Camping with Kids: 4 Survival Skills for Fun and Learning

Camping with Kids: 4 Survival Skills for Fun and Learning

Camping with Kids: A Playground for Survival Skills

Camping is often seen as a fun-filled adventure for families. It provides an opportunity to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and reconnect with nature. But did you know that camping with kids can also be a great way to teach them valuable survival skills? In this article, we will explore how camping can become a playground for survival skills and offer tips on how to make the experience enjoyable and educational for your little ones.

1. Building a Shelter

One of the most critical survival skills is the ability to build a shelter. When camping with kids, encourage them to participate in setting up the tent. Show them how to choose a suitable location, clear the ground, and assemble the poles. As you work together to build the shelter, explain the importance of having a safe place to sleep and seek refuge from the elements.


Carry a small tarp or poncho in your camping gear. Teach your kids how to use it to create a makeshift shelter in case of an emergency. This skill might come in handy if you ever find yourselves unexpectedly caught in bad weather during a hike or day trip.

2. Starting a Fire

Teaching kids how to start a fire safely is another essential survival skill that can be learned while camping. Show them how to gather different types of kindling, such as dry leaves, twigs, and small sticks. Demonstrate the proper use of matches or a lighter to start the fire, emphasizing the importance of safety precautions.

While starting a fire, take the opportunity to discuss fire safety rules, such as never leaving a fire unattended and keeping a bucket of water nearby for emergencies. Teach them how to extinguish a fire properly by pouring water over it and stirring the ashes until they are cool to the touch.


To make fire-starting more exciting for kids, try making your own fire starters using items commonly found at home. Encourage them to get creative by using materials like lint, wax, and egg cartons. These homemade fire starters can be a fun and efficient way to ignite a fire in challenging weather conditions.

3. Navigation and Orienteering

Navigating through the wilderness without a GPS or smartphone is a crucial survival skill. While camping, introduce your kids to basic navigation techniques. Teach them how to read a map and use a compass. Engage them in treasure hunts or scavenger hunts that require following a map and finding hidden objects.

You can also play games that emphasize orienteering skills. Blindfold your kids and have them find their way back to camp using only their sense of direction. This activity will not only enhance their survival skills but also boost their problem-solving and critical thinking abilities.


Consider enrolling your kids in a local orienteering club or taking them to geocaching events. These activities can provide additional opportunities for learning and practicing navigation skills in a more structured setting.

4. Outdoor Cooking

Cooking outdoors is not only enjoyable but also a critical survival skill. Teach your kids how to cook simple meals using a campfire or camping stove. Show them how to gather firewood, start the fire, and safely control the flames. Involve them in preparing meals by assigning age-appropriate tasks such as washing vegetables, stirring the pot, or skewering food for roasting.

While cooking, discuss food safety practices like proper hand washing, avoiding cross-contamination, and cooking food thoroughly. Explain the importance of storing perishable items in coolers and keeping them away from animals to prevent foodborne illnesses.


To make outdoor cooking more fun, challenge your kids to come up with creative recipes using ingredients typically found in a camping pantry. This activity will not only encourage their creativity but also teach them how to work with limited resources, a valuable skill in a survival situation.

My 2 Cents

Camping with kids provides an excellent opportunity to teach them valuable survival skills in a fun and practical way. Building a shelter, starting a fire, navigation, and outdoor cooking are just a few of the essential skills they can learn while enjoying the great outdoors. Encourage their curiosity and make learning enjoyable by turning these activities into games or challenges.

Remember, safety should always be a top priority when teaching survival skills. Start with age-appropriate tasks and gradually increase the level of difficulty as your kids gain confidence and experience. By instilling these skills early on, you are preparing your children to be self-reliant and resilient in any situation.

So, next time you plan a camping trip with your family, make it more than just a vacation. Turn it into a playground for survival skills and watch your kids grow in confidence and knowledge. Happy camping!