Whether you’re looking for a gift for a seasoned prepper or someone who is just starting to get into preparedness, these low-budget and DIY gifts will make an impact. And, as an added bonus, many of these gifts can be used as “stealth prepper gifts”, so you can help your loved ones get prepared without them even realizing it!
A Budget Family Water Filter
Hydroblu has a Versaflow water filter kit which is an awesome gift! This kit can turn a 5-gallon bucket into a family-sized water filter. The Versaflow will filter up to a 100,000 gallons.
The idea would be that you get the kit, which runs $26, and a 5-gallon bucket, with a lid. You then drill out the hole. Clean up the bucket, put the kit in there along with the PDF tutorial.
Then you can let just instruct the person who received the gift to put the bucket up in a closet somewhere, and if they ever need to filter water for whatever reason, this is their solution!
Meals in Jars
I receive these all the time. Like, homemade brownie mix and such! The last one had a nice little bow and a little card that tells you how to mix everything.
You can use dehydrated food or freeze-dried food to create full meals. You can even use freeze-dried hamburger crumbles. But you could just go to the grocery store and use noodles, beans, or rice. You’re putting all the ingredients in one jar so all someone needs to do is dump the ingredients out into some water, stir it up, shake it up, or whatever it might be.
I have a family member who always makes jellies. For no specific reason she will just share some fig jelly or whatever, and it’s usually pretty good. And it’s not really hard to make and it’s cheap to make too.
Spices and Rubs
I had a boss who would make a Cajun spice to give as presents every Christmas. She would get all the bulk ingredients, mix it all together, and pour them in little shakers. And people loved it!
You could also make a rub and give it to that person who likes to barbecue.
This gift is very cost-effective when you’re making it in bulk.
This is one of those things that people will not usually make for themselves. But it is one of those things that would be very beneficial.
There is a hot echinacea tincture that I, have made before. I found it years ago on the site Frugally Sustainable. It is perfect for Cold and Flu Season!
The thing with tinctures is you have to have some time, you gotta let them sit.
Emergency Vehicle Repair Kit
I’m talking about a kit that would help somebody if they broke down. I’ve done this for all of our vehicles. You can go to Home Depot, get a small inexpensive tool bag, and fill it with items that will help like:
Throughout the years, I’ve probably used my vehicle repair kit more than I’ve used any of the other survival stuff I keep in my truck.
First Aid Kit
You can find first aid kits for cheap. I would let the person know, “I’m giving you this first aid kit to keep in your car or a drawer in your desk at work. You can get kits from $9.99 to $19.99. You’re not looking to do surgery with these kits, but I’ve I’ve done many videos, talked about it on podcast episodes before where I have used my first aid kit more than a lot of the other survival things that I might carry. It’s a quick prepper gift.
DIY Meals Ready to Eat
If you want to really give something cool, you can give DIY meals ready to eat. All you need is a Food Saver that can vacuum seal a package that you make. You put things in there like:
And anything else you can think of. Create a day’s worth of meals ready to eat in one package and give them a couple of days of those. Again, you’re buying a lot of the stuff in bulk. It doesn’t have to cost a whole lot of money.
Power Bank w/ Some Extras
I think mobile power banks are a great gift! Everyone should have one! But beyond that, you might wanna get them a USB fan that can keep them cool if the power goes out. Another extra would be an LED reading light. Having this would allow someone to not have to use the flashlight on their phone.
Some of these ideas are DIY and some of these are low cost. Some of these might even be considered stealth prepper gifts. But all of these gift ideas are gifts that someone can really use!
He kind of suspected it, but he wasn’t sure. He suspected that this might be the third Thursday in November. Traditionally his family celebrated Thanksgiving.
But that has changed now.
The Collapse stopped all the trucks moving. And, all the grocery stores that were filled with all the items that his family would buy every week were long gone.
It was cold outside. But he was hoping to find something that his family could eat.
He went to the river, threw a pole in, and was hoping to catch some fish.
As he was there, he daydreamed, about that last Thanksgiving meal.
His cousin didn’t come to this one, because he was upset. They didn’t always see eye to eye politically. So it was easier just to stay away than to put those ideas aside and be with family.
The pies on the dessert table were plenty. Everybody had their special pie that they would dig into later on.
The meal was very tasty as always. There was plenty of turkey and dressing and cranberry to go around. There was plenty to drink. Plenty of smiles. And plenty of football.
That was now a distant memory.
We don’t always go into the holidays or special moments thinking that it might be the last one that we are going to attend or the last one that we will attend with someone that we care about.
But this happens every day and happens every holiday.
I know plenty of people this year who are going to be experiencing this, this holiday season.
Getting to the holidays without a certain loved one is hard.
But what if it was the last holiday that you experienced in the way that you normally do?
