Bushcraft for kids is a great way to help children connect with nature in a productive way.
Bushcraft for kids teaches vital life skills and all the things nature can provide for us. Kids thrive outdoors and bushcraft is a great way to learn as well as having a lot of fun. It is also a way for families to spend some quality outdoor time together, be fully present and engaged in a task, and in our case getting muddy in the process!
You are never too young or old to enjoy bushcraft. We have a responsibility to our children to help them connect with nature, learn about it, and want to protect it. But, where to start? We have got you covered, here are some bushcraft activities for kids you can try!
A great way to start, this bushcraft activity for kids is really easy. Give your kids a guide or a list of things in the area they can hunt for. There are tonnes of pre-made lists and guides available online and we have our own woodland walk scavenger hunt bingo card available to download here. Simply print it out, find a local space, and get foraging!
Use this activity to find useful materials in the forest and learn to identify them. Great examples of foraging are seeds, berries, and flowers. However, make sure to warn your child not to eat anything before they’ve checked them with you. Kids will pick up items they are naturally drawn to anyway so this is a great activity to harness that instinct and have fun.
You can adapt this activity to all age groups. Foraging teaches great skills, such as teamwork, communication, and knowledge of nature. There are some lovely foraging logbooks online and guides where you can record your treasures and learn more about your finds. Some of our favourites are below.
Teach navigation skills
We all have the technology to help us get from place to place on our phones these days. It’s fun to return to basics and learn compass and map skills. There’s plenty of games online you can use to make this activity fun. Have a look for one that works for you and your family and give it a go.
Build a den
Firstly choose an area that has a lot of long sticks on the ground, large leaves, and sturdy trees. You may need to take some string or some other basic supplies with you but ultimately, the kids should be able to build a shelter using mostly natural materials. Encourage younger kids to use trees to help with the structure of their den.
Take a book out with you and have story time in the den or even a picnic. A great way to be fully immersed in nature. Incorporate creative writing and encourage kids to write stories about their own dens. A great way to spark a story is to talk about who will visit your den when you’ve gone? Will it make a new home for woodland animals? Who could they be?
Building shelters like this are great for introducing survival skills, as well as promoting creativity, communication, and teamwork. There are some great kits you can buy online to assist your den making indoors or outdoors!
This bushcraft for kids activity teaches them about things living in areas local to them. You can follow footprints, tufts of fur, feathers, or any other type of clue such as noises. Then learn more about the creatures that made or left them. Use all your senses, a great activity for kids who really get excited about an adventure. Depending on age why not incorporate a favourite book into the tracking activity, for example, go on a hunt for the Gruffalo. Like us, you might actually find him!
Have a campfire
One of our favourite ways to round up a day being outdoors is definitely sitting around a campfire enjoying tasty campfire cooked food or toasting marshmallows. It’s also great for kids to be around a campfire because they really can learn a lot. Initially just how to be around the fire and have a campfire safely. Then all the science behind fire, and also how to cook on it.
Why not research campfire recipes and get kids involved in cooking healthy food outdoors, that way there will be no problems eating the healthy food on offer. (We can only hope!)
Kelly Kettle is a lovely piece of outdoor kit that can help children be independent using fire. It is very easy to use and teaches them to make and look after a fire on a small scale. A great product for adventurous kids!
Bushcraft days out for kids
We’ve listed some fun and easy ways to get kids involved in bushcraft activities either at home or in a local space. For the super adventurous or those left simply wanting more, there are lots of days out themed totally around bushcraft and outdoor survival. We have picked a few, but a quick google search and you’re sure to find one local that suits you and your family.
Environmental education charity Wild things! offers bushcraft camps and courses for both adults and children based around the stunning Moray Firth Coast, or in one of many spectacular Scottish Highland locations.
They offer a tonne of different courses including introduction and two-day bushcraft courses. During the summer there are bushcraft clubs available for kids as well as longer wilderness adventures. Family camp adventures are also available to get everyone involved.
The Hive is based at six different locations all listed on their website. They use a mission-style format and missions are aimed at kids between the ages 5-13. What’s great is that they use a fun storytelling narrative to link a range of outdoor activities. A great way to encourage your kids to socialise, make friends, learn survival, firefighting, and shelter building skills.
They blend nature skills, gaming principles, real tools, and technology, their holiday camps are imaginative, fast-paced, and challenging! Their team of specialist facilitators may be artists, makers, bushcraft experts, filmmakers, Forest School leaders, or scientists. They all share our passion for helping children connect with nature in a modern and exciting way.
Trueways Survival believes that survival skills aren’t just for adults or the outdoor-loving individual, kids can have huge benefits from learning life skills tailored to the outdoors, especially woodland and bushcraft skills. Trueways Survival offers a range of Survival Courses for kids where the course is both fun and informative whilst they undertake practical hands-on skills from fire lighting to building shelters. All courses are for one child and one adult. Trueways Survival runs courses nationwide so check out their website to find one local to you.
If you have enjoyed learning about bushcraft for kids why not learn more about forest schools here.