If you are interested in learning to build shelters and fires with kids in the wilderness and how to start a fire, you should definitely look into Think Outside Box ! Even if you have no idea how to do either, you and your children can learn and practice these skills together. Whether you live in the mountains like we do and want your children prepared for any situation in the forest, or you live in the city and want your kids to spend more time outside, this box is for you! Every month there is a different theme for the Think Outside Boxes, and so far our absolute favorites have been the FIRE box and the SHELTER box. But we have really enjoyed every box that we have received! Every box is full of useful adventure gear, a booklet that is packed full of interesting information, lessons, and introduces new skills and useful knowledge. These boxes are a great addition to our homeschool and are really fun for the whole family!
Why learn these wilderness skills with your kids?
When I think back to my own childhood memories, almost every favorite memory of mine was outside. In my backyard or in the forest or in the corn fields or at the lake. I don’t have many memories at all of me sitting in front of the TV. I have always been very interested in learning wilderness survival skills. When I was young, my best friend and I would make little shelters and pretend to build fires and chart the stars and practice basic first aid. I wanted to feel prepared out in nature so it never felt scary. I wanted to be the one who knew exactly what to do in an emergency situation and be prepared for anything. And I have to say, I am still this way! Now I want to pass these skills on to my own children so that they feel safe and confident outdoors. The more time you spend out in nature, the more you appreciate it and become a steward of this Earth. Future generations won’t know much about taking care of our environment if they never spend time in it!
I only wish I had something like Think Outside when I was a kid ! These educational outdoor adventure boxes show kids new skills that build confidence and creativity and teach kids to be resourceful and curious about nature. It is a wonderful excuse to spend more time outdoors as a family and learn and grow together!
S H E L T E R
We practiced building a quick emergency A-frame shelter in our backyard using the reflective emergency tent that came in February’s Shelter box. We learned how important finding or building a shelter is in the wild. We learned about different types of shelters and how to build them, how to stay safe in the elements and where to avoid setting up camp. We learned the signs and stages of hypothermia and how to stay safe from sun exposure, as well as survival priorities. Once the snow melts a bit more and exposes the forest floor again, I plan to try building the different debris shelters with my son that they show how to build in the booklet. The snow back in the forest is still at least a foot and half deep and a little difficult to walk through.
We tried to use the wire saw that came in the box but let’s just say we need more practice using that tool. My son said that he is very excited to dig a cathole with his new shovel this Summer! haha (A cathole is a single person toilet in the wilderness- basically just a hole to poop in.) So naturally, a 9 year old boy thinks this is hilarious and is very much looking forward to digging a poop hole once the ground thaws.
What comes in the SHELTER box:
- Educational and activity booklet
- Emergency shelter tarp
- Small rechargeable LED lantern
- Foldable trowel (to dig through hard ground and to make a cathole)
- Compact wire saw (to cut through rubber, wood and plastic)
- UV- sensitive beads to make a bracelet that change color in the sun and glows in the dark after sun exposure
- Reference cards around shelter building- every box comes with really handy water resistant reference cards that we attach to our backpack
F I R E
The FIRE box was the one that my son was really looking forward to, and it did not disappoint! My son practiced building small fires last Fall in our backyard and got quite proficient with this skill! However, the wood was dry and he was using matches. In an emergency situation in the wilderness, you may not be so lucky. We were both excited to learn new skills and practice them in our backyard. I can’t wait for camping season!
In this box we learned how to safely build a fire using different techniques and how to safely contain and put out a fire. We talked about how many feet a campfire should be from your shelter, different kinds of wood (soft or hard wood) , and how to gather materials for a successful fire. My son has watched my husband many times use flint and steel to start our campfires, but he finally got the chance to use his very own firestarter kit. He got a little frustrated because it does take a lot of practice. But once he got it down, he felt proud and confident in what he was doing and made my mama heart so happy ! We even got to play around with a tinder rope which we have never used before. Since the snow is melting and our yard and firepit is a muddy mess, we laid this piece of wood down for my son to practice getting the fire started.
This box includes wax flakes and cotton rounds to make your own tinder, but we ended up tearing a cotton round up in small pieces as our fire starter, and it worked very well. You can also buy the fire starter kit on it’s own for $10 under the “gear shop” tab! They sell a lot of their gear and equipment on its own, so if you have multiple children using one subscription box but they don’t want to share certain items, this could be a good option.
What comes in the FIRE box:
- Fire starter kit- lightweight fire striker with serrated edge that can also be used to create fine tinder by scraping dry sticks!
- Extendable pocket bellow- use this to carefully add oxygen to a fire by blowing through the bellow into the heart of the fire. The extension helps keep your face away from the fire- so perfect for kids!
- Tinder rope- this rope was new to us and will definitely be staying in our daypack! You fray the end of the rope by rubbing it across your hand and then you ignite the frayed end with a spark. When you are finished, pull the rope back into the tube to extinguish the flame!
- Kindling logs- small kindling logs in a bag. Since our wood was wet, this was great to have something dry! The bag is small enough to keep in your day bag as well.
- Wax flakes and cotton rounds- to make your own DIY waxed cotton round tinder
- Reference cards around fire building
Did you know? Once an ember is airborne, it can travel up to 1 miles in the wind! So crazy! We live in a place where wildfires happen every year, so I appreciate the information in the booklet about fire safety and how to properly drown out a fire.
We have been Think Outside Box ambassadors for 9 months now, and it has been SO much fun opening these boxes every month, trying out the activities and learning together outside. We only have 3 more months and the full year of boxes is over! But we didn’t get to all the activities in every box, so I plan to do the boxes again for another whole year.
Make sure you check out THIS POST where I talk about how we incorporate Think Outside Box into our homeschool days and how these boxes help motivate us to get outside in Winter. I also wrote about what you get in each box, age ranges and all the details of this subscription box in THIS POST and share an unboxing video and reasons why we love Think Outside! To grab some free lesson plans that go along with each box, click HERE.