How to read the sky for directions, time and approaching bad weather
  26. Know where family and friends live if they need to find them
  27. How to sew so they can mend clothing or any fabric and even make things such as bags or scrap quilts
  28. How to barter and trade (Kids naturally do this with their toys so teach them at garage sales.)
  29. How to be responsible for themselves and to be aware of their surroundings at all times
  30. Have a natural curiosity and good problem solving skills
  31. Be hard working and a self starter and a family helper not a complainer!
  32. Have a strong faith in God (morals, memorize Bible verses, prayers, songs, and have a hope for heaven). Ultimately, everyone reaches a point in which their physical, mental, and emotional abilities are completely taxed. Spiritual survival can make the difference between giving up and finding strength from somewhere to hang in there, just one day at a time.

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How do your kids stack up? For more kid-friendly skills lists, check these out:

 

7 Survival Skills They Should Teach In School

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I clearly remember Sidney Poitier playing the part of Mark Thackeray in the epic movie, “To Sir, With Love.” He had been hired to teach a group of inner-city high school students, but he soon found himself involved in their lives. His students weren’t ready to graduate, let alone ready for real life. So Thackeray […]

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Survival Training for Kids PT1 (Video)

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Survival training is very important for us to learn as adults but also for our children. When we think about natural disasters hitting us, or getting turned around somehow while camping, we naturally think to ourselves, “Well, they have me and i can take care of them”. The question you should ask yourself is, “What if I cant because something happened to me”? Let’s pray it doesn’t but it is always wise to train them to take care of themselves. We teach them this in all aspects of life, so why not wilderness/disaster survival?

After asking people this question I often got the following  statement, “Oh my goodness, where do I even start?” That’s a good question and the answer is always going to be; water, shelter, fire, food. In that order. What you teach them about these things will depend on their age of course but water and shelter are a great place to start.

Rob from Sigma 3 Survival school has put out a series of videos titled, “Survival Training for Kids”.  In part one he introduces us to his 4 year old daughter Shilo and his dog. (Both are exceptionally adorable by the way.) I was captivated with this video because he demonstrates his love for his daughter through the way he teaches her and sets a wonderful example for people starting with a toddler. He shows us her “mini” survival kit and her back pack and how to treat her clothes to avoid ticks and chiggers.

 

 

Video By Angry Prepper
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Provided by American Preppers Network

Number of speakers: 1 (Rob)
Duration:  12 min 39 sec

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Children Murdering Children: The Enduring Legacy of Gun Control

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20003767 - road sign stating gun free zone

20003767 – road sign stating gun free zone

Of all the groups of people harmed most by gun control, none are as obvious as children. Not only are children senselessly murdered in gun free zones, kidnapped and tortured, the anti-gun movement hides behind the innocence of children and uses them as emotional triggers.

If we are ever to liberate our nation and the world from the waste and horror caused by gun control, we must have clear understandings about how these laws hurt children, and how we must change not just our government, but global governing bodies as well.

Gun Free Zones are Deadly to Children

Did you know that the very first modern day massacre of children happened in a gun free zone and was carried out by a child?

In less than a year from the passage of the amended Gun Free School Zone Act, Barry Loukaitis murdered two classmates and one teacher. Barry was just 14 years old, but he ushered in the era of children murdering children with the blessing of the federal laws and other gun control laws across the nation.

This and other cases of children (under age 21) murdering children in gun free zones right here in the US include:

  • Evan Ramsey (age 16) murdered one student and a principal on 2/19/1997 in Bethel Alaska
  • Luke Woodham (age 16) murdered 2 fellow students on 10/1/1997 in Pearl Mississippi.
  • Michael Carneal (age 14) murdered 3 fellow students attending a prayer circle at Heath High School, a gun free zone, on 12/1/1997 in West Paducah, Kentucky.
  • Mitchell Johnson (13), and Andrew Golden (11), murdered 4 students and 1 teacher on 3/24/1998 at Westside Middle Highschool, a gun free zone, in Jonesboro, Arkansas
  • Kip Kinkel (15) murdered 2 students on 5/21/1998 at Thurston High School, a gun free zone in Springfield Oregon.
  • Eric Harris (18) and Dylan Klebold (17) murdered 12 students and one teacher on 4/20/1999 at Columbine High School, a gun free zone located in Littleton, CO
  • Victor Cordova (12) murdered one student on 11/19/1999 at Denning Middle School, a gun free zone in Deming, New Mexico
  • Charles Andrew Williams (15) murdered two students on March 5, 2001 at Santana High School, a gun free zone in Santee, California.
  • Donald R. Burt Jr, (17), murdered one student on 3/30/2001 at Lew Wallace High School, a gun free zone in Gary, Indiana
  • John Jason McLaughlin (15) murdered 2 students on 9/24/2003 at Rocori High School, a gun free zone located in Cold Springs, Minnesota.
  • Adam Lanza (20), murdered 20 children on December 14, 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School, a gun free zone in Newtown, Connecticut.
  • Jaylen Ray Fryberg (15) murdered 2 students on 10/24/14 at Marysville-Pilchuck High School, a gun free zone in Marysville, Washington.

Aside from every one of these murders happening in a federally mandated gun free zone, let us not forget that, according to federal law, in almost all cases, it was also illegal for these children to have guns. No matter whether children murder children, or adults murder children, the fact remains that one law, two laws, hundreds of laws will not stop that tragedy from happening.

The fact that there was no one on the premises of these schools with a gun created more bloodshed, more ruin, and more horror.  In every case, it required police, who had to get to the school, and then to the suspect before the rampage could be stopped WITH A GUN.

It is a universally known fact that the person on the scene first is going to be the one most likely to accomplish their agenda. When murderers want to be the first on the scene so that they can carry out their sick acts, it is patently obvious that they have picked, and will continue to pick gun free zones.

We Don’t Need Studies to Tell Us About the Children Murdered Because of Gun Control

If you think the loss of innocent lives in schools and other gun free zones is a horrific nightmare, then you may not realize much worse may be going on right in your back yard or up the street.

You see, while your children sleep, eat, and play in a home secured by loving, armed, and vigilant parents, other children are not so fortunate. These children are at the mercy of a system that doesn’t allow the parents to have guns because they are living in Section 8 housing, or some other law was passed to disarm people group by group.

And, as you may well know, many of these parents are poor to begin with because the very same people that promote gun control are also the ones  driving our jobs overseas and taxing our nation to death.

If that’s not a disgusting way of using money to disarm the nation and violate our Second Amendment rights, I don’t know what is!

Video first seen on Indiana State Police Information Channel.

Gun Control Doesn’t Limit Itself to Killing America’s Children

Since 2007, a whopping 22% of recognized countries in this world have experienced one or more terrorist attacks at the hand of radical Islamic terrorists, and most of those countries had more than one attack in any given year. To make a list of all the children murdered  in these attacks and point out all of the places with strict gun control is a heartbreaking exercise.

For the moment, let’s focus on 3 of the worst terrorist tragedies overseas involving children slaughtered in gun free zones or nations with strict gun control.

Nigeria

Two of the worst massacres of children at the hands of radical Islamic terrorists occurred in Nigeria.  The first occurred on December 13, 2014, and was carried out by Boko Haram.  At least 35 people were murdered, and almost 200 women and children are missing to this day.  According to the country page for Nigeria at gunpolicy.org, this country is listed as “permissive” insofar as gun rights.

Unfortunately for the anti-gunners, anyone with half a brain that clicks on the citation for that will see that the article quoted was published in 1969.  If you scroll down and look a the  more modern information, you will see that Nigeria is a textbook example of what gun grabbers want to do to this country.

When gun control was imposed on Nigeria in 1990, it became illegal for citizens to own machine guns, hand guns, and “military rifles”. This situation shows so clearly how gun laws only serve to limit non-criminals such as the innocent men, women, and children that were left at the mercy of well armed terrorists.  

