47 things I learnt from reading Bear Grylls Kids’ books

Pretty much everyone I meet has an opinion of Bear Grylls. He’s a bit like a brussel sprout – you either love him or loathe him. I thought he was a bit of a tosser until I read his book, ‘Mud, Sweat & Tears’, and it changed my mind. Now, I actually quite like and respect the guy. Sure, I’m not wrapped in some of his tips (like being wrapped inside a camel carcass or drinking pee out of a snake skin), but in terms of basic safety messages around food, water and shelter – he’s all over it. Oh… and kids love him.

Now I confess I watched every episode of Survival School (a hit with bronze Duke of Ed kids) as carefully executed adventures, tests and challenges were faced by a mixed bunch of 12-15 yr old pommie school kids, under the firm guiding hand of Bear… separated from their devices.

But he’s now got younger kids covered (5-8 years) with a series of new kids books called, The Bear Grylls Adventures – “The Blizzard Challenge” and “The Desert Challenge”.

Bear Grylls Book Review

I was a bit skeptical at first, so couldn’t believe that by chapter two, I started writing down all the outdoors safety tips that were being covered. And perhaps that’s the key – we think of Bear in terms of ‘survivalist’, but actually, if we change that word for ‘bush safety’, then it suddenly seems much more relatable.

These tips are subtly woven into a series of cute stories that follow a group of kids on holiday camp, as each one discovers the magical powers within a very special compass. Through the compass, they find themselves in potentially dangerous locations like a desert and in the middle of a snow storm, learning very practical tips on safety from Bear and dealing with their fears.

Bear Grylls Book Review

The kids end up learning not only great tips for staying safe, healthy and happy in the bush, but as anyone who’s spent time in nature can tell you, it has it’s way with these young ones and also helps teach them something about themselves and how they relate to each other and the world.

So if you’ve got young ones in your life (5 – 8 yrs) who you’d love to introduce to bushwalking and hiking, then I thoroughly recommend kicking them off with this lovely series.

There’s now loads of others in the series and if they’re as good as the first two, I definitely recommend them.

In celebration of Book Week in Australian primary schools, I’ve got one copy of The Desert Challenge and the Blizzard Challenge to give away to one reader.

Now, just to prove that these books have all the good stuff in them, here’s my list of 47 things I learnt from The Desert Challenge and The Blizzard Challenge:

  1. Packing light
  2. Importance of packing your own bag
  3. How to tighten guy ropes
  4. Avoiding rocks when putting up a tent
  5. Importance of teamwork in the bush
  6. The easiest ways to carry firewood
  7. Compass basics
  8. Awareness of snow blindness
  9. Importance of layering clothes
  10. Importance of having the right gear
  11. How to keep your feet warm
  12. Wearing the right shoes
  13. Dry feet and food keep you happy
  14. How to use snow for water
  15. Avoiding dehydration – even in the snow
  16. Avoiding hypothermia
  17. Always be prepared
  18. Waterproofing your gear
  19. Tips for walking on snow, ice and a glacier
  20. Keys to route finding (including on sand and snow)
  21. Looking ahead and around to analyse weather
  22. Importance of pacing
  23. Tips for walking
  24. How to get out of an ice pond
  25. How to warm up rapidly
  26. Importance of following a leader’s instructions
  27. Keys to endurance
  28. Importance of encouragement
  29. Basics of how to build a snow cave
  30. Importance of finding/making shelter
  31. How good the sense of accomplishment feels
  32. Importance of resilience in life and adventure
  33. Do things properly… once.
  34. Tips on peeing in a snow cave
  35. Finding the strength inside to keep going
  36. Maintaining 3 points of contact when rock scrambling
  37. Facing fears of insects, spiders and being alone in the bush
  38. The importance of keeping hydrated
  39. Tips on how to walk in hot conditions
  40. Importance of sun protection
  41. How to avoid getting bitten by snakes
  42. How to walk to conserve energy
  43. Looking for resources all around you
  44. Importance of slow, smart thinking
  45. Being aware of the dangers of flash-flooding
  46. Importance of keeping calm in stressful situations
  47. Tips on finding water

Writer, producer and content creator by trade, search and rescue volunteer by passion, Caro Ryan started LotsaFreshAir.com to inspire, teach and encourage people to get into hiking and the outdoors safely.

It’s all about connecting people to wild places in meaningful ways, so they can look after themselves, their mates and these precious places we visit.

She teaches wilderness navigation, authored the book, ‘How to Navigate’ and hosts, ‘Rescued - an Outdoor Podcast for Hikers and Adventurers.

In the bottom of her pack you'll find coffee grounds, instant noodles past their used by date and an insatiable curiosity.

Bushwalking & Hiking Tips from an Unexpected Outdoors Chick

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