Children's Bushcraft

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explorerscout

Guest
Zodiak said:
Its easier for our section, I used to do scouts and under the new rules most of the camps I ran would not have been possible. My wife and I reglarly took away a troop of 20 for a weeks camp, nowdays we could only take 12. :(

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Zodiac you are correct, it is harder these days, last year 26 Explorers from coast to coast along Hadrians wall, great fun. I do take groups of them on bush craft weekends at a wild wood near us, all seem to have fun, the leader bush craft weekends are best, (funny some smuggle alcohole in)
 

Pipistrelle

New Member
Jun 18, 2006
87
1
47
England (North West)
silvergirl said:
just thought I'd stick my tupence worth in. I was out in the woods learning for myself when i was four. My daughter who is now four spent her first night sleeping out when she was 4months old. In the spring they go and find their own salad from the woods at the bottom of the garden and i've taken them mushroom hunting since my son was 2 ( he is very sensible though) :)

I have worked for many years as a countryside ranger and have run nature clubs for children from the age of 5 up. There has never been a topic that I felt couldn't be incorporated somewhere ( with parental permission). :D

I ran a survival camp looking at traditional woodcraft and foraging skills for 5-10year old a few years ago and they all loved it there was not on of them that did not keep there attention for the whole thing. The key is to give them some resposibility and keep them busy.

I also run a girlguide unit. All the guides are into firelighting, cooking on open fires and surrvival techniques. My only problem has been other guiders who have said things like, well we don't want to encourage them to play with knives do we! :confused: ( no we want to teach them to use them correctly!!)

Hope this helps.

I agree totally, adults tend to forget that children learn everything by experiencing it, If your sole knowledge of knives is taught to you by TV or the big kid up the road you will learn that knives can kill, and probably where to put them to make them work. If your learning starts with the knife as a tool then you learn responsibly, carefully in supportive environments and drawing blood is the very last thing you want to do (as it will probably be your own).

I was demo-ing whistles from elder when I took my knife out (a kelem otter (with a sub 3 inch blade)) and one of the people watching said "you could kill someone with that" :swordfigh i played dumb and said I have never seen a whistle kill anyone yet. :eek:
People laughed but a serious disussion ensued, at which i pointed out the correct handling of a blade and the care i take of it and how sharp it is, and how much it cost (and that is my cheapest knife) and why i needed it that shape. Surprisingly the individual, never batted an eyelid when five minutes before I had been splitting logs to make spoons with an axe :confused: , I feel the media have made a monster of the knife. Well you know what they say the pen is mightier :swordfigh ..... best we start with the more dangerous of tools, its only prioritizing after all.

Incidentally the Kellem otter is a great starter knife, small blade, easy to care for, nice sheath, big handle (and its only bad point is that the handle is symmetrical). If I had kids of my own they would use one.
 

Pipistrelle

New Member
Jun 18, 2006
87
1
47
England (North West)
Fire Ferret said:
Getting kids used to the dark beyond the fire is important. no telling ghost stories :)

When i was 7 i was part of brownies and one of the things i enjoyed most was orienteering with map and compass, treasure hunts built around it added extra excitement, everyone loved it.

Red

Love your rhyme about the different woods, never heard that one before.


Ferret


Star courses - work really well with young kids 7+ too, youngens can go off in their own groups of 4 or so, and are almost always in sight of the leader, and return within a time limit :theyareon great with torches too. real map reading and setting the map to features is a good first lesson.
 

Greg

Full Member
Jul 16, 2006
4,152
211
Pembrokeshire
Hi there all,

When it comes to kids doing bushcraft or simply enjoying themselves in the woods i whole heartedly agree, my son Josh is 5yrs old this month and he first went into the woods with me a week before his 4th birthday last year and now can't get enough of it, I take him to the woods at least 2-3 times a month now and he laps it up.
Here are a couple of pics of him down in the woods Aged 4yrs!
 

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Hi,

I'm new here (I'll post in the newbies :newbie: thread in a minute unless I get called away) but I have recently discovered a way to generate lots of interest in going for a walk in my 3 year old - Geocaching.