In the United States, Thanksgiving usually is a meal with turkey and dressing and cranberry sauce, and all the other fixins. Oh, and don’t forget desserts!
And although many are going through hard times right now, a Thanksgiving meal isn’t too hard to come by.
But what if you didn’t have another one ever?
As you spend time this holiday season with family and friends, or maybe you really like to be by yourself that is fine too, take some time to…
Count your blessings. Things aren’t what we might want them to be right now, but they could always be worse.
Be grateful. There are times when we have had plenty and times of want. But there is always something to be grateful for.
Make memories. Lock the time with family and friends in your mind and heart so you can go to them later down the road.
Thank you for your support of Ready Your Future throughout the years. I greatly appreciate all the listeners to the podcast, readers of the blog, and members of the RYF Exclusive Email List and The Top Preparedness Articles!
A Thanksgiving Prayer
Thank you for all of the blessings You have given us. We are truly grateful for the material and financial blessings. But no blessing compares to the blessing of salvation through Your Son Jesus and eternal life.
We could have been born in any place at any time, but You chose this place and this time for us.
With all the craziness in this world, help us to know Your will and follow Your ways. And as we do, put inside of us a spirit of gratitude.
In the days ahead, help us to keep our eyes open to Your plan and lead us on the path we need to take.
In Jesus Name. Amen.
Have you ever considered that a holiday or a special day might be your last? Has it changed the way you approached it?
No one should need to tell you how our times are growing more difficult every day. Inflation continues unabated, our politicians continue to spend our tax money like drunken sailors, and the Mainstream media lie to us all the time about it all. Nationally, crime is rampant, and supply chains are disrupted, food production is under attack, social cohesion is shredding and institutions we once trusted have been corrupted – some seemingly beyond repair.
We are witnessing a re-orientation of government into the hands of the few whose accumulated wealth and power are being used to systematically strip citizens of rights and freedoms, in the name of a myriad of dubious causes. All for the purpose of ending nation-states and instituting global government.
One such cause is “climate change.” Governments all over the world are using this to institute their control over food supplies, and limiting consumer choices for meat, dairy, and safer food. They are breaking the existing system and “fixing” it with their “solutions.” These solutions include limiting how we are allowed to buy our food, placing limits on what we can consume and how much, forbidding rainwater harvesting, actively engaging in destroying family farms and farming practices, while softening the public to begin consuming bugs as a primary source of protein rather than meat. In some locations, they are even forbidding people to use their own land to grow their own food.
As their control over the global banking system becomes total through the destruction of the U.S. economy and dollar, the gold-backed BRICS nations are in rebellion for self-preservation. The time will soon come when there will be a global digital currency harmonizing all existing national monetary units into one, under the ultimate control of a few people. With this control, they will force everyone to be subject to a social credit system, will limit what foods you can consume and how much, or even cut off access to your own money. Truly a nightmare scenario!
Because governments seek to control populations by limiting our food supplies, it is imperative for survival that every household should have a garden, both outside and indoors.
By learning to garden successfully, you will gain many immediate benefits including lowering your grocery bill, knowing the source of your food, and ensuring it is not tampered with by chemical additives or genetic manipulation. Growing your own organic vegetables will ensure you receive nutrient-rich foods to keep you and your family healthy and strong. If you use heirloom seeds and save some seeds from each crop, you will ensure an endless supply of food that you can grow and enjoy year-round.
Starting a garden begins with a basic education. Watch YouTube videos or read books from your local library on how to garden. You will also need some rudimentary garden tools, good soil, and seeds or seedling starts. Keeping track of everything you do in a notebook will help you to learn from your mistakes and become an expert gardener in less time. If you own a house, grow food in your yard. If you rent, ask the landlord if you can start a garden in their yard, or start a container garden on your porch, balcony, or patio.
Managing Your Gardening Costs
One can start a garden with little cost, but there are some expenses you will need to pay for. When I started planning for my container garden earlier this year, my first step was to review my existing budget to find a way to pay for it.
Most people shrug off doing the most important things to empower themselves and take care of their families – all because they believe they cannot afford to do it. Don’t let this be your excuse! Go over the monthly expenses in your budget (housing cost, insurance, car payment, cell phone plans, cable TV, etc.) with a fine-tooth comb. Start with the most- expensive line items and examine every possible way to reduce or eliminate that cost. Even if you’ve done this before, do it again.
For example, I shaved an extra $37 per month off my auto insurance by shopping around and reviewing my options. I found the same coverage for a lot less cost. $37 may not seem like much, but that extra money was added into the grocery budget which has allowed me to keep up with runaway food inflation and stock up on more canned food, which is a top prepping priority for me. This also allowed me to purchase some micro-green trays, seeds, a few simple gardening hand tools, and a small indoor greenhouse ($42 from Amazon.com), which I am setting up in my garage.
