How we can teach children and youth prepping skills

“They should teach this in the schools.” 

I have read that comment referring to prepping skills repeatedly, or some variation of it, in various threads and have said the same thing myself.

Emergency preparedness doesn’t appear to be taught in school. 

Note: Please say so if you know that it is, because I would like to know how that community got it into the curriculum.

If it isn’t taught in school, then that leaves the parents and the home environment as the place where preparedness is taught.

In an ideal world, prepping would be taught at school and at home.

If we think of prepping as a lifestyle, then it follows that children and youth at home would grow up with that mind set and philosophy.

It is possible that as they emerge into adulthood, they might reject that lifestyle. They might also return to a prepping lifestyle eventually.

Regardless of whether they reject it or not, at least as adults they would have roots in prepping and develop some basic skills and knowledge.

There are exceptions where some parents are not suitable in the role of teacher. A parent who doesn’t recognize their limitation and unsuitability as a teacher can destroy their child’s love of learning.

Every child or youth learns in different ways. Some children are “hands on” learners, others lean more toward self-teaching, while others like to observe and learn.

To be an effective teacher, a parent must understand this and adapt their teaching style to suit the child. A frustrated child will soon grow to hate learning if it becomes associated with unpleasantness and stress rather than the joy of learning and discovery.

I am not a fan of “everybody’s a winner” methodology used in some schools. 

Children need to understand that they will make mistakes and that is another feature of learning. It also prepares them for how things will work once they are employed or self-employed. 

If the parents are not suitable to teach and they know it, then what?

Fortunately, there is a broad base of substitute teachers who can work with the family’s philosophy of prepping and help out.

Other family members, prepping friends, groups such as Boy Scouts and Girl Guides, survival skill courses, for example. There are family farms who open their farms to people who want to take a vacation and participate in a working family farm.

Most of us keep our prepping low key, but it is still possible to have a neighbour, family or friends outside the prepping community to teach your child how to fish, hunt, sew, bake bread, garden, animal husbandry, first aid, and financial skills, without disclosing that these skills are about prepping.

You could call them life skills or wanting your child involved in the environment and understanding where their food comes from. Frankly, after the walloping big lesson Covid-19 has taught the world, I don’t think too many people would even question a parent wanting their child to learn those skills.

This morning I am wondering who here is teaching their prepping skills to their children or grandchildren and if so, what has your experience been as a teacher of these skills and lifestyle? Was the experience always successful or did you learn things along the way?

Have some of your children rejected the prepping lifestyle? If so, do you know why?

Outside of volunteering, what are some ways we can lead by example and encourage prepping? Are we noticing the opportunity to teach when it happens?

Can you think of other ways we can teach prepping skills?


  • Comments (8)

    • 3

      Ubique, Yes, I teaxh kids,grandkids about preparedness. My themes are the traditional home economics, Civil Defense, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Smokey Bear.

      With wacky weather in Hurricane Alley, some teaching is indirect.  Sent kids “zipper pulls … attachments to jacket zipper with mini-therometer in both F and C degree calibrations. As an instrument it’s useless but it’s a “training aid”, with, at least the reverse side of zipper pull has a wind-chill chart. For any gift-giving “need”, it’s a glossy picture book of eg Virginia shrubs, trees, clouds, area aquatic / marine  life.  A family get-together was a win-win-win event.  Went to Bass Pro Shops mainly for the aquarium fish tank sight seeing. Stuff sent to grandchildren frequently Smokey Bear material (Smokey is most successful civil defense program in US; name recognition second only next to Santa Claus).

      No, children accept this aspect of life / lifestyle … less a life style than just home economics with a home med kit and many pouches in cases of evacuation requirement.

      Last week, emailed ’em about cold weather ending and ticks arriving.  Mentioned to carry tweezers and repellent for park visits.

      Other methods to convey this material; A couple of the Balkan countries have a car requirement to always have a tow rope.  The quality or type is not important.  The preparedness aspect is.  France has the car requirement in re the green traffic safety vest. Same principle.