To add insult to injury, not one father, not one mother of these missing children has a gun with which to defend themselves from future attacks. It is no wonder that Boko Haram and other terrorist organizations are sitting back laughing as they rape these girls and torture them. Not only did they get away with it, but they know they can get away with it over and over again in every country and area where gun control makes it impossible for people to defend themselves.

Nigeria. Again

Perhaps it should come as no surprise that Boko Haram, did, in fact, strike twice at the children of Nigeria. This time, they didn’t just “hit and run”.  Beginning on January 3, 2015, and ending on January 7th, Boko Haram once again thumbed their noses at gun control after overrunning a military base. Once the only viable guns in the area were neutralized, Boko Haram slaughtered thousands, including innocent women and children.

No matter how much the governments try to reduce the numbers with conflicting fatality reports, the fact remains that 17 towns are gone, and thousands of people remain missing. Clearly, if the people of these villages had guns, we would have far more terrorists laying around dead. When it comes to the harmful impact of gun control on children, Nigeria is one of the best cases because it clearly shows the opportunistic nature of terrorists and how they will strike again and again at any area they see as weak.

Pakistan

An elementary school was attacked on December 16, 2014, resulting in the murder of 132 children.  In order to stop the bloodshed, the Pakistani military had to intervene in order to save almost 1000 more lives.

According to the country page for Pakistan at gunpolicy.org, once, Pakistan is also  listed as “permissive” insofar as gun rights. On the surface, civilians are allowed to own just about any kind of gun, however, all guns must be registered with the government. Unfortunately, this link fails to show the truth about how gun control helped murder those 132 children.

You see, in Pakistan, schools are gun free zones, just as they are here in the United States. As with every other nation on Earth, terrorists will attack and kill in any building or location where they know law abiding people won’t be carrying guns, because they know they can get away with it. Even though Pakistani forces eventually caught the terrorists that attacked the school, there is no bringing those children back, and every terrorist planning an attack knows gun free zones are the best places of all to spread terror and fear.

So What Do We Do About “Gun Violence”?

If there is one thing we can all agree on, it is that the murder of innocent children must stop. I would certainly love to believe that a law restricting guns could fix all of this, however the test of time and case after case proves that laws will not solve this problem.

If children aren’t slaughtered with guns, they will be slaughtered with trucks full of fertilizer, poison gas, and anything else that terrorists can get their hands on. From that perspective, I feel the answer cannot be found in limiting the rights of citizens. Rather, the answer is found in expanding them.  Here’s what I feel would reduce “gun violence” and the slaughter of children here and around the world:

  • Get rid of all public gun free zones.
  • Citizens and businesses that do not own guns should have themselves, their home, and place of business taken off the list of people and  addresses for law enforcement to respond to in the event of a crime or act of terrorism; unless they can prove that they have alternative adequate means to defend property and body. Since anti-gunners are notorious for pointing out the evils of law enforcement right along with guns, there is no reason why our tax dollar should be paying for the very safety they seek to take from the rest of us.
  • Set up a federal program whereby all people can get at least one free gun plus training on how to use it. People that cannot afford guns should also have all fees waived for permits,etc.
  • Speaking of permits, it is also time to do away with all government hindrances on gun ownership and how people choose to carry them.
  • Children should be taught gun safety and marksmanship as soon as they enter the pre-school and elementary school system.
  • At least one  gun range and ammo source, paid for by the federal government, should be available for the poor and needy so that they can practice their skills.

Far to many people today have been brainwashed into believing that guns are only of use in a gunfight. Nevertheless, even in the recent terror attack in Nice, France, the police had to use guns to stop the slaughter of innocent people.

Guns can, and are used to stop terror attacks and crime sprees of every kind, regardless of the weapons used by the attacker. When guns are only in the hands of the police and military, it is the children that suffer.

As we have seen in the US, France, Germany, Pakistan, Nigeria, and every other nation on Earth, guns aren’t going to magically disappear because laws are made against them. The only thing that disappears is personal safety and the safety of our children.

In this election season, Donald Trump is the only presidential candidate willing to give even a slight inkling of how dangerous the “gun controlled” world is. He is also the only candidate willing to get rid of “gun free zones” and admit that they are worse than a failure. Even if you disagree with Trump on everything else, this one issue is the most important litmus test of all.

No nation can be free of crime and terror when citizens are disarmed. No child can be safe in a school not guarded by guns. Shameful as it may be, this is the condition of the nation and world we live in today. To deny that for the sake of gun control, I feel, is the kind of ignorance and selfishness that lead to the destruction of us all.

Each time you hear different, just look at the growing list of terror attacks throughout the world and their magnitude and let your own eyes be the judge of just how serious these problems are.

13_620x110

Refrences:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun-Free_School_Zones_Act_of_1990

http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0777958.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Islamist_terrorist_attacks

http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/terrorism/wrjp39ch.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_Gumsuri_kidnappings

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2015_Baga_massacre

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_Peshawar_school_massacre

https://www.start.umd.edu/gtd/images/START_GlobalTerrorismDatabase_TerroristAttacksConcentrationIntensityMap_45Years.png

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Kids and off grid can work

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Screenshot_2016-07-31-23-30-38-01

Got kids and want to live off grid? Think it’s not possible? Maybe you should check out this family in Canada,  they are doing it very much on the cheap.  One suggestion I would make is to ditch the upright fridge and replace it with a chest freezer to fridge conversion (http://www.off-grid.net/kicked-freezer-fridge-conversion/) it is so incredibly efficient, they could cut down tremendously on their power outlay.

Other than that,  I think they are doing a fantastic job!
https://youtu.be/v8Pe_u_4q5M

 

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How To Build Bug Out Bags For The Family

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There are countless articles on how to make bug out bags, but what if you have to bug out with your spouse, kids, and other family members? Shouldn’t they be carrying something, too? The answer is a resounding YES! The more supplies you can bring with you, the better (just so long as you don’t […]

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Alpha Bravo Creations: Tactical Hand Signals & Phonetic Alphabet Flash Cards

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I’m to review Flashcards teaching Army Hand signals & the Phonetic Alphabet?

When I received this assignment, I was skeptical. Certainly, communications modes are a specialty I’m familiar with, but I’m no Platoon Leader, and my days of playing Army Man is a bit behind me. Besides, this is a review of kids flashcards, my last dealing with was in learning math in grade school.

But I was surprised when I examined the deck of cards of the Phonetic Alphabet, I immediately got the concept & it’s potential. Then, when I tried out the deck of Army Hand signals & American Sign Language, it struck me that these flashcards are invaluable for not just kids, but for adults too.

Communication in it’s purest sense is simply transferring information from one place to another by any means necessary, either verbally, or non-verbally. So while from the standpoint of preparedness, the ability to convey information clearly & accurately is paramount, the ability to also do so silently can be vital.
So here’s where these flashcards come in handy, (pardon the pun).
Use of hand signals offers clear communication totally unspoken, as any misbehaving youngster frozen in mid-frolic by Mom & Dad pointing at them can attest. Message CLEARLY conveyed.

Each flashcard offers a term or statement with an illustration of it’s accompanying hand gesture. There’s also directions on how to do the gesture.  By learning to recognize the gestures and connect it to the word or statement, standard terms & gestures can be strung together to make whole sentences or concepts. By repetition of using these cards anyone can become proficient in using hand signals.
Like I said… very handy.
It didn’t take long at all for this old dog to learn some new tricks, not long at all.
Hand gestures are useful…(bet you thought I’d say HANDY again), if ever I’d be in a situation where I NEED to communicate without speaking a word. Serious stuff, like  HURRY! THIS WAY to the RALLY POINT.

While Alpha Bravo’s Hand Signals for Kids helps kids add realism to their playacting, what you can learn from them can be a vital aid for anyone in a disaster to emergency.

 
http://www.alphabravocreations.com/military-phonetic-alphabet-flashcards/

Next came the deck of flashcards teaching the Phonetic Alphabet.

