How do you know you are teaching your kids everything the need to know? Well, my question to you is:

Will they be able to fully survive without the help of you or others?

I mean, my girls are still little, so the answer to this questions for me is no. But someday, yes, they will know how to survive without depending on others.

My 6 year old already knows more life skills than her piers.

You ever hear ol’ Hanks song “Country Boy Can Survive”? Well, country folk can survive, and here is why:

We know the basics to surviving without depending on society.

Society in 2019 sucks. That’s just all there is to it.

I am not saying you need to prepare your kids to live like they are Amish (although, that isn’t bad). What I am saying is that we should be raising our kids to be self reliant. They should have basic skill sets in case they ever HAVE to live like they are Amish.

So, here are skills every country kid needs to know, you know, cause country folks can survive!

1. First Aid

Everyone should know a little first aid, rather they are country or not. It is though, a little different for us country folk because we are exposed to different dangers. Everyone living out yonder should know the basics such as:

  • Burn care
  • Splinter removal
  • Packing a wound
  • Poison Ivy Treatments
  • Bug bites
  • Tick removal
  • Animal bites

Most of these can be self taught through books, Google, Youtube videos etc. If you are wanting a little extra, there are always free first aid classes floating around. Try contacting your local health department and asking them about classes they offer, or can refer you to.

2. Sewing

What do you do if a button comes off your clothing? Do you sew it back on, or throw it away and buy new?

What if sewing it on were your only option? Would you know how?

If you know how, then great! Teach your kids! If you don’t know how, then learn with them. It is never to late to learn a skill. Sewing kits are relativly cheap, and you can find scrap fabric anywhere to practice on. Check out my sewing crafts Pineterest board for some ideas.

3. Gardening

Quick. Grab a piece of fruit or a vegetable and ask your kid if they have any idea where it came from or how it grew.

Did they have a clue?

Kids should know that food doesn’t just come from a grocery store. Someone, somewhere grew it. Allot of work goes into growing something, but it is so rewarding.

Growing a vegetable garden with your kids is one of the most amazing gifts you can give them.

From seed, clear to the table, kids need to see exactly how it happens. If they don’t end up being farmers someday, then at least they will walk away with a newfound respect for farmers.

If you can’t do a full garden, grow some veggies in planters or buckets. Its litteraly just some potting soil and a few seeds.

I grow a garden every year. I have had my oldest out in it helping since she was able to walk. She just loves helping seed it, water it, and pick the veggies when they are ready. Its such an amazing feeling to be able to give them a gift like that.

For gardening help, check out my Gardening Pinterest board!

4. Fire

Kid’s should be taught respect for fire. You should teach them how to start one, put it out, and the dangers of a fire. When and where one can be started, and when you definitely shouldn’t.

While it is good to know how to start a fire, you should also be able to put it out.

Starting a fire is a great survival skill. I am not talking about lighting a piece of paper on fire, we can all do that. What I am talking about is an actual fire, with firewood. It isn’t as easy as you think. You have to choose the right kind of wood and kindling and baby it a bit to get it to start.

Starting the fire is the fun part. Now, can you put it out?

Wait, what if it isn’t a wood fire?

Different kinds of fires have to be put out differently. If it is an oil or grease fire, whole different ball game.

Thinking about taking your child to your local fire department. Most of them do tours from time to time, or if you ask them, they will definitely be willing to talk fire safety with you.

5. Cooking From Scratch

Cooking from scratch seems to be a lost art anymore. Most meals have something from a box. We are just SOOO busy working and what not, that we have to do what’s easiest. I totally get it. I myself am guilty of this.

Something I have made it a point to learn though is how to cook most things from scratch. I just pick something my family loves out of a box, and learn how to make it with real ingredients. It tastes way better, and you know exactly whats in it.

This isn’t just a preparedness thing. This will give yourself, and your children a sense of pride.

I made that all by myself.

Learning to cook from scratch will also give you a chance to perfect recipes to fit your liking, and recipes to pass down to younger generations.

How awesome is that?

6. Native plants

Knowing native plants isn’t only awesome, but essential.

You don’t wanna be using a poison oak leaf as toilet paper…not like you will ever be in that situation or anything.

Its important for everyone to know what is growing around them. No only will it help to know what to avoid, but it could come in handy to know what is edible and what is not. I just found out recently that dandilions are edible. Seriously? When I was a kid they were telling us they were poisinous, now people are making tea out of them.

This is something I have just recently started teaching my 6 year old. Super cool when your small child is pointing out Poison Ivy and picking and eating honeysuckle.

There are lots of resources to help you learn and teach these skills. Each state has their own department of natural resources. They will have just about everything you need to know, that is specific to your state!

7. Foraging

Foraging goes hand in hand with knowing native plants. One you know more about what plants to avoid, you will need to know what plants are edible, and how to eat them.

Foraging is a survival skill. Lost in the woods? No food? You will know exactly what to look for.