      Have little Jack and Jill place a pair of work gloves in a tote bag and say to carry to car,..in case …… Fours years later, it’s an aspect of life.


      • 3

        Bob, Great ideas! You have demonstrated some of the fun and ingenious ways to teach little ones about prepping, self-sufficiency, our relaitonship with the environment and personal responsibility.

        You also raise the point of situational/local prepping in teaching children.

        I love the ideas for teaching via gifts and family outings turned into field trips. There are so many ways that one can teach through gift giving. You could make a garden “kit’ and start them on understanding gardening. A first aid kit and involve them in building their own BOB.

        Smokey Bear – Only YOU! He was a great teaching creation and that simple brilliant slogan is emblazoned on a lot of memories. Very successful campaign.

        The idea to email timely info is also excellent. You could augment that with a  small parcel of related items.

        What a good idea also to have them understand preparedness by placing emergency items in vehicle.

        The ideas you put forth can all be adjusted for age.

        The responsibility of placing the emergency tote with gloves into the vehicle by the wee ones, could become a full scale approach to emergency gear for the new driver.

        Your post also is a reminder that prepping is part of a lifestyle and it is about living it and learning the associated skills.

        Thank you Bob. 

    • 4

      My daughter is only 5, and she “helped” pack her BOB (or had a rave with the extra glowsticks).  We’ve talked to her about why we have a tornado shelter, and about my cousins who lost their house in a wildfire.  We answer all her questions, like “What will we do with the stray cat we feed?” and “What if I lose all my toys?”  We’ve also explained the shortages at the grocery store, and why we can’t always go buy more milk.

      My parents weren’t preppers per se, but we lived in the rural Appalachians, so everyone was a prepper to some degree.  I think the most impactful moment for me what when I was in high school, and a bunch of my friends and I were hanging out at someone’s house.  A snowstorm came in, and none of us could drive home.  The friend’s mom just shrugged and said she had a freezer full of pizza and a closet full of blankets and pillows, so we all ended up staying there for the next day.  These days I impress my husband by always having all the ingredients on hand to whip up any dinner or dessert he suggests.

      • 6

        Nuqneh, Your family is definitely one of preppers and you’re working at the apex level. Your daughter delved into key questions at an age that indicates her grasp of the environment and the need to prepare.

        Most definitely rural Appalachia living is inherently one of prepping.

        In retirement, I do volunteer work with a state health care org in Appalachia. Love the area !

      • 7

        Nuqneh, Your family is definitely one of preppers and you’re working at the apex level. Your daughter delved into key questions at an age that indicates her grasp of the environment and the need to prepare.

        Most definitely rural Appalachia living is inherently one of prepping.

        In retirement, I do volunteer work with a state health care org in Appalachia. Love the area !

      • 4

        Nuqneh, I second Bob’s reply. 

        You are doing such a great job of raising your daughter. You make the time to teach her in ways she can understand at her age. Her questions clearly show she is thinking about the information that you have taught her. Her questions demonstrate that she is learning.

        I have a book about rural Appalachians written in the 1960’s. A teacher took his class and travelled throughout the area. He documented the survival skills and knowledge of the people there that he met. It was a learning experience for the students he took along. They are such resourceful people.

        Your story about growing up there is an example of how preparedness is a way of life – and now you are living it yourself and handing it down to your daughter.

        Thank you for sharing this uplifting example.

    • 3

      Thanks for bringing up this topic, I always am looking for ways to get my kids interested in prepping. I started a forum post about it a while ago and people had  some good ideas on there. Fun ways to teach kids outdoor/survival skills

      • 3


        In this thread, I wanted to look at what is involved in teaching skills and pointing out that sometimes it’s better for prepper parents to have someone else teach their kids. Also, the issue of keeping low key for many preppers and how to get around it.

        I remembered that you had commented on how you taught your kids skills, but I couldn’t remember if it was on a separate post or a different thread. I was super busy and didn’t have time to track it down at the time this post was made.

        So thank you for linking in on this one. You have really good ideas and I think your post dovetails nicely with this thread.