If you’ve ever seen a Cop show on TV or a Hollywood Blockbuster War Movie, someone is always talking over a mic saying stuff like”Foxtrot Uniform Bravo Alpha Romeo“…or some sort of drivel. It’s not heatstroke that’s got the actor talking gibberish, it’s the PHONETIC ALPHABET, used to verbalize individual letters using spoken words. Tango is the letter “T”, India the letter “I”, Charlie the letter “C”, and so on.

Using phonetics is handy when noise conditions make it hard to discern single letters. Sounds like “Eee” & “Tee” &”Cee” can often be misheard in a noisy location. So by attributing a word starting with the letter, it’s easier to understand, because you’re more likely to hear parts of a word and mentally fill in the blanks.
With the Phonetic Alphabet Flashcards,  Alpha Delta Creations has presented each letter with a picture symbol depiction of the word, as well as it’s corresponding Morse Code symbol.


HUH! What? Morse Code? Hams do Morse code! Heck, even Rambo tapped out Morse code to send a message in one of his movies! Morse Code is HANDY!

While not a requirement any longer to know Morse Code, it’s still a widely popular mode of communication in Ham Radio, the dots & dashes able to be heard & deciphered, when signal conditions are so poor that vocal speech is “in the mud” & unrecognizable.

I know very well the phonetic alphabet, but I never acquired Morse Code. So now, armed with a set of flash cards depicting them, I’ll bet picking up the code could be just as easy as picking up these cards.

Dare say it… it’ll be CHILD’S PLAY.

My review started out skeptical, but I quickly came around. I seriously suggest getting your kids these flashcards & using them yourself. Who says kids get to do all the fun? In fact, make learning how to do Tactical Hand Signaling AND the Phonetic Alphabet & Morse Code a family fun project. One that may pay SERIOUS dividends later.
(I almost forgot… did anybody catch the reference of “Foxtrot, Uniform, Bravo, Alpha, Romeo”? Learn the Phonetic Alphabet & watch Saving Private Ryan till you do. )
LEARN MORE or ORDER a set of flashcards, visit Alpha Bravo Creations Website. www.alphabravocreations.com

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Why Preppers Should Consider Homeschooling

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preppers homeschoolI don’t remember when I first became convinced that homeschooling was the only type of education I wanted for our children. I do know it was long before I ever became pregnant. Now that we’ve finished our eleventh year of homeschooling, I’m more glad than ever of our choice. Homeschooling has been the perfect fit for our prepping family.

The foremost benefit for preppers like us is that homeschooling provides a continuous flow of education in spite of changing circumstances. Any event that would normally disrupt the school year doesn’t have nearly the same impact on homeschoolers. During a time of intense stress and change, a homeschooling family is together, along with the reassurance and the anchor that only parents can provide. This family survival manual will set you up with everything necessary for getting ready for emergencies.

Experienced homeschoolers know that you can “do school” at any time of the day or night. You can fill a backpack and a Kindle with all the curriculum you need and hit the road. School can happen in the waiting room of a hospital, in a Red Cross emergency shelter, or at Grandma’s house for an extended stay.

READ MORE: What if you were forced to homeschool? Could you do it? What might you need to do now to prepare?

It’s the versatility of homeschooling that lured us to this way of life and should everything hit the fan, for whatever reason, it may disrupt our homeschooling for a time, but at least we have the curriculum, supplies, and confidence to continue, even through the high school years.

No relocation trauma

If a family decides to move to another location or has to evacuate for a time, other than losing some time in the moving process, kids can pick up their schooling right where they left off. When we moved from Arizona to Texas, it did take a bit of catching up and a few hours with a math tutor to get my daughter back on track with Algebra, but within weeks, it was as if we’d always lived here and our schooling just continued in spite of the rather large blip.

(Our move didn’t go exactly smoothly, and I wrote about it here.)

The trauma of leaving one school and starting over in another is a non-issue. Our kids didn’t have to face walking into a classroom of strangers and when we landed in our little corner of Texas, little by little, they found their place among homeschoolers. We joined a large group of homeschooling families, which offered a Girls Book Club, a Boys Book Club, papercrafting classes, a homeschool baseball team, horseback riding lessons, a homeschool archery club, a rowing team, rugby, lacrosse,  you name it. Within a short time, it was as if my kids had always lived here.

In case a pandemic hits, homeschooled kids will already be at home, along with their textbooks, computers, and everything else they need for learning. School closings and quarantines will be one less thing to worry about.

Will they be isolated and weird?

If you’re worried about socialization, that homeschooled kids will turn out “weird” and unable to order a cheeseburger at McDonald’s,  I present to you my two children.

My daughter is now a senior in high school and, gasp!, she’s been homeschooled since kindergarten and throughout her high school years. She has taken sewing classes, been on swim teams and in a year-round swim club. She’s tried out cheerleading, took piano lessons, has been in Toastmasters for 3 years, a homeschool drama class, has dissected just about everything a Biology student can dissect and is handy with both a rifle and a handgun. She cooks from scratch, can make her own homemade beauty products, knows how to dehydrate food and can use a Sun Oven.

When she left for church camp this summer, she packed a small emergency kit with her: an emergency blanket, her Swedish fire knife, a Sawyer mini water filter, a multitool and a flashlight. She is confident and in so many ways already ready for college and beyond.

So proud.

My son is now 14. He’s in Civil Air Patrol and focused like a laser on moving up in the ranks. He’s on a rowing team, plays on a homeschool baseball team, and can talk with anyone about anything, anywhere, anytime. In the past, he’s been on an archery team, gone to a shooting skills summer camp, taken horseback riding lessons, and has even made his own forge. I’ve seen him stay calm in situations where I was near panic and have come to rely on him as a strong and steady member of our family.

Just from these bits and pieces of my kids’ homeschooling activities over the years, you can see they’ve had plenty of time to learn practical skills and spend time with people of all ages. They aren’t unique. They are very much typical homeschoolers and ours is the typical homeschool experience.

The false argument, “But what about socialization?”, isn’t an issue, and it never really was. (I don’t happen to think that putting a gaggle of kids who just happen to be the same age in a room together for 9 months is the ultimate in developing well-rounded kids, but maybe that’s just me.)

Both social and practical skills

Our homeschooling has given them the time to develop practical skills, like canning and gardening, that would otherwise be limited by public school hours and homework. For preppers, this is the ideal educational setting: kids are able to learn academic subjects and still have time to explore their own interests and learn skills of self-reliance.

When I was in elementary and high school, decades ago, there were practical skills classes beginning in 7th grade. I learned how to iron, how to bake and cook, and how to use basic hand tools. Hunting, fishing, foraging, gardening, and canning were once a part of everyday life for the majority of Americans. Now, if parents do not teach these skills to their kids, who will? Certainly not the public school system.

DON’T MISS: “Homeschooling: Where Academics & Survival Skills Meet

If you want your kids, to learn practical, life-long skills, it’s up to you. This is where grandparents and extended family can play a huge role. Certainly, among the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and others in you family circle, there’s an abundance of knowledge and skills that could die out with that generation. Just yesterday, I was wishing that I had thought to ask my own great-aunts about growing up during the Great Depression.

Take advantage of the wealth of knowledge right in your own backyard and prepare your kids for a future of self-reliance by learning those skills now. Homeschooling helps make this possible because the “school day” is generally much, much shorter than the 7-8 hours spent in public schools, Monday through Friday.

Homeschooling for the tightest budgets

Another reason that preppers should consider homeschooling is because it’s many advantages come with a tiny price tag. In fact, there is a multitude of resources online that are absolutely free.

The curriculum that our family has thoroughly enjoyed over the years is AmblesideOnline. This challenging, 36-week curriculum is completely free and follows the educational philosophy and principles of Charlotte Mason, a British educator who established several schools in the late 1800’s. The website, SimplyCharlotteMason, explains:

The Charlotte Mason method is based on Charlotte’s firm belief that the child is a person and we must educate that whole person, not just his mind. So a Charlotte Mason education is three-pronged: in her words, “Education is an Atmosphere, a Discipline, a Life.”

