Kids are eager to learn. It doesn’t matter their age, their experience level, or how reluctant they are to go camping with you – they can benefit from getting their hands a little bit dirty, trying something new, and learning these 23 camping skills.
Cooking & Eating
How To Open a Can
Did you know you can open a can without a can opener? It’s actually pretty easy.
Your kids should know how to open a can WITH a can opener as well as how to use a hard surface such as a rock. Here’s how:
- Pick a rock with a rough surface, fairly large in size
- Place the can upside down on the rock so you can break the seal inside
- Rub the can back and forth over the rock until you see moisture on the rock or the can lid. This means the lid is thin enough to break through.
- Use a pocket knife, spoon, or butter knife to pry open the lid
How To Cook Over a Campfire
Cooking over the campfire should be saved for children that are a bit older, but even younger children can be taught fire safety.
Skills to learn include:
- How to cook over embers
- How to cook over direct flame
- How to rig a pot rack over the fire
Build a Campfire
Building a campfire is super simple – but only if you know what you’re doing. Plus, with supervision, even my 3 year old can build a campfire!
Check out this post for full instructions + pictures.
Check if Food is Spoiled
Even the young kids can do this one! There are 3 ways to identify spoiled food:
- By looking at it
- By smelling it
- By tasting a bit of it
Identify Edible Plants
Teaching kids how to identify which plants are safe to eat and which are not is not only educational and fun, it’s incredibly practical.
It’s chock-full of pictures, and is usable in the most remote or the most urban of settings.
How to Use a Knife
I could go on all day about teaching children how to use knives safely in the kitchen, so I sorta did in this post: 7 Kitchen Knife Skills to Teach Your Child.
It has pictures + everything you need to start early and safely teaching your kids how to use and be safe around knives.
How to Fish
Even the smallest kiddos can get a kick out of fishing – what kid doesn’t love fish?!?!
Obviously, fishing is a skill that takes time to learn, but starting early and letting them have fun with is a great way to introduce such a vital skill without much pressure.
How To Shoot a Gun
Our 3-year old has a BB gun.
Obviously, it stays locked up unless we’re teaching/helping her to shoot it.
The reasoning is that we do eventually want her to reach a certain level of comfort with more powerful firearms, and because she’s curious right now. We believe in safety, but we also believe in exploring curiosities (safely).
So, undertake this one with caution, but also know that with strict supervision, younger children CAN be taught to shoot firearms well and safely.
How to Clean Fish
I’ll let you in on a little secret: by the time I was 10, I knew how to kill, pluck, gut, and cut up a chicken.
Yep, it was gross, but I handled it like a champ and as an adult I’m better for it.
While a chicken is a bit tough to master, fish are easy, and teaching your kids to clean fish is really, really good for them.
Need a refresher for yourself? Check out this tutorial.
How to Clean Bigger Game
As kids grow older, then can progress to learning how to kill and clean bigger game such as deer, pigs, or chickens.
When you teach them, they will learn more than just how to process an animal. They’ll learn other essential skills like sanitation, food storage, and how to keep food safe from predators.
Boil Water to Clean It
Finally, probably the most fundamental skill you may or may not need while camping is boiling water to sanitize it for drinking.
It’s not particularly difficult if you know how to do it, but just about every child can handle this with a bit of instruction.
How to Get Out of The Elements
At any time while you’re camping, it could rain, snow, start to look like a tornado, flood, or worse.
That’s why it is so important to teach your children how to find shelter while outside. You never know when the tent just won’t be enough!
Thankfully, teaching kids to find shelter is really pretty fun:
How To Climb a Tree
Was there ever anything so basic?
Climbing a tree is not only fun, its a really good skill to have!
How to Read a Map
A bit more advanced, sure, but older kids should know how to read a map, and follow it to their destination.
You never know when they may need to get somewhere without you.
How to Use a Compass
Along with learning to read a map, using a compass to take directions from said map is also a really neat skill to have.
And I’m loving this tutorial (I needed it):
How to Use the Stars for Directions
My daughter and I have a book about a dog on a pirate ship (or something along those lines) and that dog uses the stars to know where he’s going. So now, when we go outside at night, and she can see the stars, she pretends to read them like a map.
She’s only 3 right now, so it would be a bit much to teach her the real way to tell directions by the stars.
Fut for older children, this is a great skill to teach them.
How to Use The Sun for Directions
Easier than the stars, using the sun for directions is something you can teach your younger children once they start to understand time and how to read a clock.
How to Set Up a Tent
Setting up a tent is pretty tricky, and probably more than kids could figure out on their own.
But just like anything else, they can learn to do it pretty well on their own.
Give them space and guidance to practice – you’ll be shocked by what they can learn.
How to Rig a Sunshade
Have a tarp and some rope?
Teach your kids how to rig up a sunshade – you never know when the knowledge will come in handy!
Basic First Aid Skills
How to Hike Safely
How to Notice Their Surroundings
How to Find Friends’ and Families’ Houses
What other kids camping skills would you add to this list?
Til Next Time,
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