Children's Wilderness Survival Kit

This kit is to be an aid to little children if they ever are lost while out in the woods. It should be placed in a little backpack.

The items of this kit aren't all in the little backpack as you will see below. Some can be worn on ones person.

Do please have a look at the Preparing Younger Children page for more important information on how to teach your children what to do if they ever get lost in the woods. That information goes along with the kit here on this page.

The items in the kit should be considered a minimum, and you may desire to place a few more things in it. Please remember to teach your child what to do and what not to do in the event your child gets separated and lost, because even with a kit, it will require proper thinking from your child to know what to do with it etc.

So practice, practice, practice! It must become so simple for your child to remember the basic instructions provided. During an emergency your child will, just like an adult, have difficulty remembering things so practice IS required in order for it to 'stick' in your child's memory.

Think about it this way, is it more difficult to remember a person's name while you are stressed or while you are calm? Also, if you are stressed, is it easier to remember the name of someone who's name you know very well or the name of someone you know very little?

Why is it you will remember the name of the person you know well? It is because you have 'practiced' it many, many times and under various conditions that it has become like 'muscle memory'. It is automatic, in that you do not have to think and use your higher mental faculties which take a hit under stress and an adrenaline rush through the stress of an emergency.

When you calm down, your memory will start to come back and your ability to think straight will be enhanced. This is a reason for the S.T.O.P acronym. Stop Think Observe and Plan. Stopping gives you time to get your head screwed on right so that you can make good decisions, and the same goes for your children as well. So again, practice!

As a part of the kit include the following:

  • A bright orange vest with reflective material on it.
  • Emergency blanket or similar product for shelter and heat retention.
  • Light stick, and an LED headlamp with batteries.
  • A quality whistle attached to a lanyard hung around the neck. The Fox40 Micro or Fox40 Howler whistle would be great.
  • High energy snack and a water ration. Consider a filter and/or purification tablets as well as a good bottle.
  • A poncho, preferably orange in color (or blue in autumn).
  • A 2” x 3” signal mirror.
  • Have a photo of the family and your child's pet. Write something simple on it such as 'We Love You' on the family photo and 'My Best Friend' on the pet photo. Laminate the photos to protect against the elements.

Be certain to teach them how to use the things in the kit. Also that these are not toys, and that they are not to remove the backpack at any time unless needed.

Otherwise they might remove it and wound up leaving it behind. Children of all ages need to have kits appropriate to their age and capabilities.

Also make certain that they are always properly dressed which is something I think most parents do. Clothing is their first line of defense against the elements.

AVOID cotton which retains moisture and GREATLY increases the rate at which your child would lose body heat which could lead to hypothermia. Use synthetic materials. Wool is great.

Do not think that your child will not understand these simple instructions. Some parents have taught their young children to call 911 in the event of an emergency, and it has happened that young children have called. You just never know exactly how your child may react in a situation, perhaps no more than for yourself unless put to the test.

That is the way it is for all of us. Stress and fear that accompany an emergency situation can bring out the best and the worse in all of us and teach us things about ourselves that perhaps we never knew. Have some faith in your children and teach them. Please have a look at the links below on how to teach your children to call 911.

To learn more about preparing young children click here, and to teach them how to call 911 which is a great urban skill have a look here.

Finally, learn about shelter, signaling etc and teach it to your little children. They need not only to know how to use the items mentioned above, but when and why. For older children you may want to include a knife and firesteel in their kits. Make your best judgment, you know your children best!

You can download the list on the Downloads page called Children's Wilderness Survival Kits. You may print it to have a copy on hand.

Photo Credits

Little girl face by Steve Hillebrand, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Children recreation in forest and environmental education by Nieminen Gene, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.


Kids Survival Kit - What To Include and How to Use it