AmblesideOnline provides the curriculum, book lists, and dozens of resources — the only expense is the actual books, and many of those are free online and can be found in used bookstores. For many reasons, this curriculum worked out perfectly for my family. When I saw my 11-12 year old daughter reading the original Mary Poppins, the original Peter Pan, and Oliver Twist and then discussing with me the themes of the novels without the need of a textbook or workbook guiding her thoughts and conclusions, well, I was impressed, especially coming from a public school background as a teacher, where so much literature for kids is “bottom of the barrel.” (Captain Underpants, anyone? The mindset of the public school system is that kids just aren’t bright enough to comprehend “hard” books.)

There are dozens of other curricula, though, and if you’re a beginner, you can read through my articles of advice for beginners. The main point is that homeschooling doesn’t have to cost much money at all. In fact, since so many homeschooling families are single-income with mom staying home, you’ll find yourself right at home with families who are also budget-minded and prefer to live simply in order to provide this education for their kids.

A multitude of free homeschooling resources on the web can take the place of more expensive curriculum if need be.

Self-reliant families in homeschool circles

I have found that homeschooling parents are generally eager to share their experiences and offer advice and suggestions, and chances are, there are homeschooling activity groups and co-ops in your area. However, beyond that help, you will find that homeschooling families tend toward self-reliance, and you will likely find other prepper families in these groups.

We’re used to swimming against the flow and are just a little bit rebels at heart, so prepping and homeschooling are a natural fit.

READ MORE: Here is a list of all the homeschooling articles that have appeared here on The Survival Mom.

“Follow your heart”, isn’t always the best advice, but when it comes to homeschooling, I think it’s an excellent guide. If your heart is telling you to, at least, consider homeschooling, there’s no better time to do that than right now.

This article was originally published in June, 2009, and has been updated.

preppers homeschool

The Prepper Family’s Summer Bucket List

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The Prepper Family Summer Bucket List via The Survival Mom

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!

Food

  • 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. Zaycon Foods delivers fresh chicken and other products around the country, making it easy to buy in bulk for a major day of canning.
  • 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

Emergency drills

  • 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.)
  • 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 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 they 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 upon 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.
  • Identify 10 local birds.
  • Identify 10 local insects or small animals.
  • 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.

Want even more ideas for a fun summer?

The Prepper Family's Summer Bucket List via The Survival Mom

Natural First Aid For Kids That Preppers Should Know

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Survivopedia first aid for kids

Do you have an alternative medicine cabinet ready for your kids? Would you be able to fix up their wounds and heal their common sicknesses if you couldn’t make it to the doctor?

If you have kids, this is an essential area for emergency preparedness. The day may come when you can’t just head to the store and pick up another bottle of acetaminophen.

You’ll have to have a plan in place, because kids get hurt frequently. They’re also prone to sickness. To help them feel better, there are plenty of natural remedies to use.

But first, let’s take care of some precautionary information:

A Child’s Dosage

Unlike those bottles at the pharmacy, natural remedies don’t always feature a dosage chart for children. Overdosing on any medication, even a natural one, can be dangerous. Don’t give your child an adult-sized dose.

Instead, you’ll need to calculate the percentage of the adult dose to give to your child. It’s based on age. Here’s a simple way to do the calculations using long division and multiplication:

  1. How old will your child be at his next birthday?
  2. Divide that number by 24.
  3. Round to the first decimal place
  4. Multiply that number by the adult dose.

Here’s an example:

  1. 7
  2. 7/24=.291
  3. .291 rounded to the first decimal place is .3
  4. That means a 7 year old would get 30% of an adult dose. If the adult dose was 5ml (1 tsp) this child would need 1.5ml.

The older your child is, the closer to an adult dose he’ll need. If you’re treating a baby and you’re breastfeeding, you can take the remedy yourself and pass it through your milk.

Storage of Natural Remedies

Light and heat should be kept away from your remedy supply. A dark glass bottle, stored in a cool part of the home is a great storage solution.

You’ll also want to make sure your remedies are inaccessible to children. If you don’t have a high shelf ready, consider using a lock-box. That way curious little hands can’t accidentally overdose.

Honey & Babies

Some of these remedies use honey. Honey isn’t appropriate to give to a child younger than a year old, so avoid these treatments with babies.

essential oils

Natural First Aid for Children: Wound Care

Since they’re bodies are constantly growing and changing, children tend to be a bit clumsy. They bang into things and fall frequently. Bruises, cuts, and scrapes are common wounds you’ll have to tend.

With open wounds, infection is a primary concern. Keep the wound clean and dry. Bandages or strips of cloth help. Rather than using store-bought antibiotic ointment, try these natural alternatives before you cover the wound.

Witch Hazel

Take time to stock up on witch hazel. It’s typically found by the hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol at the store. Store-bought witch hazel contains isoproply alcohol, helping it to clean wounds completely.

It also forms a protective barrier, which promotes healing. It will sting though, so you might want to warn your little one before you squirt it on.

Sage Honey

Raw honey has antibacterial properties. It’s beneficial all on its own, but when combined with sage and left to age, you’ll have an even stronger antibacterial ointment. This treatment is also simple to prepare, especially if you grow your own sage. It’ll also last in your cupboard for a long time.

To prepare the sage honey:

  • Take a small glass canning jar, and loosely add chopped sage leaves. You want to fill the jar, but not pack the leaves down.
  • Next, pour raw honey over the top. It’ll cover the leaves and fill up the jar completely.
  • Then, put a lid on the jar and leave it to rest. You’ll want it to sit at room temperature for at least 24 hours before you use it. Over time, it’ll become even stronger.

If desired, you can remove the leaves in 4 weeks. It’ll make it a bit easier to rub onto wounds, and a bit more child friendly.

Sage honey is easy to use, and safe for children. You just apply a small amount to the top of the wound.

Lavender Oil Rub

Lavender oil helps reduce pain and prevent infection, making it the perfect go-to flower for small cuts. If you already have essential oil, you’ll want to dilute it with a carrier oil. Olive oil and coconut oil both work well. If you need to make the oil, this Survivopedia article can help.

A ratio of 10 drops of essential oil to 1 ounce of carrier oil is appropriate. For children, it’s important to ensure essential oils are properly diluted before use. Never apply them full-strength.

To prepare the lavender oil rub:

  • Measure your carrier oil into a dark container.
  • Add your essential oil.
  • Mix thoroughly.

You can either rub a small amount of the lavender oil rub directly onto the wound, or you can soak a cloth in the prepared oil. You can then use the soaked cloth as a compress, wrapping it around the sore.
Plantain

Plantain is common in many parts of the world. It’s also an astringent, which helps slow and stop bleeding. If you’re out in the woods and need an immediate remedy, chew on a few plantain leaves. Then, use those chewed leaves to cover the wound.

It’ll help the bleeding stop while you get back to the rest of your medical supplies. Teach your children to recognize this important plant, and how to chew it. If they’re on their own and injured, it’s a safe first-aid remedy they can use on their own.

Arnica

Arnica helps reduce swelling. It’s a helpful herb for bruises and bumps. If you’re able to stock up on homeopathic arnica pellets, you’ll help get your natural first-aid kit ready. You can also create your own cream to use topically.

This is how to make an arnica cream:

  • After harvesting arnica, you’ll want to dry the plant completely.  Then, it’s time to turn it into an infused oil.
  • You’ll need a carrier oil to use for your base. Coconut oil, olive oil, and almond oil are common base oils.
  • Fill a clean jar loosely with chopped, dried arnica. Then, cover the arnica with carrier oil, and put a lid on the jar.
  • You’ll want this oil to sit in a warm, sunny spot for two weeks. After the time passes, strain out the arnica using cheese cloth. Throw out the used herbs.
  • Your oil isn’t yet ready to turn into cream. It needs another batch of dried arnica added. Just add it directly to the oil in the jar. Leave this covered for another two weeks, and then strain out the herbs for a second time.
  • Once you’ve finished the oil, you can measure it into a sauce pan. For every cup of oil, you’ll want to add ¼ cup of grated beeswax.
  • Heat this mixture over low heat until the beeswax completely melts. Take it off the heat, and transfer it to a small jar for storage.