I know this isn't a bushcraft skill as such, but it is about being outdoors in wild places, and she seems to love the "hunting for treasure".

(If you aren't familiar with it, have a look at www.geocaching.com.)

Great fun for the grown ups too!

Ben
 

Robby

Nomad
Jul 22, 2005
328
0
Glasgow, Southside
I've been following this thread since it started as I've started doing projects with my son. He's 17 so is only just falling under this category, but I do think that a lot of the activities that have been put forward would do for adults new to this as much as kids. We've always taken our son Iain walking and bushcraft is really just taking his appreciation of nature that little bit further and deeper.I spent most of my childhood in and around my local woods and still feel more at home in woods that anywhere other than my home.. Great stuff.

BOD's photo's reminded me of some photo's we have of me as a kid swimming in the local river. great times.(of course it was Scotland so we were more of a blueish colour, but still great times.)
 
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ecoman

Guest
hi all, weve been taking our kids wild camping since they were 3 and 5.
each year, we go on a week long "expedition" to somewhere remote. so far, its been vermont in the states, wales, and the last 2 years in scotland (islay and loch hourn) this year we are taking another 2 families canoing into loch hourn and we will wild camp our way around.
the kids have always loved it and can do far more than adults give them credit for. they were walking 6-10 miles per day in the highlands and living off ration packs and foraged food for a week.
they are now 6 + 8 and have both owned opinel knives for the last 2 years. the smaller version has a butter knife shape, so is good for carving and whittling, and for meal times. with its rounded tip, we dont have to worry about stab wounds, which are the ones to worry about. they have each cut themselves once or twice (and not bad at all) and are now very skilled and careful. they can both light a fire with a steel and know the basics of survival... clean water, shelter, fire. they carry a "junior" psk with them whenever we go hiking which includes a whistle, a fire starter kit, water purifier tablets and a safety pin with some fishing line... as well as their knife. they have little rucksacks so as not to hurt their backs, and are expected to look after their basic kit... water bottle, psk, mosi net, rain layer and fleece plus a bit of a ration kit depending on how remote we are... biscuits and pate.
this year, as i said, we have 2 other families coming, its so nice to see people getting interested in these skills again.

thanks for keeping this thread sticky over the years.
m
 

crazydave

Settler
Aug 25, 2006
858
1
51
Gloucester
having seen a 4 year old indian child look after a toddler not much younger while gutting and cooking fish for sale by the side of a busy road then I have to say that its never too early to throw of the PC culture and expose your kids to real life. they'll burn them selves and cut their hands many times but the lessons get learnt early on and they respect fire and sharp things far better than the rest of society. :)
 

SMOKOE

New Member
Mar 9, 2007
179
0
50
Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs
Here's a couple of photos of my stick gatherer at our favourite bistro

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As long as there's plenty of food on the agenda he's happy (And so am I !!!:) )
 

BOD

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
When checking homework last night which my 8 year old did while I was away in Borneo I discovered that her class had to do a show and tell for 4 items which they would bring to a desert island.

While she has watched me play “bushie” in the garden and come walking and camping in the bush, I have never pushed the survival angle in case it puts her off the wilderness and outdoor pursuits, so no talk of survival kits, getting lost etc.

She chose these items and the reasons are in brackets

1. Fire steel with striker (cooking, boiling, signalling)
2. Mosquito net (comfort)
3. Bag of cotton wool (tinder)
4. A LED torch (still worried about the dark!)

Having to choose four items is pretty restrictive and while I personally would have chosen a stout parang and a pot over the cotton wool and torch, I could have gone with the first two choices too. I thought the choices were pretty good considering and realise that she has acquired a lot by watching.

I guess she didn’t choose a knife as I haven’t really given her one much to Mum’s relief.

What would your choice be?
 

Nyayo

Forager
Jun 9, 2005
169
0
51
Gone feral...
Hey all - I've now been running a Bushcraft Club at school (only open to 10-12 yr olds) for 6 weeks. We've done a blindfold 'follow the string' course as the first session (soon sortd out those who like mud etc., and those who'd rather actually do 'Bushcraft' in the classroom), searched the school grounds for edible plants, done a survival Treasure Hunt and built and tested out atl-atls. Knives have been a no-no (although we've discussed kinfe safety and looked at my Swedish Taljkniv) as have fires (although we have played with flint & steel and bow-drills).

