Teaching through play

As parents, we want to pass along knowledge and skills to our children. Of course, this would include survival techniques. One of the best ways to teach younger kids is through play.

For example, after the last big snowstorm here, we went out and built snow forts. One of the forts I made was a snow cave, which could be used as an emergency shelter. I shoveled snow into a big pile, then shaved off the top so it was flat. I had a plywood board handy so I placed that on the top of the flattened pile. I then dug out a cave on one side of the pile, taking the snow and shoveling it on top of the board. It only took about fifteen minutes to create a cave large enough that I could crawl inside. I could easily have fit a small pack in there as well.

(I only used the board because I had it handy and also because I knew the kids would be pretty rough with the shelter. Boys are boys and it would be stomped on, climbed over, and rolled down. In an emergency, that kind of horseplay wouldn’t happen and the board wouldn’t necessarily be needed for additional support.)

Placing a tarp or space blanket across the cave entrance would serve quite well in trapping body heat and keeping me warm and safe from the elements for a night.

I explained this to my boys as well as illustrating a few other expedient shelters, such as the space under a pine tree. While they were much more interested in how well the snow cave would work during a snowball fight, I’m confident the lesson made it into their long-term memory banks.

The desire to learn is present in almost all children. You just have to figure out the best way to present the information. I’ve found by incorporating lessons into playtime helps them to not get bored. Plus, you get to have some fun with your kids, which is never a bad thing.

Published by

Jim Cobb

Jim Cobb has been a student of survivalism and emergency preparedness for almost thirty years. As a young child, he drove his parents nuts with stockpiling supplies in the basement every time he heard there was a tornado watch in his area. Of course, being a child, those supplies consisted of his teddy bear, a few blankets and pillows, and random canned goods he grabbed from the kitchen cabinets. Later, he was the first (and likely only) child in his fifth grade class to have bought his very own copy of Life After Doomsday by Bruce Clayton. Today, he is a freelance writer whose work has been published in national magazines such as Boy’s Life and Complete Survivalist Magazine. He is a voracious reader with a keen interest in all stories with post-apocalyptic settings. He maintains the Library at the End of the World blog and is also the Content Director for SurvivalWeekly.com. He currently resides in a fortified bunker in the upper Midwest, accompanied by his lovely wife and their three adolescent Weapons of Mass Destruction. Jim's first book, Prepper's Home Defense, was published late 2012 and his second book, tentatively titled The Prepper's Complete Guide to Disaster Readiness, will be out in mid-2013, both coming from Ulysses Press.

2 thoughts on “Teaching through play”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *