Friday, August 1, 2014

Wilderness Survival Stories and Movies for Boys (and Girls Too!)


Prologue: With summer in full swing, I contemplated a home education post titled "How to teach your children to play outside". It seemed too sad to type so the title changed. But the theory, in this electronic-deviced-age, is still the same.

"...boys' leisure should be spent in the open; that the blue sky is the only proper roof for a normal boy's playground; also that the open spaces are the places where God intended young people to live, work and play."
~ Dan Beard, Founder of Boy Scouts, 1930

Like all great ideas in our home, our child's interest in wilderness and survival started with a book. We saw it coming during the reading of My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George. So what did we do? We nurtured it! 

               

When a child is interested in something is when they absorb the most. We would go to the library or bookstore and provide resources to feed this wholesome pursuit of knowledge (which in turn increased the fervor for outdoor play). While your children may think that they are on summer break, the wise parent will know that school is still in session. Learning is a way of life, not simply a season in your life.

"Of course, it is only now and then that a notion catches a small boy, but when it does catch, it works wonders, and does more for his education than years of grind." 
~ Charlotte Mason, Victorian Era Educator

 

We purchased non-fiction books on wilderness and survival such as The Survival Handbook: Essential Skills for Outdoor Adventure and The Encyclopedia of Survival Techniques.



Our very favorite book of hands-on crafts and activities was Kids Camp!: Activities for the Backyard or Wilderness by Laurie Carlson. This is a great tool for some outdoor family fun! It includes projects such as how to sew your own camp clothes, make your own camp gear with milk jugs, tin cans and such, craft a camp journal, make a soap on a rope, recipes for easy on-the-go snacks and suppers, simple tent making, knot tying, nature study suggestions, games like how to make your own golf course, sailboat, kite, scavenger hunts, you name it! I love this book!




An excellent source of survival-style fiction we enjoyed was The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare. This story takes place in the colonial times (so they are learning history and nature at the same time). There is a movie, based on the book (The Sign of the Beaver DVD) that you can watch together on your family film night.


                     

It was also the perfect opportunity to read The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss. This is a challenging book so we downloaded the audio version to lighten the load of our lips. There were many Christian principles taught in this classic family survival story while being very informative (this book is a nature study in itself!).


                      

Don't exclude your young ladies! Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell would be an excellent survival themed book for 9-13 year olds. Baby Island by Carol Ryrie Brink (7-10 years) would be great for younger girls who are reading chapter books. Acorn Pancakes, Dandelion Salad and 38 Other Wild Recipes by Jean Craighead George is another fun choice for daughters as it teaches about cooking with foraged food.


"Education is not filling a pail but the lighting of a fire."
~William Butler Yeats


Outdoor activity ideas might include making and/or using bows and arrows, building tree forts, safely building an outdoor fire, walking your property to identify edible food, doing a nature scavenger hunt (I love this idea!), making small traps and hunting small prey, etc.

          


Our family movie night included Frontier Skills with Little BearWilderness Family Trilogy (family adventure drama), My Side of the Mountain (based on award winning novel) and The Endurance (this biographical movie is geared toward an older audience as the survival story of Ernest Shackleton is very dramatic).
  
          

These books and movies inspire knowledge in forgotten areas of life! They will teach boys to be industrious men, protectors and providers… They will encourage girls to be skilled, resourceful and courageous in unforeseen circumstances…

Though this interest lasted a year in our home and does flicker back once in a while, the knowledge will last a lifetime. When a subject captures your child, encourage it and watch it grow (this is pain-free education at it's best)! You will be amazed by how much they learn by themselves when you provide the "tools". And a knowledge of outdoor survival and appreciation for the great outdoors is certainly worth its weight in gold. Go ahead, open a book together and live the adventure!

