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Outdoor Survival Activities

Watercolor Arrow

If you have weather and space on your side, these nature and survival focused activities are a sure hit. No backyard? Head to the park for a nature hike or find an open field where you can try out some archery. Inflatable pools and even playground sprinkles can fill in for a swimming pool. The important thing is to get outside, be active and have fun.  

Pitching a Tent

A great first outdoor survival activity is pitching a tent together. A tent is a great item to have, whether you are camping in the woods or in the comfort of your own backyard. 


We turned our tent into “headquarters” and left it up during an entire week of outdoor fun. The campers and their fearless leader (my husband) ate lunch in headquarters and took afternoon reading breaks in the tent. If you’re able and willing, gather some sleeping bags and spend at least one night sleeping in your tent for a real camping experience. 



A classic camp activity that can easily be experienced at home thanks to a variety of widely available archery sets. We purchased this one, as well as an extra set of arrows and a target block


Keep the target block on the ground to avoid arrows flying over fences. If you are in a public space such as a park be extremely careful and make sure there is no one anywhere near you. A completely empty ball field or other open space is the only place you should do this. If you can see other people, find a different spot. The arrows fly farther than you think.


Wood Whittling

Use a Swiss army knife to make an original wooden creation. These knives are designed with kids in mind and have a duller blade and do not include corkscrews or sharp points. Still, this is a gift that should be reserved only for older kids. 


Go on a search for large sticks and use your knives to whittle away and carve the wood. Create a wooden totem pole or if appropriate for your family, a spear you can try throwing at your archery target block. 



Elevate a normal hike by using a compass to determine your direction. 


Take along a journal and a book on different kinds of trees. Keep a log of everything you see. Collect leaves from different trees and add them to the journal. Binoculars and a bird-watching guide are another great option.



Pretend you are out in the wild and have to catch your dinner. Pack up your fishing poles and gear and find a local lake or stream. If you do not already have fishing gear, head to your local sporting goods store or order online. Bring a picnic lunch. Make an activity of digging for your own bait before you go. 


Even if you don’t catch anything (we didn’t!), your team will still love being outside, casting and chatting together. Make sure you don’t fall in! 



If you are lucky enough to have access to a pool, use it as much as possible. Consider purchasing flippers and snorkels to make the experience extra special. Water guns are not for everyone, but if you are comfortable with the idea, this is a great opportunity for a good old-fashioned water fight all in good fun. 

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