To grow food all year long one needs to learn how to garden outside either in the ground or in containers, or using both methods. To grow food indoors, gardeners can learn to sprout, grow micro-greens on a table using a grow light set-up, or limited gardening in a grow tent or indoor greenhouse. Serious gardeners in colder climates typically have an outdoor greenhouse which is heated during the winter. Some have constructed underground walipinis (pronounced wall-uh-peenee) on their homesteads. For the purposes of this article, I will assume the reader is not an experienced gardener and has little money to start gardening.
Gardening doesn’t have to cost a lot. There are ways to cut down on the expenses. One way is< by saving and recycling plastic food containers and use them as pots. You can start very small,< by learning to sprout or grow micro-greens and grow garden seedling plants from seed in such containers. I started by learning to sprout and have already sprouted for several years using small sprouting systems purchased online. I learned that I could have done it without that original expense, and have the same results.
You don’t even need to buy seeds to start! You can use your vegetable scraps to replant and regrow food. For example, I bought some fresh vegetables from a local Amish organic farmer and I followed the instructions from a YouTube video on how to cut an onion, saving the roots, then place the cutting into water and grow new roots for new onions. I recently transplanted two< onions restarted this way into soil and will be moving the newer onion seedlings into my garage greenhouse later this Fall.
Gardening is About Learning
Learn to grow the foods you eat. Start with what you use the most. I started with Alfalfa sprouts and later branched out into more protein-dense greens like mung bean and sunflower sprouts. Once you learn to grow some of your own food successfully, figure out how to increase your food production.
Once I could sprout food on a regular basis indoors, I moved outdoors to grow even more food. While the results from my first container garden were not as much as I had hoped for, I did learn why my production was low and have noted it for future crops. However, this summer I was able to grow onions, bok choi, baby spinach, and zucchini, which is why I invested a little money for a small indoor greenhouse, to increase production of these foods over this coming winter. Learn from your mistakes and keep plugging at it! Growing food is one of those things that takes time to achieve more predictable results.
If you start learning now, start with indoor sprouting or growing micro-greens. You can easily use canning jars or recycled plastic containers. Do a YouTube search for growing sprouts or micro-greens and watch all the many ways you can do it and only pay for the seeds. Additionally, grow vegetables from kitchen scraps and see if you can grow several more of these vegetables this winter, either on a south-facing windowsill that gets plenty of sunshine, or under an inexpensive grow light.
You can enjoy fresh greens all through this coming Fall and Winter, and then branch out by growing your garden seedlings from seed, beginning next spring. Take the time to learn all you can this winter on how to grow your most-consumed vegetables successfully and figure out your costs and how to pay for it. Once paid for, the costs associated with gardening go down over time. But certainly find every way you can to get started! The goal is to be able to grow food all year long both indoors and outdoors.
By starting now, you will be learning the most important last-ditch skill for you and your family’s survival.
There is a dilemma that mature preppers have to deal with eventually, “how much news is enough to keep me informed but doesn’t keep me glued to the television or computer?” This is exacerbated when the news is all gloom and doom like it’s been for a while now. How much chaos can one take? And does the intake of all that doom give us a false sense that SHTF is already here? There is a balance that preppers need to keep and it can be done with specific resources!
As a recovering news junkie, I understand the need to be balanced. When I was a teenager, before the internet and 24 News, I loved watching Nightline with Ted Koppel. I wanted to know what was going on. Talk Radio fueled my passion for news and then social media and alternative news sites took it to a whole different level.
But life shouldn’t be one big news cycle! However, I still feel the need, as a prepper, to stay informed and at the same time not get sucked into hours and hours of news.
Through the years, I have managed to watch my time more carefully. I have also leveraged different media sources to stay informed and know what is going on. These are not your traditional media sources, TV, radio, and newspaper. They are usually quick hits and give me important information, which allows me to digger deeper if I feel I need to.
I would like to share some of these resources with you. Hopefully, some of these help you too.
The most recent addition in my arsenal to staying informed comes from email newsletters. This makes sense because I can easily access my email from my phone, wherever I am, even if I have a few minutes. This is one of the reasons why the Exclusive Email Group works so well for Preppers!
1440 Daily Digest – Is a daily email that covers headlines from around the world. It claims to be unbiased in its approach to the news. It gives you a “Need to Know” section with hard news, followed by an “In the Know” section that covers topics like sports, science, business, markets, and more.
Their website states, “We scour 100+ sources so you don’t have to. Culture, science, sports, politics, business, and more—all in a five-minute read.”
The Pour Over – Is a Christian-based email newsletter. It claims, “Your politically neutral, Christ-first, news source.” It also states on the website, “The biggest news of the day, summarized in a way you’ll actually understand and enjoy, paired with brief Christian perspectives.”