Rub a small amount on bumps and bruises to promote healing.

bug spray

Natural Remedies for Coughs & Colds & Earaches

In addition to bumps and bruises, children are prone to colds and upper respiratory infections. Ear infections are also common. There are natural remedies for all of these ailments.

Peppermint Tea

A cup of hot tea helps loosen congestion. The peppermint also contains menthol, which helps decongest the sinuses. If your child is too young for tea, simply smelling the steam from a cup of your tea will provide some relief.

Warm Honey Lemonade

Honey and lemon both help soothe the throat. This is an excellent treatment for a child with a cough.

This is how to prepare the honey lemonade:

  • Place ½ cup of honey and ½ cup of lemon juice in a saucepan, and gently stir as you warm over low heat.
  • Once the honey and lemon have completely combined, add ½ gallon of warm water.
  • Continue stirring until the lemonade is as warm as you’d like it to be. Then, remove from heat.

Encourage your child to drink a mug of the hot lemonade every few hours. Not only will this help with a cough, it’ll also keep your little one hydrated.

Garlic

Garlic is a powerful medicinal herb with many health benefits. If your child is getting a cough or a cold, chop up a clove of garlic finely. Your child can either eat this plain, add it to a glass of water, or you can mix it with butter and spread it on toast. My kids prefer that method, as the butter and bread help cut some of the garlicy taste.

cough

You can also make garlic oil that helps with earaches. Garlic oil doesn’t last long without refrigeration, which means you might not want to mix up large quantities all at once. The good news is it’s simple to prepare, so you can make a fresh batch each day you need it.

Here is how to make garlic oil.

  • Crush a clove of fresh garlic and add it to a saucepan with a couple tablespoons of olive oil.
  • Slowly heat the oil over low heat for twenty minutes.
  • Strain out the garlic.

Add 2-3 drops of oil to the hurting ear. You can repeat this treatment every few hours to provide maximum pain relief.

However, if your child has a perforated ear drum, this is not an appropriate treatment. If you aren’t sure if the ear drum has ruptured, use a garlic compress instead.

To make a garlic compress, soak a small piece of cloth in your garlic oil. Squeeze out the excess liquid before use. Have your child hold the garlic compress to her ear. This will provide relief, though not as quickly as the garlic oil.

In addition to earaches, you can also use a garlic compress on top of a wound to help prevent infection.

Do you heal your child naturally?

There are many other natural treatments for common ailments. Share your favorite natural remedies for kids with the rest of our readers in the comments below, and click on the banner for more knowledge about surviving where is no doctor around!

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This article has been written by Lisa Tanner for Survivopedia.

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10 Essentials For Prepping With A Special Needs Child

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SVP special needs child

Do you have a family member with special needs? I do. My oldest son, Owen, was born with Angelman Syndrome. It’s a deletion on the maternal 15th chromosome.

He’s completely non-verbal, globally developmentally delayed, has hard to control epilepsy, and eats anything he can get his hands on as a result of Pica. He’s also one amazing kid with a cheerful personality. He’s a fighter—surviving more in his short life than most people have to in a lifetime.

That’s how I know that prepping with a child with special needs is a bit different. It requires some serious thought, and some creativity. Read the following article, and you will see what I mean.

Special needs is sort of a catch-all phrase. It doesn’t mean exactly the same thing from one individual to the next. That means we won’t prep exactly the same way. We all have to do what’s best for our individual family.

Regardless of your loved one’s diagnosis, here are ten things to consider when prepping:

1.     Make an Accurate Inventory of Needs

What does your loved one need each day? Take time to make an accurate inventory of these needs. On a piece of paper or your computer, list:

  • Daily meds (including dosage)
  • Rescue meds
  • Self-Care needs (diapers, wipes, gloves, etc.)
  • Durable medical equipment (wheelchair, stander, walker, etc.)
  • Other medical supplies (feeding tube supplies, bags, catheters, etc.)
  • Special food (formulas, etc.)
  • Anything else your loved one needs on a regular basis

Now that you have a list, you can use this information to help you prep. Look over your list. What are essentials to life, and what are niceties instead of necessities? Prioritize your list in order of most essential to least essential. That way you can start with the essentials.

2.     Talk to Your Loved One

As you start prepping, be sure to talk to you loved one. I operate under the belief that my son understands a lot more than I realize. When I talk to the other kids about what we’re doing and why, Owen is there too.

I explain it in as age-appropriate terms as I can, and reassure them all. We talk about our fire escape plans, our family meeting place, why we’re stockpiling certain things, and everything else we can think of.

I explain to Owen that one of the reasons his bedroom is on the ground floor is so that he won’t have to try and jump through a window. It’s not something he could physically do. I let him know that we’ve thought about his needs, and will always do our very best to meet them.

Include your loved one in conversations and planning so they have an idea of what you’re thinking and can ask questions if possible.

3.     Prepare for the Most Likely Event First

I live in the middle of nowhere surrounded by miles of timber in every direction. Wildfire is the most likely event I should prep for. The odds of having a fire come through my land are greater than other natural disasters.

I know that in a wildfire event, we’d have to bug out. It’d be much easier to stay put with all of Owen’s equipment, but it wouldn’t be safe to do so. So we make sure we’re prepared before wildfire season rolls around.

Owen’s wheelchair stays on our family’s minibus when we’re not using it inside. So does a dose of each of his emergency medications. Each year, I repack a plastic tote with clothes for everyone. I also include a couple days’ worth of meds for Owen, diapers, wipes, and disposable gloves.

There’s also some bottled water and storable food. It’s everything we’d need to survive somewhere else for a few days. And it’s already packed on the bus and ready to make a quick exit.

What event is most likely in your area? If you haven’t yet started getting prepared, prep for that event first. Think through it in your mind, and start gathering what you’ll need.

Start by getting a 3-day supply built up of all your loved one’s essentials. It’s a baby step, but an important one.

Bug Out or Bug In? 

Medical equipment is heavy. It’s bulky. And it certainly doesn’t move quietly through the woods. Depending on your child’s mobility, leaving might be very difficult.

When you’re making plans for a crisis, you might find it makes more sense to stay put. That way you don’t have to leave all of your equipment and medical stockpiles behind. If we don’t absolutely have to leave the farm, we’re planning on staying here.

4.     Stockpiling Meds

I’ve heard that some doctors are understanding and will help you stockpile meds to be better prepared. I haven’t yet found this to be true. Unfortunately, doctors are at the mercy of insurance companies, and most of modern medications are very expensive.

The insurance companies don’t want to shell out more than they absolutely have to. They carefully monitor dosages, when medications are being refilled, and do everything they can to prevent paying for too many.

But, there are still ways to stockpile meds. Using these techniques, I’ve successfully gotten a couple week supply built up of most of my son’s medications.

Auto Refill

Simply by switching to auto-refill, the medication is refilled as soon as the insurance company will allow it. I’ve found this is usually a couple of days before the medication runs out. Owen’s meds are automatically shipped to us thanks to a mail order pharmacy, and I’m slowly building a reserve.

Refill On Time Even When Just Starting the Medicine

Almost every med my son has started required a slow start. He started with a half-tablet, or just one instead of two. As his body adjusted to the medicine, we slowly increased the dosage.

He didn’t use the entire bottle before it was time to refill. I refilled it anyways. Just like that, a small stockpile was created.

Save Meds

Each time my son has surgery scheduled, he doesn’t take his meds in the morning. They have such a long half-life that it’s easier to just skip the dose than to mess with trying to make him take them without food or drink.

If your loved one has to miss a dose for some reason, hang onto that pill. Each time you save a pill, you’re adding one additional dose to your stockpile.

5.     Learn Alternatives to Medication

My son’s seizures are controlled well on a low-carb, high fat diet. Unfortunately, this diet takes a toll in other ways, especially in his behavior. That’s why we’re relying on meds currently.

