Teaching through play, Part II

Some time ago, I wrote a blog post about teaching children survival skills through playing with them. While in the past that was an occasional thing for us, we’ve decided to make a more focused effort with it. Here are a few things we’re doing.

A few weeks ago, I came across a board game called The Worst Case Scenario. It is based on a book of the same name. I’m sure it is probably still available through various and sundry toy stores but I found mine at Goodwill for a couple bucks. The game revolves around this large deck of cards. Each card has a question about survival and gives three possible answers. On nights we’re all together for dinner, I’ll grab a few cards and we’ll discuss them with the kids. I’ll ask the question, read the possible answers, and they guess which one is correct. My wife and I then explain to the kids which answer is indeed right and why it is correct.

We’re also trying to set aside a little time during the weekend to practice wilderness skills. Yesterday was fire lighting. I had the kids gather up natural sources of tinder, then we tried getting a fire started with a flint striker. We didn’t do too well until I added a bit of dryer lint to the mix. Yes, it was sort of a cheat but I was more concerned with them learning the mechanics of the striker than anything else.

Future plans include going on hikes and pointing out edible plants, building expedient shelters, tracking wild animals in the snow, and cooking over a campfire. Even if they never have the need to actually use these skills in a survival situation, we’re all trying to have fun with it.

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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, Part II”

  1. As the founder of Boy Scouts, Lord Baden-Powell, once remarked “Scouting is a game with a purpose.” The same thoughts can be used to help kids prepare. Make it fun while teaching them good skills.


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