Like 1440, you’ll find some big headline news stories, with a Christian perspective and Scripture at the end. You also find a section called, “Other Brews” that covers small news stories.
I don’t always agree with their Christian perspective view, meaning I think they take a middle-of-the-road view and don’t want to appear to lean left or right. However, I haven’t found their views to be theologically incorrect.
If you’re looking for an APP, then you will want to check out Ground News. Ground New will let you know if the article you are reading leans left or right or center. It gathers this information based on the source that it is using. It is possible to have two news articles on the same topic, but come from different perspectives depending on how they lean politically.
You can set your location, so you can get news that is local to you. Ground News also provides “Blind Spot” articles. These are, “Stories from one side of the political spectrum or the other that had little to no reporting.”
Ground News is free, but it also offered a premium account. You can download the APP for iOS and Android devices.
Ok, you might think this one is weird, but hear me out! Prophecy preachers look at current events and evaluate them in light of Bible Prophecy. Some of these Bible Prophecy Preachers have really big followings from all over the world. These followers share news stories that are happening where they live.
So what you get is an alternative news source that is often sourced by boots-on-the-ground Christians. The thing is, if you are not a Believer, just listen/watch them for the information they are sharing.
Now, there are many Bible Prophecy Preachers out there. And every one of them has a YouTube channel. I’m careful who I watch because it is easy to get sucked in and spend a lot of time bouncing around from the content they produce. But here are three that I would recommend.
John Haller – I’ve had John on the podcast before. I believe it was a two-hour episode. He is a retired lawyer and has been teaching Bible Prophecy for many years bi-vocationally. You can find him on YouTube LIVE on Sunday mornings. He also streams his LIVE update on Facebook. Since retiring, he has been doing a lot of guest appearances that he shares on his Facebook page and during his update.
James Jacob Prasch – Is a preacher/evangelist and puts out a lot of Prophecy Updates. He often does the update with others who chime in and give commentary on the topics or news stories they are discussing.
The updates also get converted to audio so you can listen to them as a podcast if you don’t have time to watch a YouTube video.
Watch Jacob on the Moriel YouTube Channel. You can search “Moriel Ministries” in your podcast catcher to listen to the podcast.
Jan Markell – Is the person behind the microphone for Olive Tree Ministries. Her show is on radio and podcasts. A few years ago she started sharing her show on YouTube. She does focus more on End Times than John Haller and Jacob Prasch. But it still applies to what is going on in the world.
Social media is a blessing and a curse. You can get a lot of information on the platform, but you can also get sucked in and spend hours of your day on it as well. You need to be purposeful to set a timer or “get in and get out” quickly.
Twitter – I’ve always been a proponent of Twitter. If you go to my account profile, you will notice that I don’t follow a bunch of people. I’m not interested in what the Kardashians are doing, know what I mean? But I do follow news organizations of all sorts. That way, when I hit Twitter, the only thing in my feed is news. And, I follow both sides of the aisle so I know what both are “putting” out as far as their agenda goes.
If you are interested in using Twitter, you can go to my profile and click on who I’m following. Then you can follow all those news organizations right from there.
Telegram – I’ve recently started using Telegram. Telegram is supposed to be an encrypted instant messenger. I don’t use it for messaging, but I do follow channels that share a lot of current events Here are some.
Moriel Ministries – They share a bunch of news from alternative news sources. The news stories are varied.
Amir Tsarfati – This channel shares a ton of material too. However, they seem to be more focused on the Middle East.
Paul T. Martin – I’ve had Paul on the podcast as well. He doesn’t share as many articles as the other two above, but the articles are worth reading to preppers. I couldn’t find a link for Paul’s channel. You will have to do a search for him. It’s easy though!
Ready Your Future – And of course, while you’re at it, join the RYF Telegram channel.
Alternative News Sites
I didn’t cover the multitude of Alternative News Sites that are out there. You could use an RSS reader to follow all the Alternative News Sites that you want to read so you can read them in one spot. But speaking from experience, you can spend hours reading articles!
There are many options out there for the prepper who wants to stay informed. As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, you need to keep a balance. You don’t want life to pass you by while you’re reading about the “war over there” or the possibility of “that thing happening” or “this time it is different because…”
Alignment is important for every Believer who wants to walk closely with Jesus. But it is easy to get off and not be in alignment with what the Lord wants for you. This Bible Study will encourage you to seek a deeper walk and alignment with Jesus.
1. What comes to mind when you think of alignment?
2. Read Romans 8:5-11. What sticks out to you?
3. In John 21, Peter goes fishing. Do you think he was completely turning his back on Jesus or was this just a regular fishing trip? Why do you think so?
4. Read 1 Thessalonians 5:14-22. Does this represent a good list to follow to walk the Christian life? What is missing? What would you add?
