When it comes to making simple, homemade gifts for girls, things are easy. Girls love hair bows, ornaments, pretty smelling bath bubbles, and just about anything Pinterest can conceive of.
Boys are another story.
Boys want things that shoot and cut and require batteries. I don’t know about you, but I cannot crotchet a remote control helicopter.
All season, I have wondered what I could make that my outdoor-loving, snake-catching, fast-living boy would like. I wanted him to more than like it, since I was going to put time into making it. I wanted him to love it.
I wondered and wondered about it until one day, we met a man at a flea market who was selling knives and various outdoor supplies. He happened to have a pocket survival kit that my son went crazy over. I had found my solution.
A pocket survival kit is just what it sounds like. It’s a small tin packed full of all the little goodies a boy might need to survive the wilds of his own backyard (except food and water–you want the boy to come home sometime). They sell them pre-packaged online at various sporting websites, and, apparently, at El Paso flea markets.
The great thing is, you can make one for much less money. This is the perfect gift to make yourself because it gives you control over what goes in the box, and you can make it as fun or functional as you like simply by changing the quality and type of items you include.
You will also find that this Pocket Survival Kit is a great resource for teaching your child real-life skills like how to read a compass or how to start a fire. It’s the kind of gift that leads to memorable moments of teaching and learning together.
Like all the gifts in this series, it’s completely easy to do. All of the contents are readily available at any store that sells sporting or outdoor supplies, and most of them are very inexpensive (unless you decide to upgrade to better gear).
Here’s how you can make a Pocket Survival Kit for your own mini survival man (or woman).
How to Pack a Pocket Survival Kit
You will need a small tin (an Altoids box or Sucrets tin is perfect).
Everything you pack is going to have to go inside of this tin, which should be small enough to fit in your wilderness man’s pocket. That means you need to get the smallest, yet most functional, versions of any or all of the following items:
A mirror (this is for signaling for help)
Laser pointer (also for signaling)
Emergency whistle (sometimes these are included in pocket knives or lasers, so keep an eye out for a dual-function tool to save space)
Rappelling clips (carabiners)
Emergency blanket (this will be too big to fit in your tin unless you cut it down to size or use a vacuum sealer to compress it)
Water purification tabs (because what could be cooler than drinking out of a mud puddle?)
Small bag (so you can purify said mud puddle)
Various sizes of safety pins
Razor blades, if the recipient knows how to handle these (secure them under the duct tape in any case)
Once you’ve gathered all your items, pack everything in the tin.
Mark the back of the box with the Morse code signal for SOS. Later, teach your child how to use the laser pointer or mirror to signal for help. It’s fun!
If you look at the picture closely, you will see that I covered the tin with duct tape. I also put another strip on the bottom. You never know when duct tape could save a life.
Close it up and your Pocket Survival Kit is ready for giving!
This makes a great stocking stuffer or gift for an outdoorsy young man or woman. However, please use your discretion when giving a gift like this unless you are confident of the recipient’s maturity. Be sure he or she knows how to handle the tools properly and is responsible with them. If you have any question about any part of the kit, exclude it.
My nine-year-old son is very responsible and has been taught how to use each of the components of this box, and he has been I would not worry about him abusing any of them. But not every nine-year-old boy is the same!
A note on fire starters
You will notice that I included several fire-starting options in the photo above, but only listed a lighter to included in the box. Lighters are great fire starters, but you can choose any option you like. Matches, magnesium strips, or even magnifying glasses can work. I actually put several in the kit for my son because I opted to leave the emergency blanket out.
If you have to choose, a lighter is by far the most reliable in a real emergency situation. If you pack a magnifying glass, it could be cloudy. Matches get wet. Magnesium strips are hard to use to build a real fire.
Choose the option that you like the best and which will be most interesting to your child. Then, teach him how to use it safely and efficiently.
There you have it, a fantastic, simple gift for the boy in your life. If he’s anything like my son, he’s going to love it.
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