But, if I ran out, I know I could keep the majority of his seizures away by changing his diet. With a milk cow for cream, and chickens for eggs, I have a steady supply of ingredients for a high-fat, low carb diet.

Not every medication can be replaced by a natural alternative. But, many of them can. This Survivopedia post shares some excellent points about medication alternatives that are easier to stockpile. Do some research and see what you can try as a replacement.

Know What Each Medication Does

Before you can think about replacing a medication, you have to know what it does. Ensure that you know the purpose behind every drug your loved one takes. You can see if there are over-the-counter meds that might work in a pinch.

You should also research the half-life of each drug. That’s how long it’ll last in their system.

I’m not a doctor, but in a crisis situation, you may be able to increase the amount of time between each dose. That’ll help stretch your stockpile. You can also experiment with dosage and see if you can offer a lower dose and still get the desired result.

Have a Medication Weaning Plan

Going cold-turkey off of some pharmaceuticals can cause many problems. It’s often too much of a shock for the body. That’s why having a weaning plan is imperative.

When you can no longer pick up meds, take a count. Inventory everything you have and see how many doses that is. Then, work backwards to slowly cut the doses down. That way instead of going from a full dose to nothing when you run out, you already have a plan in place for stepping off the med.

If you’ve found a natural alternative, be sure to slowly introduce this during the weaning period. It’ll be a smoother transition for your child than changing it all at once.

6.     Think Through Dietary Changes

If your loved one requires a special diet, or is fed by formula, it’s essential to think through alternatives. Do you have a way to meet nutritional needs without the actual formula?

Could you stockpile infant formula? It won’t have the exact same nutrients, but its readily available and will provide some nutrition.

Could you create a homemade formula out of goat’s milk and supplements? Start researching recipes and learning from other parents in similar situations.

Having a backup plan for meals will help you know what to store.

7.     Stockpile Medical Supplies

In addition to meds and dietary needs, what else does your loved one need? My son struggles with incontinence since he can’t tell me when he needs to go to the bathroom. As a result, we need to keep diapers and wipes on hand.

By receiving as many packs as the insurance will allow, we’ve built up a nice supply of diapers. We are working with Owen on toileting, so our supply lasts longer than it otherwise would. Every diaper not used is one we can store.

I’ve also used the subscribe and save feature on Amazon to stockpile supplies we purchase out of pocket. I just have an order shipped a little sooner than I really need it. Over time, a nice supply has accumulated. You can try this for:

  • Over the counter meds
  • Disposable gloves
  • Baby wipes
  • First aid supplies
  • Anything that’s shelf stable

8.     What About Power?

Is your loved one dependent on electricity for any reason? From powering feeding pumps to using oxygen, many medical devices require constant access to electricity.

Do you have the ability to power your house off the grid? If you aren’t able to completely unplug currently, consider investing in a generator. Or ensure you have what you need to build your own.

It’s a small step towards preserving your loved one’s quality of life while you gain more self-sufficiency.

9.     The Marvel of Modern Science

Many children with special needs, my son included, have had their lives saved or extended because of modern science. Owen has used life-saving emergency seizure medications more than once. He also has a battery operated device implanted in his chest keeping many seizures at bay.

In addition to seizure rescue, other medical advancements have kept him alive. He’s used rescue medication for a severe reaction to a wasp sting. He’s had emergency surgery to pull foreign bodies out of his throat.

Without modern society, he most likely wouldn’t have survived many of these events. Before advancements in science and pharmaceuticals, the infant and child death rate was higher. Society simply didn’t have the medicine and medical training necessary to save those lives.

Unfortunately, there’s not always a suitable replacement for modern science when a crisis occurs. I simply won’t be able to perform the surgery needed to replace the battery in his VNS implant. I will run out of meds at some point. He will likely continue to eat objects that pose a threat to his life.

You have to be mentally prepared for the worst. All of the prepping and stockpiling of meds can only go so far.

As author William Forstchen discusses in the novel One Second After, the chronically ill and the elderly are at a distinct disadvantage in case of an EMP or solar storm. They’re also at risk in many other SHTF situations. As hard as it is to admit, not everyone will survive a crisis despite your best efforts.

10. Today Isn’t Necessarily Your Future

Because of the high risk for people with special needs, it’s easy to get caught thinking about what will happen to your child if society changes. Depression and a sense of despair are common. But, there’s one essential component we haven’t covered yet.

Life Changes

When my son was first diagnosed, he couldn’t swallow liquids properly. He was diagnosed with failure to thrive. Eventually, he had a g-tube installed surgically.

For a couple of years, he got almost all of his nutrition through his tube. Any liquids he took by mouth had to be thickened. He was hooked to an electrical pump at night, and drip fed for several hours. We assumed he’d be using his tube forever.

But we were wrong. Today, we only use the tube to keep him hydrated in times of intense illness. He eats everything else by mouth, and can swallow liquids without aspirating. As he grew and got stronger, he outgrew some difficulties.

I share this because you can’t accurately predict what the future holds. None of us can. Just because your child requires certain medications or treatments today, it doesn’t mean that’s what is in store forever.

So prep for today’s needs. That’s all we can do. But know that as life changes, your child’s needs will change. As each change occurs, take time to reevaluate your prepping plan. Update your gear, change out meds. That way you’re always as ready as you can be.

How Are You Prepping?

What special needs do your loved ones have? Please share in the comments how you are prepping for these needs. As a community, we can all learn from each other, and be better prepared for whatever tomorrow brings.

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This article has been written by Lisa Tanner for Survivopedia.

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5 Steps to Creating a Culture of Self-Reliance in Your Family

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teaching self-relianceWe have all known people who save everything. My grandmother is one of them. If there are four green beans left in the pot, she puts them in the freezer. I remember one specific visit with her, 27 years ago, where she asked me to get her a bowl of ice cream. What I thought was the container of vanilla ice cream was actually a container of saved bacon grease.

Fast forward to today. She is now 96 years old, and still saving every last morsel and dollar. Grandma grew up during the Great Depression; those habits, ingrained in her when young, are still manifest today. The family snickers a little bit about it, but we know she will not outlive her money or her things. Isn’t there something reassuring about that? She has always worked hard at being self-reliant. Will our children be able to do the same?

As I watch the news and look around me, I wonder if another Depression wouldn’t do us some good. It wasn’t too long ago when life wasn’t so convenient. Many in our society have lost the mindset that our grandparents had. We have instant and immediate food, entertainment, communication, and information. Many feel that things will always be as good as they are now, but history does repeat itself. Perhaps one of the most important things we can do is prepare the next generation for whatever may arise.

Like those who have habits from the depression, you can make self-reliance and preparedness a part of your family culture. One of the most effective ways to do this is to live it every day. Whether we have children of our own or are involved in an organization such as a church or school, we have the power to instill preparedness values. Now is the time for us to equip the younger generation with skills that will help them be confident and prepared for anything life may throw at them.

READ MORE: Volunteer organizations and the 4-H Club are excellent choices for instilling values of self-reliance in young people.

If you have children I recommend that you have a weekly family council. Along with normal family business, make goals on implementing these principles of preparedness into your family. If you are part of another organization, teach classes or organize projects that encourage preparedness. Set the example by your actions.

Five Preparedness Principles

There are five principles that can generate a preparedness mindset:

Thriftiness and frugality

The longstanding adage “Eat it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without”, still holds true today. The importance of being thrifty and frugal is often forgotten. Clothes can be mended, altered and remade into other items. I have seen curtains reused to cover chairs, a table cloth became pillow covers and adult size clothes were remade into clothes for a younger child. Learn ways to take other household items and re-purpose them.

Another way to pinch pennies is to find out where all of your pennies are going. There are many forms online that can be used to assist in budgeting. Record your family’s expenses for one month and then gather together to review them. Are there any non-essentials that can be eliminated? Involve family members in creating a budget. Teach them to differentiate between wants and needs and set financial goals together. Save money for a vacation or purchase that the whole family can enjoy. Budget additional funds to be set aside for large purchases and for emergencies. Teach your kids now that it is not worth “keeping up with the Joneses”.