5. How do you actually live out Proverbs 3:5-6? What does it look like in real life?
The Preparedness Lifestyle can be a bunch of different things for people. To some, it may mean having a well-stocked pantry and a survival kit in case of an emergency. To others, it may mean being self-sufficient and living off the land. And to still others, it may mean being prepared for anything, from natural disasters to economic collapse. No matter what it means to you, the Preparedness Lifestyle is about being ready for anything that life may throw your way.
But within the preparedness lifestyle, there are some mind shifts that people need to make. These mind shifts are important and beneficial for anyone wanting to live a self-reliant or prepared lifestyle. The five mind shifts that I share below are mind shifts that I wished someone would have shared with me when I first started down the journey. But like they say, it’s never too late to learn something new!
Preparedness Lifestyle Mindshift #1 – Pay Attention to How People Around You Respond in a Crisis.
This mind shift is important because it’s important to know how you respond in a crisis. You should be practicing and training yourself to handle a crisis. But it’s just as important to know what other people are going to do and how they’re going to respond. Because people can respond in crazy ways that throw a whole wrench in everything that is going on. And then, you are not only dealing with the crisis, but now you’re dealing with a crazy person that’s doing something stupid and adding to the crisis, all because they don’t know how to deal with stress in an emergency situation. So, watch how people deal with a “regular” crisis right now.
I say “regular” because regular could be a flat tire. Regular could be you’re at work and the power goes out for an extended period of time. How do the people around you react?
You could be at work and your supervisor says, “Our Internet is down and we’re not able to process your checks.” That would be a big deal for many people! I mean, you deal with someone’s money and that’s a big deal. How would the people around you respond to something like that?
So, watch how people respond to “regular” crises now at home, at work, with money, in your family, and in your neighborhood.
Watch social media. If you have a neighborhood Facebook group, watch the Facebook group and how your neighbors respond just online. That can tell you a whole lot about some people. You’ll get an idea of what will happen when you’re around a “real” situation or a “real” crisis. You want a little warning if people around you are going to lose it. So, it’s important to get a gauge right now of how people will respond.
One of the things that I think is valuable, is when you read articles from people that have really gone through big crises, like Selco over in Bosnia or Fernando Aquirre in Argentina.
I’ve had Fernando Aguirre on the podcast and I usually watch a lot of his videos because he talks about how things happened when he went through the collapse in Argentina. Fernando still has a lot of family members and friends there, and he responds to things that are still going on there and other things that are going on all over the world. It’s a different perspective than many Americans have.
Fernando responds in a very sensible and logical way. I really like to get his take on events. And his books are really great books. If you are really looking for something to read and to beef up your survival skills. I think his books are no-brainers.
Then there are the different collapses that have happened, like in Russia and Greece. Finding survival or survivor stories on how people reacted and responded in those situations kind of gives you a little insight into the psyche of people and what they will do and how they will react.
And then you have some cultures, like the Japanese when Fukushima happened. The Japanese were a little bit calmer and they were able to go through the crisis a little bit smoother.
So, you have to look at your situation. How would it go down in your area? How do people around you respond in a crisis? It’s important and valuable to have that kind of information. And you can use a “regular” crisis to pay attention to how people will respond in a bigger, more involved crisis.
Get Confident About Your Skills, Abilities, and Preps and Bring Your Family Along
Get confident so you don’t panic in an emergency. Then help your family to do the same!
When you feel confident about your skills, then you’re able to face the crisis more easily. You need to be able to have that confidence in your skills to move forward. Be confident in your plan, be confident in what needs to happen. Be confident in what to do, and what not to do.
This only comes with practice!
You can’t practice when an EMP hits! You can’t practice nuclear war!
But you can go through some scenarios. You can turn the power off over the weekend.
You can actually practice it if your family is on board with it. That would mean turning off the water, turning off electricity, doing all those kinds of things. I mean, some families would be into that, and others probably not so much. Many teenagers wouldn’t give up their phones for the weekend! The thing about family here, is you really have to be purposeful about bringing them along.
This is a very sensitive thing because if they’re not into it, you’re going to push them away. And I’ve seen that not only in families, but I’ve also seen that happen in organizations as well, where the owner or someone who is in charge wants to help people get better prepared, so they start going into scenarios and start throwing it out there and it freaks out people, and people start pushing back on it. You really need to be careful about how you do it.
I absolutely love that my kids, including the one that’s married and lives in his own apartment, know how to prepare! They’re paying attention like when we had the last freeze, Winter Storm Uri. They were better prepared than most of their friends their age. They were better prepared with water and other supplies! They were better prepared by being able to cook and not being able to use their electric stove. When hurricanes come or big storms are coming, they’ll be better off.
And a lot of that is because I’ve talked about it so much and they see the benefits of it. Even during Covid, they saw the benefit of being prepared and having toilet paper and other supplies! They actually got a bidet instead of stocking up on toilet paper.
But I love it when I hear them talk about being better prepared. All my kids do that. But if your family is not, then you’re going to have to go into stealth mode.
And I’m not saying that you need to be sneaky and keep things from them, but instead gamify it. For example, if you write things online and you use the extension Grammarly, Grammarly will tell you every so often, “Hey man, you’re a pro. This week, you wrote 10,000 words.” Ok, not in those words, but you basically get this ego boost because you reached some achievement. All it does is make you feel good about using the extension, but it is a number that many people look forward to in their emails. It’s a conversation starter for some people around the water cooler.
Audible does the same thing. If you have Audible, it’ll send you a notification and say something like, you hit this milestone or this achievement.
So if you can gamify being prepared, it will definitely help. Let me give you a couple of ideas here.
One of the things that we always talk about is camping to practice preparedness. Let’s say you plan a family camping trip where you introduce various survival skills such as setting up a tent, building a fire, identifying edible plants, and navigating using a compass.
And the thing is, you frame it as a fun adventure rather than formal training. So you call it a treasure hunt. So you go to a campground and at some point, you set up a treasure hunt. The treasure at the end is everyone goes and gets ice cream or whatever. Or you stash the ingredients for s’mores along the way and the prize is S’mores at the evening campfire!
The point is, you plan this camping trip adventure. You bring out a map and practice map skills and all the other things you set up like fire starting, cooking over a fire, etc..
Of course, you have to know your family and how much they’ll go for something like that. But that’s something that you can start to introduce and you just gamify it. How can you make it fun to be able to move forward?
Another thing that’s kind of similar to that is scavenger hunts. Organize a scavenger hunt in your backyard or your local park that incorporates elements of survival skills. For example, you can hide items related to first aid, navigation, and emergency supplies, and provide clues that lead to their discovery.
Or, there are families that love breakout rooms. If you’ve ever gone through one, you know it consists of a series of things that you need to get through, and if you get through the puzzles you need to solve and all these other clues you get to take a picture and celebrate that you “broke out.” Sometimes they help you out by giving clues and sometimes they don’t. But you can create a breakout as a fun adventure and incorporate preparedness into it!
But whether it’s a scavenger hunt or a breakout that you’re creating, you’re doing it for your family to help them with preparedness. You’re dropping little survival things in it. It might not be full-out and full-on training, but you’re dropping little scenarios and little things in there little by little.
Maybe you’ve created an emergency binder. And one of the things is you throw the emergency binder down and that’s part of the puzzle. And they got to find in the emergency binder a secret or a clue that gets them to the next stage. Those are the kinds of things that would be very helpful.
Another idea is just cooking lessons, teaching cooking skills while incorporating survival knowledge like talking about food storage and the fact that you’re cooking from scratch and have these basic ingredients. You bring out bulk flour, bulk salt, and sugar and they might start asking questions like, “Why do we buy it in bulk? Why do we have it this way?” You might respond, “Well, it’s cheaper and we have a lot of it. Also, remember in the pandemic, we weren’t able to get some things? Well, we can make bread if we want to make bread this way.”
While you’re cooking, you can incorporate things like water purification and different ingredients that you would need to make in case of emergencies. You can encourage them to prepare meals using limited resources like, “Hey, let’s make a meal using these items. Or let’s make some bread just using these three ingredients and let’s see what we come up with.”
You don’t even have to talk about survival. You don’t even have to talk about preparedness. But you’re teaching them how to do something and it’s fun and it’s easy.
And they get to eat it! And that’s a form of gamification!
Not only that, you’re helping kids learn a valuable lesson in cooking that many people today don’t. And I think that’s great. My son has learned a lot of recipes just by looking at TikTok and social media. I don’t have TikTok. I don’t like TikTok. I’m not an advocate of it, but the young people are.
He has learned cooking and different recipes and enjoys cooking because of it. I kind of count that as a win.
Another thing you can do is just do nature walks. You might not be able to go camping or do a scavenger hunt, but you can go out and just do a nature walk or a hike. And you’re taking the family into natural settings while you’re doing that. If you are into foraging, you can point out different plants. Imagine walking on a trail and you see something that’s edible and you get your kids around there and you’re like, “Hey, I wonder if that’s going to be any good to eat.”
And they’re like, “Oh no, I wouldn’t eat it.” And you just pick it up and you put it in your mouth and you eat it. Can you imagine? They’re like, “OH, that’s gross.” And then they realize a little bit later on you don’t keel over and die. Like, guys, “that’s edible. This is something that grows in nature that people don’t even realize. People think it’s a weed, but you can actually eat it if you really need to.” You can talk about things like that. You can talk about poisonous plants like, “Okay, I eat this one, this one’s good, but this one over here, don’t ever eat this one. This one, you’ll really get diarrhea or you’ll die from this one.”
