Outdoor & Wilderness Survival Skills: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Wendy McDougal

Wendy has taught high school Biology and has a master's degree in education.

Everyone should have a basic understanding of how to survive alone for a short time in the woods. Would you know what to do if you were lost in the wilderness? Learn more about outdoor and wilderness survival skills in this lesson.

Lost in the Woods

If you are an outdoorsy type of person, you probably enjoy a day hiking or backpacking with friends or family. However, what would happen if you suddenly realized you were separated from your group and were lost?

Forest trail

Do you have what it takes to survive a night alone in the wild? Although it is not likely, sometimes people and even kids find themselves alone in the wilderness. In this lesson, see if you are prepared to survive by yourself and learn some skills that will help you.

Stay Calm

The first rule of finding yourself alone in the wilderness might seem impossible: DO NOT PANIC! Although you could be very scared, the best thing you can do is stay calm and try to think clearly. Chances are, you will be found very soon. You must conserve your energy in order to focus on what is important.

Find Shelter

If you realize that you might have to spend a night alone in the woods, you will need a shelter. This will help keep you warm and dry, or cool if you need to escape the heat. There may be natural shelters nearby, such as caves or hollow trees. If you can't find one, you'll have to build one.

This type of shelter will keep you protected

One way to build a shelter is to lean large sticks against a tree. Cover the sticks with branches as best as you can. This makes a lean-to that can protect you against cold and rain or provide shade if needed. If you have anything bright, laying it out will help you be noticed.

Water and Food

Hopefully you brought plenty of water with you. However, if you run out while you are still in the woods, listen for the gurgling of a nearby stream or river. Usually, drinking straight out of a river is not recommended. And, humans can actually survive for three days without water. However, if you find yourself desperate, river water is certainly better than no water.

As for food, your snacks may be gone and your stomach is starting to growl. Not to worry: a person can live for three weeks without food! In the meantime, look for some safe plants to snack on. Cattails, clover, dandelions and acorns are all edible and will provide a little nutrition. But, never eat anything if you are not positive that it is safe - it is better to be hungry than poisoned!

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