Any time the kids are outside long enough, either in a backyard, a park, or out camping, they start gathering sticks and scouting locations for shelters. Maybe it’s all those episodes of Alone we watch on the History Channel, maybe it’s the number of times we’ve read Hatchet, but my kids love fantasizing about surviving in the wild. Sleeping among branches, camouflaging with leaves, maybe even creating separate bedrooms and a nice, cozy hearth of stacked river stones… they fantasize, for sure!

Imagine their excitement, then, when the new Think Outside Shelter Box arrived absolutely bursting with tips, information, instructions, history, and even jokes, all geared towards constructing the best possible shelter for any situation. The shelter box contains a 2-person emergency shelter, wire saw, flashlight, backpacking shovel, UV-sensitive beads (that also glow in the dark!), resource cards, and a booklet that is positively packed with information. It is no exaggeration to say that this has been the most exciting box so far! 

 

What happens if you’re on an extended camping trip and your tent is compromised or lost?

How will you protect yourself from the elements should you find yourself in a sudden burst of extreme weather while out hiking?

What if you just want to create a micro-environment in the backyard to hide from your siblings, or if you find yourself in a survival situation, stranded and exposed?

There are countless reasons to construct a shelter, and it turns out there are almost as many types of shelters. In the workbook, my kids learned about how to use different types of materials and how to consider the different environments they’d find themselves in to decide whether a debris lean-to or an A-frame tarp shelter would suffice. 

The included emergency shelter was great for practicing shelter-making, and provided first-hand lessons on how to best absorb or reflect heat in a survival setting. Plus it had the added bonus of being a classic STEM challenge!

Surviving the Elements - Think Outside Boxes Review

 

Of course, there’s more to shelters than just a place to sleep. In a long-term survival situation you must think beyond the building, and this Think Outside Shelter box definitely educates beyond the first night outside. The UV-sensitive beads are an ingenious inclusion that alert us when we’ve spent too much time in the sun. The cute little guy we made with ours even glows in the dark!

Surviving the Elements - Think Outside Boxes Review

 

Shelters have been required and used for thousands of years, from caves to leaf-covered huts, and are the perfect marriage of nature and STEM, survival and fun. I know I keep saying it, but this really was the best Think Outside box yet. I can’t wait to see what pops up in my backyard as the months grow warmer and the kiddos keep practicing their skills! 

If you still haven’t subscribed for yourself to Think Outside boxes, now is the best time to jump in and start learning – and thinking – outside. Make sure to use the code RLL10 at checkout to save $10 on your subscription!

 

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Colleen Kessler

Colleen is an explorer, tinkerer, educator, writer, creator, and a passionate advocate for the needs of gifted and twice-exceptional children. She has a B.S. in elementary education, a M.Ed. in gifted studies, is a sought-after national speaker and educational consultant, and is the founder of the popular blog and podcast Raising Lifelong Learners, as well as Raising Poppies, a community of support for parents of gifted children. She lives in northeast Ohio with her four bright and quirky kiddos, patient husband, and ever-changing collection of small reptiles, mammals, and insects.

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