You can talk about animals and how to respond to encounters with different animals in life if you’re out in nature, especially those of you that live in places where you have bigger animals like bears.
Another thing is movie nights. You can watch a survival-themed movie or documentary and engage in the discussion afterward, just asking different questions. And sometimes you don’t even have to ask questions. They’ll come up themselves. They’ll be like, “Hey, well, what about this? Or what about that?” It encourages them to be able to think through things.
I remember when NAT GEO put out American Blackout. I had all my kids sit around and watch that docu-drama. They were into it because it was a drama and it had all elements of drama but also talked about survival. I didn’t even have to say anything. I was like, “Hey, I want to get your opinion on this show.” I was doing a review for National Geographics for Prepper Website at that time. And they got into it. I was really happy about that.
You can find movies for kids too. There are kid movies that you can use to talk about survival and different themes along with survival and preparedness. You can play role-playing games. Organize role-playing scenarios where family members take on different roles and act out emergency situations. Maybe you do charades and it’s all like preparedness-type stuff, but you don’t really say that it’s going to be preparedness.
You can do DIY projects. Again, you can engage in do-it-yourself projects that align with survival skills. You don’t have to tell them that it is about preparedness.
You can talk about basic woodworking. You know how one of the biggest fads right now is burning wood for home decor, giving it that burn look? I know a lot of the time they use torches, but you can go old school by building a fire first and then using that. And you can incorporate that into your DIY.
You can build something solar-powered or create something with cheap solar lights. You can create a basic shelter in the backyard, setting up a tent, using ropes and knots. Heck, you can just use a sheet to set up a tent in the living room. That would be just an easy way of teaching them how to set up using knots and then creating a shelter that way.
You can get into community involvement, engaging in community programs or volunteer work, but things that help in disaster preparedness. You can get them out there participating in local emergency response drills and supporting organizations that promote safety. Get them involved with the fire department when they outreach to your neighborhood. You might even sponsor that. A lot of the time, they get fire alarms or smoke alarms and give them out. Maybe you can be in charge of sponsoring that for your neighborhood or for your street and get your kids involved with that and talk about how important it is for fire safety and knowing how to get out of a home when it’s necessary.
There are many ways to learn and get confident in your skills, but when you bring your family along, it is a force multiplier!
Think Through and Plan Emergency Scenarios Before They Happen!
We always talk about having a plan! You need to envision the scenario and imagine how you will respond in your head. This is very important. There is research that your mind does not know the difference between what you’re thinking through and what you’re imagining and, what is real.
“Mental rehearsal involves imagined, mental practice of performing a task as opposed to actual practice. That is, when engaging in mental rehearsal, one imagines performing without having to actually do anything. (Insert your favorite consultant or management professor joke here.)
As the saying goes, “Practice makes perfect.” Yes, practice can cause improvement, but “perfect practice” can lead to better results than practice full of failures. Because mental practice is perfect practice, it is also a confidence-booster. Experiencing success increases confidence, even if that experience is imagined.
Basketball fans recognize the old cliché that goes something like, “Free throw shooting is 90% mental, 10% physical.” It’s true that a major determinant of a free throw shooter’s success is his or her mental activity before taking a shot and through the process of shooting (I’m not sure about those percentages though). Focus and concentration are very helpful. Accordingly, mental practice seems to assist mental preparation for the process of shooting a free throw.
A limitation, of course, is that one also has to have a certain degree of knowledge and skill for performing the activity in order to be successful.” Source
Have you ever had a scary dream? This is your mind going through a scenario. You are dreaming, wake up and find yourself sweating and your heart beating fast. You feel anxious and then realize it was just a dream. The fact is that your mind didn’t realize it was a dream.
It’s the same idea when you are thinking through emergency scenarios.
You should try it out! Close your eyes and think through that emergency. What would you do if, fill in the blank.
What would I do in case of a fire? What would I do in case of an earthquake? What would I do in case of a blizzard that’s rolling in? You can then start to play that through your mind and maybe you’re writing things down as you’re doing it. Maybe you have the plan already and you’re just trying to solidify it in your mind. But that is a very powerful thing to do.
You see this happening during the Olympics when you see the divers or even the skiers, put on their headphones, close their eyes and they’re just thinking through the flip or they’re thinking through their turns in their mind. They’re envisioning their dive or run down the mountain. Sometimes you will see skiers actually leaning and that helps them to be a little bit better prepared. We can use this same technique to our advantage.
It’s helpful to run your family through these scenarios and the plans as well. Because when you do that, they’ll feel more empowered or secure. This is the case if your family is on board with preparedness.