No hassle from parents either about mud/wet/ danger.

N
 

Fallow Way

New Member
Nov 28, 2003
471
0
Staffordshire, Cannock Chase
One of the main attractions for my in Bushcraft when I first started is that I wanted to have something to pass onto my children one day.

I am currently training to become a "Forest School" Practitioner (which is mentioned around the site in various places). Although this employs bushcraft as a means of child development (although there seems to be a lot of "Bushcraft for Kids" being passed off as Forest Schools) it is not the primary goal to have them learn knots, tool use, fire craft, more, it is a tool through which they can develop. Seeing them learning about nature and gaining new skills are equally rewarding though.

The school and children with whom I am running a pilot project just can not get enough. They are quite surprised that there is value in itself for the children to play free in a wood and learn these skills. Then when you show them the accelerated learning techniques and profiling and development of the children it really strikes and cord and I believe Forest Schools will over the next few years really start to bring Bushcraft topics into the schools.
 

Nyayo

Forager
Jun 9, 2005
169
0
51
Gone feral...
Hey - I'm going on a Forest school session tomorrow! The problem here is the lack of 'forest'! While 'moor school' or 'boggy mountain school' wouls also be cool, the shelter building opportunities are less and the 'kids lost in snowdrift' headlines are more likely!

While I've tried to explain to the acting head that teaching kids to make fire using a bowdrill does not 'invite arson' (!?) we still operate under a total knife/axe/fire ban. That hasn't yet stopped us having a go at bowdrills/firesteels/tinder etc., just without making an actual fire.

I think most people think you mean 'gigantic bonfire' rather than 'small cooking fire'.

Anyway - good luck with the Forest school training- keep us posted how you get on!

N
 

BOD

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
While I've tried to explain to the acting head that teaching kids to make fire using a bowdrill does not 'invite arson' (!?) we still operate under a total knife/axe/fire ban. That hasn't yet stopped us having a go at bowdrills/firesteels/tinder etc., just without making an actual fire.

N

So you stop just short of getting a ember?

Who said there is no smoke without fire:lmao:

Have you been given a chance to demonstrate the bow drill to them or do they think they know what you mean
 

Dougster

Full Member
Oct 13, 2005
5,216
186
The banks of the Deveron.
Last night I helped out with our local beaver troop. I took them on a tree identification walk in my favourite local woods.

They were pretty good and some learned a few trees they had no idea of, but after about ten minutes they all had sticks bigger than them, battering the hell out of everything.

I'm glad I made a little difference to them, but I'm thrilled my daughter (not quite 3) knows more trees than all of them, she already knows more flowers than I did when she was born.

It's great isn't it? Small children have such interest and wonder, it's our duty to encourage this I believe, get em away from that telly........
 

Nyayo

Forager
Jun 9, 2005
169
0
51
Gone feral...
It was somewhat over-subscribed - fitting 16 primary school teachers into a little tipi and trying to do some visualisations and twig-weaving was a bit tricky, but still fun. It was run by the Derbyshire County Council 'Forest School Officer' was is there to enthuse about the whole Forest School thing (although she's only part-time, and there is zero financial support for State Schools!!!!!). It was okay, but the best bit was making contacts. I still think I will try and blag some Forest School training from our new Head if he's up for it...

Next week in Bushcraft club - we'll be making more nettle soup (rapidly becoming the star activity!).

N
 
F

Freds Dad

Guest
As a scout leader, I teach my troop quite a lot ( and some of the parents). Most love it. Recently we did a 'fire lighting without matches' evening. We had them using my bow drill and other things like a brillo pad and a battery. Most made smoke with the bow drill as they are quite small but one lad did it. The look on his face was a joy to behold.
Children love making camps and dens and fudging about in the woods. It's what children do. i don't think we need to worry if a gaggle of crazy beavers bash the hell out of a load of stingers. take the stingers and show them how to make some string. I did this at a cub camp and they spent ages making nettle cordage and rubbing dock leaves on their legs and hands.
 

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