For more ideas:

Strive for independence

This would include independence from anything that prevents us from living to our full potential. Avoid any habits or addictions that restrict your body and mind. Eat healthy, exercise, surround yourself with good friends, and strengthen yourself spiritually and mentally.

Look at your finances. What can you do to be financially independent? Do not get into the habit of using credit for purchases. Many people look at the monthly payment amount versus the real amount of an item. If you have debt, pay it down now. There are many websites available to help accomplish this.

Time is another area where you can be independent. Choose how to prioritize and use it wisely, which would include helping others. Teach this next generation the importance of being kind and charitable. Donate money and time to projects you feel are worthwhile. There are many opportunities available in your own community or help out with a need on the other side of the world. Either way, you will develop a deeper empathy towards others and an appreciation for what you have.

Become industrious

It sounds odd to tell someone to work at being industrious, but it does require energy to be creative and find balance in life. Look at your life and see what circumstances are around you. Search for ways to be resourceful. You may discover talents you did not know you had.

Are there any enterprising opportunities available that you could take advantage of? Another source of income could benefit you and those around you. Find ways to increase your marketability in the workplace. It may be finishing that degree, taking community classes or a free online classes (many are available). Look in your community. See if there is a need that could be filled by a skill that you possess. Teach those around you the importance of an honest work ethic.While industriousness is good, remember that wherever you are at in life, be there completely. When you are at work, work. When you are at home, leave work alone and enjoy your time with family and friends. If you need down time, take it.

READ MORE: How did people earn money during the Great Depression? You might be surprised by their creativity and industriousness!

Strive for self-reliance

I am sure you know people who seem to be able to do, make, or fix anything. Chances are, they had to work on those skills often before they mastered it. Like them, you need to continue to learn and put what you learn into practice. The internet is a great resource. We can learn how to do basic car maintenance, repairs on our home, first aid, and taking care of what we already own. Not only can you save money by doing these things yourself, you are free from depending on others to do them for you. There is a sense of pride and accomplishment that comes from doing and mastering new tasks. Planting a garden is another way of developing self-reliance. Not only will you save money on groceries and enjoy fresh produce, there are benefits much greater. Gardening, along with other tasks, allow you to spend time with those close to you. Working together as a group builds stronger relationships, whether it is between parent and child, as friends, or in a community setting. There is a sense of togetherness and learning that you cannot get anywhere else. If you do not teach those around you how to work, who will?

Aim towards having a year’s supply of clothing and food

Don’t let this overwhelm you. Take baby steps. Make a list of the amounts of food and commodities that your family normally consumes in one day. Take that list and multiply it by 7. That is your one week supply. When you have a one week supply stored, continue until you have three months supply. Use and rotate your 3 month supply. Then focus on long term storage.

Many foods, such as grains, beans, and pasta can have a shelf life of 30+ years. Clothing can be a bit of a challenge if you have growing kids. Looking at clearance racks and thrift stores can be an inexpensive way to work on storing clothes and shoes. If you sew, fabric is also be a great addition to your years supply. Do not forget to include any notions you may need.

GET STARTED: Read this comprehensive list of food storage basics.

As you begin to create a culture of self-reliance, you will feel more confident about your ability to withstand almost any hardship. We cannot depend on the government or charities to provide services and care for the millions of people across the nation when a disaster happens. It is essential that each individual and family do all they can to be responsible for themselves when needed. If we are wise and careful with our resources, we will be able to sustain ourselves through difficult times.

Learn more about Great Depression survival

self reliance culture

Why to get your kids involved in prepping

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Why to get your kids involved in prepping

Guest post written by: James Smith

As a parent and a prepper nothing plagues me more than my fear of my children being in a SHTF scenario. As a parent it is your natural instinct to protect your young ones from any and all harm. However, as a prepper I have learned that part of being prepared is to accept that sometimes things can happen that you have no control over. Once you relinquish this false sense of control you are truly ready to equip yourself against the worst.

The best way to protect your kids is to arm them with the facts and get them into prepping as well. Have an open and honest discussion with them. Find out how aware they are of the world around them. What do they know about emergencies and things going wrong? Highlight your fears to them. Tell them what you think can happen. Work on an emergency plan with them. Get their input as well. Kids are innovative and they have a way of looking at things with a unique perspective. You might be surprised at how many good ideas for prepping your child might come up with.

An important thing to remember when getting your children involved – do not overwhelm them. While it might seem like a good idea to tell them everything you fear, this is not always appropriate, they are children after all. Start small, talk about the more realistic and likely scenarios with them first. A good place to start is school shootings. This is a very common topic and sadly a very commonplace occurrence. Schools nowadays are also focusing on running drills for school shootings. This means your child will have at least some understanding of the topic and a good idea of what to do. Once you have established an open talking channel with your child you can move on to the more outlandish cases out there.

Start by formulating a family emergency plan. Make your child a planner. Don’t just ask them to be a passive onlooker in your family’s emergency plan. The more your child is involved the more likely he/she is to become serious about it and follow through with it, should the need ever arise. Work on making your child independent. Society today is very removed from nature. Too much food comes out of a box or plastic bag. Teach your child where their food comes from. Teach them how to be self-sufficient in their needs. Start out by taking a few camping trips with your child. Get them in touch with nature. Children actually enjoy the out-doors once they get used to the idea of being away from tv/computer/phone screens. If you make these activities family centered and fun your child will look forward to the trips. Focus on building key skills like fishing and hunting. You might even pick up a few fun hobbies along the way. Using the best spotting scope, we got for hunting, my son and I spotted some beautiful western bluebirds. After this we both actually fell in love with bird watching. Now we enjoy our skill-building camping trips even more as avid bird-watchers.

Prepping doesn’t necessarily have to be a frightening experience for you or your child. Make it a fun, family activity. Get your children involved when they are young. Don’t leave out the girls, survival skills are important for everyone. The last thing I would say purely as a parent – trust your children. Trust them to do what’s right in a survival situation and teach them all that you can when they are still in their teenage years. Happy prepping!

 

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DIY Splash Pad – A Mini Water Park For Your Yard

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DIY Splash Pad – A Mini Water Park For Your Yard This is a really cool, fun DIY project that the whole family can have great time putting together and then having some good old fashioned water fun. 🙂 Even the adults. Now that it’s (finally!) getting warmer, this is the perfect family project. Lauren …

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7 Tips For Keeping Your Family Together in an Emergency

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The thing that frightens me the most about an unexpected disaster is being separated from my family and unable to get to them. I work from home, but my wife works 30 minutes away and my son goes to a school 10 minutes away, which means we spend almost a third of every weekday away […]

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Safety First: What Your Kids Should Know to Stay Out of Trouble this Summer

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Summer is the perfect time for kids to get outside and play and parents need to prepare them for some hazards that could be outside the home. Parents also need to take action to keep children safe whenever possible. Here is what your kids should know to stay out of trouble this summer.

Never Go Swimming Alone

Water is a major summertime danger. Kids can be easily injured or even drown while trying to swim alone. Make certain your kids understand to never go swimming without adults or a lifeguard supervising and that they should never go near bodies of water alone. Prevent a real tragedy by having them enrolled in swimming lessons as well.

Always Wear Safety Gear When Biking or Playing Sports

Riding bikes and skateboards throughout the summer is a summer classic. Even soccor and other sports games seem to ramp up this time of year and are all opportunities for being injured and getting into trouble. It takes only one second for a child to slam a bicycle into a moving car, or for an errant ball to hit someone in the face. Tell your children to always wear the appropriate safety gear when biking or playing sports for maximum protection against injuries.

