Why survival activities for the classroom?
Getting students outside so they can experience all the wonders of nature shouldn’t be limited to their early childhood years. The world today is infused with fast-paced demands and technology, so our students need the great outdoors more than ever to learn to disconnect every once in a while.
Unfortunately, once individuals reach their teens and tween years, they’re usually past their “playing at parks for hours on end” stage. So how do you, as the instructor, encourage them to stay in love with nature and simultaneously appreciate its allure and explore its beauty? Well, a great place to start would be this detailed guide on survival activities for the classroom.
Importance Of Survival Activities For The Classroom
If you think survival activities are a little too much for mere students, think again. Anyone who has spent time in nature understands that their situations can change at any second. Animals can attack, insects can sting, injuries can occur, and storms can blow in. The possibilities are endless.
I’m not saying this to scare your students or deter you from pursuing the survival activities for the classroom listed below. My point is, as you teach your students or children to love the outdoors, you should also award them the tools they need to face emergencies that could strike outside.
Without further ado, here are 5 engaging survival activities you could carry out anywhere, including the classroom.
Point To Note:
After any activity below, allow your students to debate among themselves about any opinions presented and whether or not they’d alter any of them if they were stuck in similar situations.
1. Building A Survival Kit
The first step to teaching the students in your classroom basic survival skills is to teach them how to create survival kits. After all, the best way to handle emergencies is to stay prepared. To get started assembling their items, have the students fit all these items in their small packs:
- A pocket flashlight
- 4 large, resealable plastic storage bags
- Water filters
- Emergency blankets
- Fire-starting tools (magnifying glass, lighters, and matches)
- Small packs, like funny packs to hold their supplies
Remember to ask your kids to leave room for first aid kits in their packs. This leads me to the next point.
2. The First Aid Race
The goal of this survival activity for the classroom is to help your students assemble first aid kits while simultaneously teaching them basic first aid skills they might need in survival situations. Things you’ll need include:
- Small bags to act as first aid kits
- Eye drops
- First aid tape
- Sterile wipes
- Roll of gauze
- Itch/burn relief cream
- Antibiotic ointment
- Bandages of various sizes
At this stage of the lesson, you’ll need to ensure you do not scare your students with horrific tales of things that may occur while camping or hiking. However, you will need to make them aware of the most common possibilities of things that could happen and how they can adequately prepare.
For instance, impress upon the students the significance of staying calm and assessing stressful situations, then address ways they can treat the most prevalent injuries in outdoor recreation activities. Such injuries include sprains, rashes, minor burns, insect bites, scrapes, and cuts.
Go over all the items they’ve assembled in their first aid kit, as well as when and how to use them.
Great examples you can cover at this stage of the survival activities include:
- How to wash poison ivy rashes and treat the area using itch relief ointments
- How to use tweezers to get rid of splinters or stingers
- How to remove insect stingers using a fingernail after an insect sting
- How to burn ointment or apply col water to burns
- The significance of using sterile bandages and cleaning wounds to keep the injuries as clean as humanly possible
A trick I love to use myself with my students is having them split into pairs and train by treating one another for pretend injuries.
3. Forest Feast
This 3rd survival activity for the classroom aims to teach your students how to identify edible plants while out in nature and tricks they can employ to distinguish them from inedible plants.
Regarding what you’ll need, you’re required to give each student a pocket field guide to all the edible plants in the area or the nation at large. These manuals usually have info on fruits and plants to avoid and pictures of the plants in question to aid in identification.
Remind all your students that they’ll need some sort of container or bag to transport their forages back to camp in survival situations.
You could also take this opportunity to mention to the classroom that chemicals typically applied to lawns may be harmful and, at times, even toxic, so edible fruits and plants found near homes shouldn’t be considered safe to eat.
4. Water Purification
The goal of this survival activity is to teach your students how not only to identify but also purify water sources without anyone’s help. To carry out the exercise in the classroom, you’ll need a container that can hold water, like a canteen or water bottle, as well as a metal pot they can use to boil said water.
Optionally, you can also utilize items like water filters and purification tablets to showcase alternate water purification methods your students can employ.
I recently carried out this same lesson with my students. I started by going over the basics of locating water sources (rainwater, snow, stream, pond, etc.) and then followed up with the various risks of consuming untreated water (fecal matter, pesticides, bacteria, etc.)
Feel free to top off the lesson with the fact that running water is the ideal source adventurers should collect from.
Though there are multiple fire-starting tools we can employ in this day and age, set up your youngsters for success by having them use the simplest tool they can find, such as long-stem lighters. In addition to that, they’ll need lots of branches or logs, kindling, and tinder of varying widths.
Subsequently, begin the lesson by educating on how to pick a location to create the fire. The class could touch on the following.
- Pick areas protected from high winds
- Only pick spots that are downwind from your campsite
- Always clear away shrubs, leaves, or sticks from your firepit area
- Look up and ensure there aren’t any low-hanging branches
- Find cleared areas with little to no grass on the ground
After picking perfect locations, the next step should be building a fire pit that can contain the campfire. Alternatively, they can also dig out the fire pits.
Once the fire pits are ready, it is time for them to start gathering fuel. To create fires that’ll catch, the kids will need kindling, branches, and tinder of varying sizes. I suggest bringing examples of each to show them.
Once they have their fuel piles, practically show them how they can start their fire by constructing teepees out of kindling and having plenty of tinder in the middle. They should only add the large branches onto the fire after lighting the kindling and tinder.
Survival Activities For The Classroom – Final Thoughts
These survival activities for the classroom are designed to help a teacher of any children (be it kids in special, secondary, primary, or alternative provision settings) reduce the risks of a negative experience in outdoor activities.