Get Prepared by Doing What Works for You!
You might not ever plan on going out to the wilderness and surviving, but you could get tips on what works in your situation. Create or tighten up your emergency plan and get tips for that! They might be what works best in a suburban or urban scenario. Focus on those types of skills and tips.
Stock up and create an inventory of essential supplies. And think about what would be important for your scenarios, your situations. Don’t go off of some YouTube video that you saw, some article that you read, some podcast that you heard. Get what you need for your situation.
Learn basic first aid.
Store water and figure out a plan on how you would get more if the tap wasn’t running. Because water is going to be universal to every survival situation no matter what! If you have stored water, that is great, that’s important. But then what if the tap runs out and you can’t get water anymore? Do you know what you would do in your scenario? Do you know where you would go?
You might have heard things like, “I would go to abandoned buildings.” Have you ever gone to a building to try to get water from them? Now, if they had security and things like that, they might not let you. But have you walked the perimeter? Is it as easy as you think it will be? You might think, “I’m going to go to this pond or I’m going to go to the river?” Have you gone down there? Have you hauled water up from the pond or the river and brought it back? Have you used your filtration system or your purification systems to be able to drink that water? Or is it just something that you think you can do?
You might not run out to the wilderness, but securing your home is a preparedness project you definitely need to do. And what else can you do in that kind of situation? Know your neighborhood, drive around your neighborhood. That’s a preparedness tip that you definitely need to be aware of. If you come in and come out, and that’s all you do, especially if you’ve lived there for a while, you might miss some big changes in your surroundings.
Has your neighborhood or your community changed? Have you seen things going downhill or are they getting better? What about establishing a network of other people that are like-minded and maybe that work with you or go to your church?
What about learning self-defense techniques? That’s a helpful skill that is not wilderness survival.
Do you deal with blizzards where you live? Because I’m in Houston, I’m not going to go through a blizzard. But I am going to go through heat. So, what do I do if the power goes out and I have excessive heat?
These aren’t end of the world type things, but they are real world prepper tips that would be very helpful.
And how do you stay informed of what goes on around you? Do you use Twitter? Do you subscribe to news alerts? Are there specific apps that you use to stay informed?
Have you ever thought about creating a communication plan for your family or for your workplace or even for your neighborhood that people would be able to communicate with? That’s a prepper tip that might come in very handy! Have you ever practiced your communication plan?
Another prepper tip would be practicing how to blend in. You would need to know and understand your community so you could blend in there. In some places, wearing camouflage is not something you want to be doing to blend in. But in other places that might be what people wear. And if you’re not wearing camouflage, people might look at you weird. Learning how to blend in is a prepper tip that you definitely want to learn.
Understand that a Lot of Preparedness is Perspective
A lot of it is being prepared to act and to know what to do. It is not necessarily a ton of gear that you have to buy. Although there is gear that you need to buy, that’s not where you start off. And that’s the biggest mistake that a lot of people make, buying stuff and not going through the necessary mind shift and the understanding of why they need it.
You need to have that long term perspective, but you also need a short-term perspective. Preparedness is both/and! You can always have an emergency that is short term. You lose a job or the electricity goes out or you have a blackout. But then there is the long-term perspective. You need to wrap your mind around what things would look like if TEOTWAWKI really happened!
Embrace the idea that preparedness is both short-term emergencies and long-term emergencies. You need to be prepared for all the challenges that might come in the future. And this shift involves recognizing that preparedness is an ongoing process and requires consistent effort. You need a proactive approach.
If you adopt a proactive approach, rather than a reactive mindset, then you’re able to respond much better. When you have that reactive mindset, you won’t make good decisions. And you don’t want to wait for the crisis to happen to come up with a plan.
That’s why we talk about plans so much. It’s important in helping to have the prepper mindshift.
You need to think, “I want to be proactive. I want to be prepared. I want to have a plan. Whenever a situation goes down, I’m ready to move. I know what I need to do.”
In closing, develop self-reliance by acquiring skills and knowledge that help you to navigate the different situations that you’re going to be involved with independently.
You don’t want to be dependent on the government or someone else during a crisis! When times are good, the government MIGHT come through for you. Or, there might be other organizations that are able to come through for you. But do you think that will always be the case?
Making these shifts, means taking responsibility, personal responsibility for your own well-being and not leaving it up to anybody else. Throw some extra kudos for yourself if you can get involved in your community, or your church. Preparedness goes beyond just you and your family. And when you can help others out, you get them on your side. And having people on your side in an emergency is a good thing!
Not everyone’s going to embrace preparedness like they’re ready to go and buy six months or a year’s worth of food storage. But you can be involved out there and help out as much as possible. And in the meantime, when you’re doing that, you get to know other people that are like-minded and maybe help them shift their thinking towards preparedness too!