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  • How TV Shows Are Preparing Children for Disasters

    Tsunami 02Seventeen-year-old Raudhatul Mawaddah had read in a comic book that a tsunami usually follows an earthquake. So after a magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck off the coast of Indonesia on December 26, 2004, despite her father’s objections, she grabbed her 1-month-old stepbrother and 4-year-old stepsister and ran for the mountain near her home, according to an October 2007 UNICEF report. Her home was four kilometers (about 1.3 miles) from the ocean, but it was still hit by flood waters from a tsunami. When the water receded, a stranger’s body was left on her family’s kitchen floor. That tsunami killed 230,000 people, including some 5,000 miles away from the earthquake’s epicenter. But Raudhatul’s family survived.

    It can be tough to prepare children for natural disasters. You might be afraid of scaring them or giving them nightmares. You might not know what’s age-appropriate. Yet studies agree that children who learn about disasters in a safe environment are less afraid during a disaster.

    Here’s the nice bit: You don’t have to figure out how to teach children about emergency preparedness by yourself. PBS Kids, Disney Junior, Sesame Workshop: all have released TV shows and related tools to help with disaster preparedness and coping. Here are some I found.


    Sesame Street, 2001

    The granddaddy of them all. Seriously. This was the earliest emergency preparedness episode I could find. It came out in 2001 and was rebroadcast after Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

    In this episode, Big Bird’s nest is destroyed in a hurricane. His friends and neighbors come together to help him rebuild, find places to eat, sleep, and play, and help him cope with his emotions.


    Sesame Street, 2014

    In October 2014, Sesame Street also released its “Let’s Get Ready” series. It offers tools to help kids learn important information like their full name, phone number and names of other family members, like an app, printables and short videos. It also gives information about how to create an emergency plan and how to cope after an emergency.


    The Pillowcase Project, Disney Junior, and American Red Cross,2012

    Monster Guard -Red Cross Monster Guard

    After Hurricane Katrina, the New Orleans chapter of the American Red Cross developed the Pillowcase Project, a preparedness education program for children in grades 3-5. It encourages kids to prepare by packing a pillowcase of emergency supplies that they can quickly grab for an emergency evacuation. Disney produced a public service announcement for older kids and created a booklet starring Mickey Mouse and other characters from the TV show Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

    The partnership also produced an app, Monster Guard, in which kids play games to learn about preparing for various types of emergencies.


    Doc McStuffins, 2015

    Through Doc McStuffins, the title character of a Disney Junior show who repairs toys and teaches about life skills, Disney expanded the pillowcase project to preschoolers for this year’s Disaster Preparedness Month. In a one-minute public service announcement, Doc prepares an emergency kit with flashlight, clothes, blanket and snacks, and makes an emergency plan with family contact information.


    Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, 2015

    “Take a grownup’s hand, follow the plan and you’ll be safe,” my kids now sing. Over and over and over again. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood is a preschool TV show based on characters from Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. In a story that lasts a full episode, when a big storm hits the neighborhood, everyone stays safe. They follow a storm safety plan that includes sheltering in a safe place, making an emergency kit, and helping others clean up afterward. The episode also comes with tips and games.


    Arthur, 2015

    This month, PBS Kids also released an episode of Arthur, a cartoon for school-age children, in which the characters coped with the aftermath of a hurricane.

    Again, PBS Kids provided tips and games to help kids be more resilient after a disaster.


    Ready.gov, 2015

    Disaster MasterFEMA’s web site Ready.gov has a game, “Disaster Master,” emergency plan and kit information for kids and information about how to get wireless alerts.

    - Melissa




    Do you know of any other good TV shows or games to help teach kids to prepare? Let us know in the comments section!



  • 5 Kid-Friendly Food Storage Favorites

    5 Kid-Friendly Food Storage Favorites

    If you have kids, don’t wait for an emergency to break out your food storage supply. Try rotating freeze-dried and dehydrated foods into your regular family meals. That way when you use your food storage in an emergency there won’t be as many complaints about a change in diet or a new variety of food choices.

    The last thing you want to deal with in an emergency is a meltdown because your children refuse to eat that strange food you’ve been storing in the basement…

    Here are 5 kid-friendly food storage favorites that have been tried and tested by our customers and their kids. These foods have gotten thumbs-up approval from 10-month-olds all the way up to teenagers.


    5 Kid-Friendly Food Storage Favorites

    1. Mountain House (Just-Add-Water) Meals-The great thing about Mountain House meals is that they start out as a home cooked meal before going through the freeze drying process. They’re using fresh ingredients your kids will love. Here are a couple of kid favorites:

    • Mountain House Noodles and Chicken-“Out of all the Mountain House entrees, this is the one my 5-year-old will eat any time we make it. We use the pouches when we go out backpacking or snowshoeing, and this is one of the better dishes. Sort of like chicken noodle soup. I recommend it!” – Fred
    • Mountain House Sweet and Sour Pork-“This is amazing! The flavors blend perfectly and have a wonderful taste. My super picky teenage son had three helpings with our first taste test! Great dinner and purchased numerous cans”- Cynthia
    • Mountain House Beef Stew-“My 10-month-old and I think this stuff is fantastic. We have reduced the amount of waste materials with traditional baby food (no more jars, foil, or plastic containers). The size and texture of the beef and vegetables are perfect for her. And the broth adds just the right balance of flavor for her palate. I strongly recommend this to all my friends.”- Connie

      5 Kid Friendly Food Storage Meals: Mountain House Beef Stew

    2. Provident Pantry Instant NonFat Dry Milk-Dry This is not your traditional dry milk. It has a rich, creamy taste. One customer even said she ran out of milk and put this into her kid’s breakfast cereal instead; they couldn’t tell the difference. Here’s what another mom had to say:

    • We were absolutely amazed at how delicious this milk is! We are BIG milk drinkers in our home, so we were a little reluctant to order powdered milk, but I ordered the “MyChoice” size for a trial, and was ecstatic at the taste! I gave some to my husband (who is extremely picky) to try, and he loved it! My kids,who are also very picky, loved it as well! This is a definite must-have for your food storage”-Darcy

      5 Kid Friendly Food Storage Favorites: Instant Nonfat Dry Milk

    3. MRE Stuffed French Toast-Great for a quick meal on the go, this MRE has been praised by our employees and customers alike. Check out what these customers thought of them:

    • “I loved this and so did my children. They loved it so much they have asked if I can order some for breakfast on the go. We had these while camping and they will definitely go on the "to buy" list again!”- Suzanne
    • “My daughter and I loved these. They’re very filling, and the syrup is good to be artificial. I recommend these to anyone with kids” - Travis

      5 Kid Friendly Food Storage Favorites: MRE Stuffed French Toast

    4. Provident Pantry Freeze-Dried Strawberries -Great to eat straight out of the can or rehydrated, these strawberries are sweet and tangy. They’re excellent additions to desserts and cakes. Here’s how this grandma got her grandkids to try them:

    • “Purchased one #10 can to try. I put them in smaller containers for my grandchildren to snack on and I put them in their oatmeal. My little food critics loved them! I immediately ordered 12 more cans for my food storage. I rehydrated them in fruit juice, thickened it, and made fruit syrup for the pancakes. Lots of possibilities, want to try strawberry bread next.” - Linda

      5 Kid Friendly Food Storage Favorites: Freeze-Dried Strawberries

    5. Provident Pantry Scrambled Egg MixThis mom’s rendition of breakfast tortillas made her kids crazy about eating these scrambled eggs:

    • “Okay, so it’s not real scrambled eggs but my kids really like them. I bought it to try out and see if we could survive off of this and I think we will have no problem. My kids’ favorite way to eat these eggs is to combine it with freeze dried sausage and roll it up in a tortilla. I even served it to some friends this way to see if they could tell the difference and not one noticed. In fact, all the breakfast burritos were gone!” - Tammie

      5 Kid Friendly Food Storage Favorites: Scrambled Egg Mix

    Of course, not all kids will love every type of freeze-dried food, but check them out and find the ones perfect for your family. For more kid-friendly foods and snacks, check out our baking mixes, desserts and drinks, and meat, eggs, and dairy items.

    What types of food storage items do your kids love?

  • Survival Skills for Kids: Outdoor Survival Games


    Talking with kids about disasters, personal safety, and emergency preparedness could be an emotionally draining task for everyone involved. Playing outdoor survival games may be a good way to approach the subject in a fun, memorable, and safe environment.

    Before or after you play: Talk with your Kids

    Talk to your kids about the types of emergencies or personal safety situations they may encounter and what they can do to be safe. Create scenarios or role plays to act out and come up with solutions together. Here are some survival skills that you could talk to them about:

    • The Family Emergency Plan
    • Emergency Kits (how and when to use each item appropriately)
    • What to do if they are lost
    • What to do if a stranger approaches them
    • Outdoor Survival Skills (plant and animal track identification, building a shelter or fire, using a compass)

    Talking with them about these issues will help them to understand the importance of the games and the reasons why they are playing them. After playing the games, you can even ask them what they learned about emergency preparedness or survival.

    Rules and Regulations for Parents and Kids


    • Don’t try to cover everything in one day!
    • Teach one skill at a time and have a game to go along with each
    • Make sure that games are age appropriate
    • Make sure games are supervised by an adult


    • Show respect to the environment
    • Be kind to the gear that you use
    • Stay within the playing area 

    Let the Games Begin!

    Bases (ages 6-12+)

    This is like extreme hide and seek that teaches you how to use the environment as a natural hiding place (good for hiding from intruders, hiding for safety outdoors).

    Number of People: 6-8 people (the more people, the better!)

    How to play: Select one person to be the seeker (this could be the adult supervising). Seeker picks out 6 “bases” that all the hiders must touch/reach during the game within the playing area. The seeker stands at the last base. The goal for the hiders is to get to all the bases without being caught by the seeker.

    The seeker will count to a certain number each round, as hiders run to hide behind each base. Every round the number of counts will be different. As the seeker counts they can count very fast or very slow using the “dot system.” For example:

    • The seeker will announce the counts before they begin counting by saying “10 Slow” or “3 fast”
    • If the seeker wants to count slowly they will count saying—“one, dot, two, dot, three, dot”
    • If they want to count fast they will say “one, dot-dot, two, dot-dot, etc.”

    If the seeker sees anyone poking out from their hiding place after they are done counting, the seeker will call out their name, signifying that that person is out. The person who gets to the last base first without being seen is the winner.

    Other Survival Skills Games to Play:

    Naturalist Scattergories-http://www.twineagles.org/fun-outdoor-games.html (ages 6-12+)

    One player selects a category (example: types of trees), players sit in a circle and have ten seconds to say a type of tree. Answers can only be said once, the last player remaining in the circle wins. Best with 6 players, but can be played with 2. Can also be played using emergency items (name items in an emergency kit, items to bring on a camping trip, types of shelters, etc.)

    Shelter Skirmish-http://cheaperthandirt.com/blog/?p=45983 (ages 8-12+)

    After reviewing types of shelters and talking about how to make one, have players compete to make a lean-to shelter with items from the yard. After they work for a while, give them items to help such as a few strips of duct tape, some rope, or a poncho. See who can make the best shelter from a couple of items.

    For More Survival Games Check Out:

    For More Resources for Teaching Kids Survival Skills:

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