There are a few great resources to help you to determine what is edible.

I would suggest studying a site like Edible Wild Food and then taking a few short hikes to see what you can find. Or, pick up a foraging field guide like Foraging For Wild Foods and take it with you!

8. Self Defense

Self defense seems to be a sensitive subject for some, but I am a big advocate for it. Things are crazy these days, people are crazier.

It is something that is nice to know, even if you never have to use it. Hopefully you never WILL have to use it.

I will not send my kids out in to the word without some self defense tactics, not just against other humans, but from dangerous animals as well.

You can’t always be around to protect them, and you never know when they will come face to face with a threat.

Here is an awesome post from Lifehacker that will give you some basic pointers for human attackers.

Here is a post for defending yourself against wild animal attacks

There are also many Youtube videos out there that show these in motion.

Along with wild animals and humans I have made it a point to teach my daughter to defend herself against a dog. Living in the country we have come into many situations where loose dogs are roaming our property, some of which were not friendly. Kids need to know that not all dogs are friendly, and what they need to do in the instance that a dog shows up. They should treat every new dog, as if it could be dangerous.

9. Hunting

If you are a meat eater, learning to hunt is a fantastic skill. I grew up in a family of hunters. We had freezers full of deer meat all of the time.

Hunting is cost effective, and a great form of self reliance.

While I did grow up in a family of hunters, I never learned to hunt myself. This is something I am working towards for myself, and my children.

Check with your local game warden for classes and licencing.

10. Fishing

Allot of people see fishing as recreational. Fishing is also another great form of self reliance. Almost all bodies of water have some sort of fish in them.

Get familiar with the rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds near you. Learning what kinds of fish are in those spots, will help you know how to fish those bodies of water.

You local department of natural resources or game warden can lend allot of advise, and they would be happy to do it!

Fishing is also very relaxing, and is great to teach children (and adults) patience!

11. Vehicle Maintenance

Basic vehicle maintenance should be something that anyone with a car should know. I am not saying that you should be able to swap out an engine or change a wiring harness (although helpful knowledge). What I am talking about are the basics, that keep your vehicle in good, running shape.

  • Change a tire
  • Check Oil
  • Change Oil
  • Check Antifreeze and fill when low
  • Change spark-plugs
  • Change breaks

These are relatively easy tasks, and pretty much the same between all vehicles.

I think all kids starting at the age of like 14 or 15 should know how to maintenance their vehicles. There is a level of confidence that comes from knowing how to work on your own car.

12. Driving ANYTHING

Country kids will come face to face with lots of different vehicles. Quads, gokarts, tractors, lawn mowers, automatic and standard vehicles.

In case of emergency, it is important for kids to just be able to hop in something and go.

Yes, that means a 5 speed as well.

Teach them to learn to listen to the engine in an automatic car, and watch the RPMs, to know when it is shifting. This will help them transition into driving a 5 speed.

13. Swimming

This goes without saying. You want your child to be prepared for anything. Swimming is a must. Who knows when they will be around water with, or without you. Not only for their safety, but for the safety of others.

Swimming is a must.

If you are unable to teach them, check with your local YMCA, they always have affordable swimming classes.

https://www.ymca.net/find-your-y

14. Basic Home repairs

Every home owner should know the basics of home repair. To better prepare your child for the real world, they should know them to. This will not only save them money in the long run, but the headache of trying to hire someone to fix something super simple. Here are the repairs that can be done fairly simply from a quick youtube video:

  • Toilet repair
  • Plumbing
  • Outlet replacement
  • Drywall repair
  • Wiring up a new light fixture
  • Installing a new faucet or shut off
  • Installing a door

Here are a few more things, while a little more advanced, can still be done

15. Gun Safety

While not everyone believes in owning guns, it is important that you still know gun safety. Who knows when your child will be somewhere where there is a gun present. Kids get curious, and if you don’t teach them yourself, they will try to learn on their own. Teach them to treat every gun as if it were loaded and the safety was off. Teach them where the safety is located and how to tell if the gun really is loaded. You are probably thinking

“Okay, if I just tell them to leave them alone if they see one, then they should be fine.”

Yes, if they are ALONE and see a gun and don’t bother it then that’s all well and good. What if one of their friends are with them and pick one up. Kids will be kids. If you teach your kids to swoop in and make sure that safety is on, then that could just save both of their lives.

While the ideal situation is that every gun should be locked up and not left unattended, that is not always the case.

Gun safety can save lives.

There are lots of gun safety courses out there. Check with your local gun range and see about enrolling yourself, and your child in a safety class. There is always something to learn for the both of you.


I hope this list helps you determine what your child needs to be self sufficient. Our goals as parents should be to raise kids that will not need to depend on us some day. For country kids, this list is a little different, because we are hoping that one day they can survive without society, if need be.


Did I leave anything out? Leave me a comment below! I will be happy to hear from you!

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