"A truly good book teaches me better than to read it. I must soon lay it down, and commence living on its hint. What I began by reading, I must finish by acting."
~ Henry David Thoreau







"So, Boys of the Open, throw aside your new rackets, your croquet mallets, and your boiled shirts—pull on your buckskin leggings, give a war whoop and be what God intended you should be; healthy wholesome boys."
~ Dan Beard, Founder of Boy Scouts, 1930

This post may be shared with some or all of the following link-ups: The Art of Home-Making MondaysModest Mom Monday'sHomestead Barn HopAmaze Me MondayMonday's MusingsMarriage MondayTitus 2sdaysTitus 2 TuesdaysRaising HomemakersMake Bake CreateWise Woman Link UpWow Us Wednesdays, Wildcrafting WednesdayThe ScoopCoffee and ConversationSo Much at HomeHomemaking ThursdaysHome Sweet HomeHearts for Home ThursdaysGrowing in Grace ThursdaysHome Acre HopFrom the Farm Blog HopFarmgirl FridayFront Porch Friday Blog HopSimple Meals FridayCultivate Nourishing and Clever Chicks Blog Hop. Thank you lovely ladies for hosting these.

20 comments:

  1. That is what I call nurturing for survival.....good info. Kids these days have forgotten how to read and experience life through a book.. they use technology for everything...Good to see that you are nurturing your kids towards positive and needful things.. looks like some great books.... Have a great week. Blessings!

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    1. I like how you said "experience life through a book"... That is what makes them so special! You can go to so many places and time periods in the safety of your own home! Thanks for sharing Patty :)

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  2. Fabulous post, my friend! I always appreciate what you share and your wisdom concerning children - thank you!

    I just bought a 'Cub Scout Book' that was printed in 1963 for my son to do so I am looking forward to that :)

    Happy weekend to you!

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    1. I have seen those books at second-hand stores... That would be perfecto!!!

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  3. Dan Beard was one insightful person, love the quotes. When our youngest and I were participating in historical, colonial re-enactments one thing we noticed was how much the children enjoyed doing the same things their fore-bearers did as children. I feel really sorry for modern kids.

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    1. I have to agree with you, they are missing out on so much real *fun*... The new "fun" is not worth much in many respects...

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  4. Thank you for reminding me of these wonderful things and resources.

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  5. Awesome post. Thank you. My Missouri kids home school. These are great ideas to pass on. I might check out some of the books to see if I can pick up and mail. I am sending a Start to School box. My 6 year old grandson who lives near me is home schooling this year. You've given me some great ideas! Thanks for sharing this.
    Have a great week.
    Sherry

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    1. Wonderful, thanks for taking the time to share! Your grandson would love some of these titles :)

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  6. I used to teach Special Education (mostly high functioning autistic) at our local high school, and My Side of the Mountain was a favorite book we read every year. Also, perhaps even more popular, was a book called Hatchet. Both are stories that keep the kid's interest, are wholesome reading, and teach a bit about survival. Sometimes I think today's kids grow up in such an antiseptic environment - what happened to having fun outside and getting good and dirty! :)

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    1. What happened to dirt indeed! Thank you for sharing Vickie! I have heard of "Hatchet" as well, thank you for bringing up that book (though we haven't read it). This is one we will have to check out :)

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  7. Very cool info here! I have 6 kiddos and the first three are girls, our fourth a boy who is now only 4 years old. I am thankful that they all enjoy creative outdoor play, but still not yet into the exploration of God's creation that we did when younger, or even nearly as much as the generation before me. I'm looking forward to opening that world up to them soon, though, as we recently bought a camper trailer to live in. Adventure awaits! Thanks for some tips on things to keep this new world exciting and engaging for all of us! God bless!

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    1. Sounds like lots of fun adventures await! Thanks for sharing Julie!

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  8. I enjoyed your post very much! I loved reading Swiss Family Robinson (over and over) as a kid. I am going to find The Sign of the Beaver to watch with the grands! Thank you for all the great suggestions. I am visiting from Monday's Musings at What Joy is Mine. :)

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    1. That would be fun (don't forget the popcorn!). Thanks for visiting :)

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  9. Such GREAT books! Did you know My Side of the Mountain is a trilogy? It inspired the name of our blog as well!

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    1. Oh yes, we have them all! :) Even a picture book from the series... I will have to peak at your blog name now!

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  10. What a gorgeous post (visually and literally full of wonderful books and stories)! Makes me so thankful we all have such rich material! Blessings, dearie :)

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  11. This is wonderful.... sounds like something the whole family could enjoy together very easily. :) Thank you for posting this.

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