When my brothers and I were growing up we made “forts” in the nearby vacant woods. We used old discarded pieces of things for “furniture.” Interesting plants (potatoes from potato vines, etc) were our “food.” What fun! I’m sure you have similar stories.
In our quest to learn survival skills (basic life skills which were common knowledge before our modern lifestyle) I’ve noticed our children’s natural interest in them. They think it’s really cool to build a shelter, and one of the girls is taking it upon herself to learn to make a small kitchen lean-to for the water and cooking pots next time. After several failed attempts to make something that actually stays standing, she is learning the principles of constructing a sturdy shelter which could be a valuable asset to her someday.
Fire is interesting to children, and boys especially tend to love it. Our four-year-old makes it his job to keep us supplied with firewood. He will gladly be in charge of starting and keeping the fire going as soon as he is allowed.
Finding water also catches our children’s interest. When the main work of setting up camp is done, some of the girsl have been found digging for water. In Florida that is not too hard, and a four-foot hole can be successful in yielding water if you’re patient, giving time for it to slowly seep in.
Our six-year-old has learned to recognize certain wild edibles and loves to take the initiative gathering them for our salad. Her older sister also does a good job collecting them.
Our oldest daughter is old enough that learning survival skills is more of a serious thing for her, but she enjoys throwing herself into helping with the construction of the shelter and helping organize the younger ones for various tasks. She is becoming our wilderness adventure photographer, and we enjoy watching her video recordings of our experiences.
Over all, this has been a great family adventure and learning experience, making good memories which will not soon be forgotten!