Top 10 FUN ways to prep for emergencies with kids!

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Prepping for emergencies with kids can be a scary idea but it's important to do, so let's make it fun! As a parent, it's a fine line between helping our kids be aware of their surroundings and know what to do in an emergency, and scaring the bejeezus out of them. I don't want them to fear the world and lose sight of all the beauty that is out there, but I do want them to know how to act in an emergency and that means talking about it, practicing skills and preparing together.

Preparation doesn't need to be dreary and serious. You can make it an adventure, and it's much better to learn while having a good time and still build the skills you'll need when it's not fun anymore.

Here are my top 10 ways to make Prepping with kids fun:

  1. Plan a camping trip with friends to practice living without power. Even if it's in your backyard - cook on a BBQ or test out your camp stoves, play games or cards with the kids, filter water a couple different ways and make sure to bring some treats for a job well done! You can find a lot of the equipment you will need in our Amazon store or any REI Co-op.

  2. Create a scavenger hunt to get to know your neighbors. Better yet, have a block party to get to know one another! Who has special skills like first aid? Who is good with tools and construction? Who has a generator? Who needs special care? Get contact information for your neighbors, create a phone/email tree and give it out to everyone. If you live here in Seattle, sign up with SNAP (Seattle Neighborhoods Actively Prepare) and they'll send you great info including bright green signs to hang on your door that say HELP or OK on each side. Easy communication within the neighborhood! (sign available here: http://www.seattle.gov/Documents/Departments/Emergency/Preparedness/SNAP/GettingOrganized/SNAPHelpOKsign.pdfSNAP Logo
  3. Host the Emergency Olympics and have kids earn medals for completing each event. Gather a few families and do it together! Ideas for events include: Practicing earthquake safe spots (in bed - cover head. Get below, between or besides something taller (couch/chair/table), Climbing safely out of the window and down an emergency ladder, calling your out-of-state contact person, bandage a fake wound, start a stove and cook a meal, and any other plans you want to practice. Print your own award badges like these:

  4. Become amateur cartographers. Choose a special place in your neighborhood or community you can meet in the event your home is not safe. Have your kids draw a map and add landmarks along the way.                                
  5. Go for a hike right from your front door. Put on your supply clothes and shoes, your "Bug Out Bag" backpacks with food and water, set a destination (like your community meeting spot) and head out. Perhaps you will follow your map from Step 4. It's not only fun but gives you the opportunity to test the shoes, clothes and supplies you have packed. The best part about hiking in the city is the ability to "happen upon" a great brewery or restaurant with a beautiful view along the way! 
  6. Make a shelter and hangout in your backyard using only tarps and ropes. 
  7. Road trip! Using only paper maps (just for the heck of it pretend cell networks are down and GPS doesn't work) - plan and drive to your out-of-the-area location for a daytrip or overnight. Note the accessibility issues that could come up - bridges being out, trees downed, mudslides, flooding that could potentially be a roadblock during a disaster.  
  8. Become HAM radio operators as a family, study together, practice and test out the lengths your radios can go (i.e. while a parent is at work, or a child is at a friends house). Find a local amateur radio club in your neighborhood and get connected, learn the skills and become certified operators!

  9. Make a rope board together. Learn to make essential knots, fancy knots and decorative knots and display your handiwork! 
  10. Last but not least, collect trinkets, nature items, notes and pictures along all your adventures and make a scrapbook together. I promise, it will be a treasure for your family and will help create a new tradition and legacy of passing on important survival and life skills in a fun way to future generations! 

Have fun out there!