Survival games for camping bring together education and fun to both teach and allow participants to practice skills vital for enduring harsh conditions in the outdoors. Three of the most basic needs for survival are food, water and shelter. Fire supplements each of these and offers other benefits that can help your chances for rescue, health and well-being in life-or-death situations. The Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts of America serve as a valuable resource for survival techniques.
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Practice locating sources of food by identifying tracks and edible plants of the area. A nature hike offers opportunities for teams to point out each sign of animal tracks, scat or presence and each patch of wild food. Teams can compete for points, with leaders assigning bonus points if participants can offer additional information, such as how to harvest and prepare the food, what season or under what conditions it is edible, and identifying the useful parts of the plant. To follow up, challenge the participants to gather materials and cook a meal from wild ingredients.
To challenge participants with collecting water, leaders may start with a demonstration of rudimentary methods for gathering water and a discussion of the principles involved. Follow up by holding a contest to see who can collect the most water within a given period of time. All participants can use the same method, or each can choose a different one from the demonstration. Additionally, participants can start from camp and fan out across the area with markers to discover locations where the most acceptable water sources can be found. Leaders may set a time or distance limit, then discuss features of each find and award points based on their practicality.
Compete to see who can build the best emergency shelter out of supplies gathered from the area. Conditions for the game varies depending upon the location, materials available and the weather, so the game offers many permutations. Leaders can place subjective limitations, such as only allowing downed wood or dead materials, or setting a time for completion. For a tougher contest, participants could be required to live in their shelter for day. Rewards for winners of the games may include luxury food items or freedom from camp chores for one meal or one day.
Fire serves multiple purposes for those in survival situations, and each of these can inspire a survival game. The games may range from who can build the largest or smokiest signal fire to who can achieve the tallest flame or build a fire that can burn through a string at a set height before all others. One of the biggest challenges, and one that forces participants to consider scarcity and value of their resources, is to build a fire with one match. This requires foresight, planning and proper construction. Fire safety procedures and proper methods to extinguish a fire make a good accompaniment to the game. The fires can then be used to cook food and purify water or to heat a shelter, making combinations of skills tests for a multi-stage survival game possible.
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