Here's a snippet from an e-mail I received recently from a young fellow:
I'm a kid that likes normal things but I also like prepping. Both my twin brother and I are avid preppers and are always thinking on the subject. We are only in 6th grade and we wondered if you have any tips for kid preppers?
My big bit of advice for "kid preppers" is to focus on learning. When you're a 6th grader, learning is your job--along with chores/helping around the house and, of course, growing up! While you're limited on funds and what you can/can't do, there is a lot out there that you can learn.
I would look to get involved in outdoor clubs - potentially Boy Scouts, 4H and so on, and soak in information. Blogs, YouTube and your local library will also be valuable sources of education. Try things out, experiment and learn--be safe and have parental supervision when needed--but have fun.
In the old days, children were given important responsibilities at a young age--they grew up fast. My grandpa grew up on a farm and ran a trap line by the time he was about 8 or 9. I think most boys would love to stomp around the woods with a hatchet, .22 single shot and set traps, but we're mostly trapped in suburbia and cooped up inside these days. Sad.
My son is 3 and a half, but here's a short list of some of the skills I'd like him to have by the time he's 12 to 14:
- Basic gardening
- Basic knot tying
- Fire starting
- Knife safety
- Safe use of an axe
- Firearms safety and some skill with a .22 rifle (under proper supervision)
- Basic cooking skills
- Basic repair skills
- Basic clothes mending
- Basic hunting/butchering ability
As far as gear goes, I would work with parents to build a basic 72 hour kit, ideally for each member of the family. It doesn't have to be high dollar stuff. If we're talking birthdays or Christmas, I'd ask for one or two quality items that will last a long time, over a bunch of smaller things that will break and be lost.
That's my advice for "kid preppers," I'm sure the tribe has lots more wisdom for our younger readers. Let us know in the comments section!