5 Creative Ways to Teach Preparedness to Your Child

by Erich

For this post, Tactical Intelligence is honored to have Lisa from The Survival Mom share some creative ways you can use to teach preparedness to your child. I’ve linked to her articles in the past, and if you haven’t had the chance to check out her site, do so!

prepared_kidsAsk any survival-minded adult why they’re into preparedness, and they’ll likely offer at least a half-dozen reasons. Ask a child why there’s a closet filled with cans of tuna and buckets of wheat, and there’s no telling what answer they’ll give. Depending on what they’ve been taught, it may be a constant reminder of a foreboding future, full of threats and uncertainty. On the other hand, stored food, stockpiled ammo, and 55 gallon water containers may be accepted as a natural part of life.

Children fear what they don’t understand. When a difficult concept such as preparedness is presented in a creative way, at their level, it helps them feel reassured and satisfied. Here are five creative ways to teach this concept to your children in ways that will reinforce important concepts and include a lot of fun along the way.

  • When you explain your preparedness efforts, use examples from children’s literature that children of all ages can relate to. The story of Joseph from the Bible is an excellent example of preparing for difficult times and then being able to provide for others in need. The Little House on the Prairie book series by Laura Ingalls Wilder follows a pioneer family through good times and bad. Each book is a great source of information about practical skills from hand-stitching to making homemade butter to smoking wild game as well as great examples of self-sufficiency. If your children are very young, Little House picture books are available at the library and in bookstores.
  • Children naturally love learning about animals and there’s no better source for examples of preparedness than the animals they’re already familiar with. Bears, squirrels and other forest animals get ready for the winter. Geese begin a long trek south when they sense that cold weather is near. Did you know that prairie dogs purposely mound up the earth around the entrances to their homes so rain doesn’t flood their burrows? My own children love The Burgess Book of Animals, which uses entertaining stories to teach facts about dozens of animals.
  • Keep an eye on current events. Don’t focus on details that might terrify your kids, but if the Weather Channel is reporting on an approaching hurricane, for example, talk about the steps families in those areas should be taking. Younger children might not be able to
  • Teach practical skills. Kids should know how to cook, clean, and scrub the kitchen floor! Learning how to mend ripped jeans or doing laundry isn’t child abuse. They’re real life skills that teach independence and instill a healthy work ethic. Older children can be taught target shooting, how to put up a tent and how to start a campfire. I’m all in favor of lots of play time, but children also need to learn skills and knowledge that are truly worth learning.
  • Participate in activities that teach or reinforce preparedness. Scout programs and 4-H are ideal for children to learn some terrific practical skills and socialize with other like-minded kids. You just can’t beat that combination.
  • Everyone loves learning something new, especially when there’s fun involved. Keep your lessons about preparedness casual, creative, and fun. Your kids will discover the future isn’t something to be feared and will figure that everyone in the neighborhood must also have boxes of freeze-dried food under every bed!

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Comment by Lisa
2009-10-28 13:12:22

Love, love, love the pic!

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2009-10-28 13:19:47

Thought it was fitting… 🙂

Comment by Jimmy
2009-10-28 23:59:00

I have had a hard time addressing food storage and my guns to the kids. They ask why I need a gun. They ask what’s the food for. Well, I try to explain it in the most non-alarming way I can.

A few times I have had to remind them about OPSEC. After we got a large amount of food storage, the kids told just about everyone in the neighborhood that we have a whole room full of wheat and beans.

Another time, the kids started telling people that if a bad guy comes, I’m going to shoot them with the gun I have under my shirt. (I carry). I have to tell the all the time that it’s a secret and if they accidentally see it, not to tell anyone- we don’t want the bad guys to find out.

Kids say the darnedest things and you just have to be prepared for it. They can also handle a lot of info if you just tell them mater-of-factly. My kids (8,4,4) do just fine with the concept of bad guys getting blasted by me and with the possibility of not having water or electricity for a long time. (how else do I explain the purchase of a wood burning stove and other items to them?)

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2009-10-29 14:19:01


That’s good advice. My little one is only 2 1/2 now so I haven’t reached that point yet. I assume that if my kids grow up with “preparedness tasks” as part of every-day life that it will be completely normal for them and they won’t feel the need to tell the whole neighborhood so to speak.

However, if your new to preparedness and your kids are a bit older when you’re stocking up, I think as long as you explain it in such a way that they understand the importance of it (like you did with the electricity going out) that they will understand the wisdom behind it. Kids are pretty smart.


You’ve got some older kids. Any advice?

Comment by Jimmy
2009-10-29 21:49:29

I’m ex military and was not able to grow my food storage past a few months until I got out about 8 months ago. Since then, I’ve been stocking up big time. It was a shock to the kids at first, but now that it’s been a couple of months and they don’t see the buckets anymore (locked in a walk in closet), they don’t mention it. (out of sight out of mind).

I have done a few activities with them- like making home-made sterno stoves and grinding wheat and making whole wheat bread. They like those activities. They also liked helping to make 72 hr kits.

Keep the kids involved and have fun. I try to educate my kids too- I don’t think public schools do much other than babysit. I teach them history and constitution law.

Just finished loading a bunch of 9mm. Fun!

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2009-10-30 07:25:03


That’s great to hear. Our kids practical education as well as the real-life skills that they will need to survive a difficult future are our responsibility as parents. The state can never replace the role that we as parents have. Sounds like your kids are learning some great skills!

Comment by winkki
2009-11-06 11:32:26

I used the Proverb about the ant and the grasshopper along with the story of Joseph. :o) And my kids also really got into making their own “emergency backpacks” (aka child-version BOB’s) and other activities like that as part of a safety unit I created for our homeschool.

But even beyond that, we’ve been through enough that the kids have seen the usefulness of food storage in action — a prolonged critical illness for my husband (that meant little income and that I was too busy taking care of him to get to the store), loss of electricity after tornadoes & hurricanes (and the absolute INSANITY that was the grocery store right before Hurricane Rita, since everyone had just watched Katrina go by), and even the very routine loss of water with our town’s water pipe issues.

Since our budget is extremely tight, they have also recognized that food storage means we have a lot more selection…they love having their own little grocery store to choose from, lol. They know how to check for bulging cans and how to rotate stock; generally useful lessons anyway.

They do know not to make it public ~ and the other kids in the neighborhood are obnoxious enough that they aren’t inclined to say anything to them anyway. ;o)

Comment by Erich
2009-11-06 20:56:03


Some great comments and examples. Joseph from the Bible is a great preparedness story (as well as the Ant and the Grasshopper). The Bible story in particular is great since it shows the importance of preparing so as to help others as well. I need to remember those when my kids are old enough to share.

It’s great when food storage and other ‘preparedness’ tasks becomes such a normal part of kids lives. I know that they will appreciate the lessons they’ve learned when they have families of there own (I certainly did).

2011-06-01 21:33:00

Teach them young, indeed. Why? Well, here’s one reason: before society pressures them to conform to sheepleness. Example: in Montana we had an off grid property 5 miles up a dirt road and kinda in the middle of nowhere, but still only 15 miles to Helena. One day, my 16 year old sister in law comes comes home for high school and removes all the stored canned food to give to charity and told us we should not hoard. What kind of BS are they teaching in public school? Well, anyways, I did not buy the food, but my father in law had been saving and incrementally adding up more and more for the last four years!!!

So, yes, teach them young!

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