Be Careful Playing around Garage Doors

It is common to see kids playing around open garage doors outside of homes during the warm months. An open garage door could be dangerous. Let your kids know to be extremely careful around these doors and have them know not to stand or sit under the door. A garage door could malfunction or be damaged and come crashing down causing serious injuries. Parents should also contact a garage door repair company like AA Garage Door, Inc. inspect and fix any problems at the start of the summer.

Never Approach Wild or Unknown Animals

Many wild or stray animals can wander into residential areas during the summer. Inform your children to never approach wild or unknown animals, even if they seem cute or friendly. An animal like a raccoon could lash out leading to serious bites and scrapes and could even be carrying diseases like rabies.

Wear Sunscreen and Carry Water While Outside

Be sure your children know to wear sunscreen and carry water while outside in the summer. Apply sunscreen to them yourself if possible. This is going to prevent harmful sunburns and having water helps to stop dehydration that could leave your child unconscious or alone in the summer heat.

Your children might not be aware of all the potential dangers that summer brings. This is why you need to take the time to inform them about good safety practices. Following these tips will make a difference and keep your kids out of trouble this year.

Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer, recent graduate from the University of New Mexico, and avid runner. She loves to blog about fitness, health, home and family. Contact her via twitter @BrookeChaplan.

How to Teach Kids About Emergency Preparedness

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How to Teach Kids About Emergency Preparedness

17073ae360337df9416384a6b7607fc2Many well-meaning parents keep their kids in the dark about preparedness to avoid scaring them with descriptions of potential disaster scenarios. The problem with being too overprotective is that it underestimates children’s capabilities and could put your entire family at risk in an emergency.

Let’s face it – kids know bad things happen in our world. Even little ones see and notice more than we think. Knowing you’ve planned ahead for an emergency comforts children and satisfies their desire for honesty about difficult situations.

Naturally, how you talk to your kids about disaster preparation will depend on the child’s age and maturity level. To get you started, here’s a list of essential strategies for preparing kids for emergencies:

 

The Basics

As soon as your children can sing nursery rhymes, you can help them to memorize their basic information by making up a little song spelling their last name and phone number. As soon as they can, kids should also learn their address and parents’ names.

 

Calling 9-1-1

We’ve all heard stories of toddlers saving lives by calling 911, which shows it’s never too early to teach kids about this life-saving service. Make sure your child knows only to call in a true emergency, taking time to explain what does and doesn’t count. You should also help them practice what to tell the dispatcher, including name, address and why they’re calling.

 

Emergency Drills

Just like kids do fire drills at school, you’ll want to practice these at home as well. This gives them a low-pressure practice environment so they know what to do in an actual emergency.

You should also talk to them about location-specific scenarios like earthquakes or tornadoes, and teach them moves such as Stop, Drop and Roll or Drop, Cover and Hold On.

 

Make Prepping Fun

Whether you’re using a song to teach your toddlers their names or practicing how fast you can get out in a fire drill, remember that kids learn more when they’re having fun. Websites like the CDC and Ready.gov have online games to help children learn about emergency preparation.

 

School Plans

Your child’s school or daycare center will have its own emergency response procedures, so it’s important you know these ahead of time. In case you can’t pick up your kids during a disaster, you’ll want a back-up plan for someone else to step in. Make sure to inform both the school and your child of this contingency plan.

 

Meeting Places

Since it might not be possible to get home in an emergency, you’ll want to determine two or three other places the family can meet. Your children should know how to get to each place, or at least how to tell a trusted adult where to take them.

 

Bug-out Bags

You should have a bug-out bag (small BOB)  for each of your children in case you have to leave home during a crisis. These bags should include things like snacks, a flashlight, parent contact information and possibly some warm clothes. You can also get your child involved in picking comfort items such as a game, a toy, a book or stuffed animal.

In your bug-out bag, you’ll want to keep copies of key documents like birth certificates and recent photos, as well as any needed medications for your kids.

 

Avoiding Hazards

While many adults know about hazards to avoid in an emergency, children may not. That’s why it’s important to teach them to stay away from downed utility poles, power lines and trees after a disaster.

Little ones don’t necessarily need to know every bad thing that could happen during a disaster, but they do need to understand the basics of how to respond. By being calm but serious, you can help ease your kids’ fears while also showing them the importance of preparation. Knowledge is power, and it could be your child who saves lives in an emergency one day.

 

Frank Bates, founder of 4Patriots LLC, is a contributing writer to Patriot Headquarters, a website featuring hundreds of articles on how to be more independent and self-reliant. He also offers Food4Patriots, a supplier of emergency food suitable for long-term storage, survival and emergency preparedness.

 

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The Best Way To Store Guns From Kids – While Keeping Them Ready To Access

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The Best Way To Store Guns From Kids – While Keeping Them Ready To Access

Image source: AlienGearHolsters.com

For many of us, owning a gun is all about being able to defend ourselves and protect our loved ones if needed.

But how do you follow the conventional rules of gun safety – keeping your firearm unloaded and secured until ready to use – and still have the weapon ready for self-defense?

If you have children, roommates or you frequently entertain and have guests over, you don’t want to leave your handgun loaded and laying on your nightstand. By the same token, it will be of little benefit if left unloaded in a safe in the garage or basement when a home invader kicks in your door at midnight.

We all too often read about children getting their hands on a firearm and catastrophic events follow. The child shoots a friend, a family member, or even himself. Sadly, these too often result in a death.

Do You Know The Best Way To Hide Your Guns?

There are various child locks and wall or closet safes that can safely contain a handgun and keep it out of the wrong hands while still being accessible when needed.

Biometric safes have evolved by leaps and bounds and can be activated only by the user’s fingerprints. This gives quicker access than the various keyed and combination locks common to most safes and lock boxes. Best of all, the technology behind these is no longer prohibitively expensive.

The best recommendation, however, is to keep your defensive handgun in a comfortable holster and wear it at all times or as often as you can.

That way it is always completely under your control while remaining easily accessible.

The Best Way To Store Guns From Kids – While Keeping Them Ready To Access

Image source: Pixabay.com

Most children who pick up a firearm and have an accident do so because they think the firearm is a toy or they do not grasp the reality of the outcome of a gunshot.

To help teach children about gun safety, the National Rifle Association has a program called “Eddie Eagle.” The program is designed to teach children how to act if they come across a firearm.

It is a simple mantra, not unlike the one most children are taught to protect themselves from burning in a fire: Stop, drop and roll.

This is designed for preschoolers through fourth graders and, in my opinion, should be mandatory for all children. Even if they don’t have a firearm in their home, other family and friends may have firearms in theirs. Here’s what the NRA teaches children to do if they find a gun:

  1. Stop: The first step is the most critical. A mental note to stop gives the child a cue to pause and remember the rest of the safety instructions.
  2. Don’t touch: Firearms are not sentient and capable of acting on their own. If a firearm is left undisturbed it will not be fired and thus poses no risk.
  3. Leave the area: This takes the child away from the potential source of danger. Your child may not pick up the firearm, but another child might.
  4. Tell an adult: Children are taught to find a trustworthy and responsible adult such as a neighbor, relative or teacher if a parent or guardian is not available.

These four simple steps are only the first layer in a network of safety to prevent a child from having an accident with your firearm.

What advice would you add? How do you keep your children safe? Share your tips in the section below:

Pump Shotguns Have One BIG Advantage Over Other Shotguns. Read More Here.

Charlie Jean, wiz kid & Highlander

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Charlie Jean, wiz kid & Highlander, fellow host on Prepper Broadcasting! Bobby Akart “Survival & Tech Preps” On this week’s episode, the Cinco de Mayo edition of the Prepping for Tomorrow program, host Bobby Akart will have two special guests. In the first part of the program, CHARLIE JEAN, son of Sabrina Jean, one of … Continue reading Charlie Jean, wiz kid & Highlander

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22 Cool DIY Spring Crafts for Kids to Make

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22 Cool DIY Spring Crafts for Kids to Make Everyone is feeling the crunch on their pocketbooks and are looking for ways to still maintain the lifestyle they are used to while not spending as much money as they used to. If you have children, the tightened budget can be especially harsh and as summer …

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