15 Survival Movies To Teach Your Kids Prepping

If you’re into prepping and you have kids, it would be wise to start teaching them disaster preparedness at an early age. There’s nothing better than growing up awake and prepared to face the unexpected, especially in volatile times such as these.

Having basic survival skills at an early age can be priceless and survival movies are a quintessential tool to use in this endeavor, as they combine learning with having fun, which translates into a win-win situation, especially if you’re a kid.

Of course, watching movies shouldn’t replace other “real life” activities, such as going camping with your bambinos.

Teaching your kids to survive on their own for a few days in an outdoors scenario is hugely important, not to mention that a camping trip builds confidence on their capability to be self sufficient, and also raises awareness on their personal hygiene in an off-grid scenario.

Furthermore, they’ll learn to be alert about the presence of dangerous wildlife and so forth and so on.

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It’s also worth mentioning that playing outside is essential for sparking a kid’s imagination (as opposed to pecking at TV/smartphones/tablets all day), as a pile of sand will quickly become a beach where the pirates of the Caribbean buried their treasures, and the trees and bushes behind the house morph into a luscious jungle, where monsters roam free, you know what I am talking about.

However, survival movies can be successfully used to prepare/teach your kids ahead of their real-life adventures, especially if they’re very young. So, let the games begin.

My number one choice is Walt Disney’s Swiss Family Robinson, a movie released back in 1960 and recommended for ages 8 and up. This Disney classic makes for the ultimate outdoor fantasy for a prepper’s family. The movie revolves around building a complex tree house on a Paradise-like tropical island, playing with animals (they are friendly, no worries), but also defending it all against pirates by using very sophisticated booby traps.

Let’s move to a more recent flick: Nim’s Island, a PG rated movie released back in 2008 (ages 8 and up), which makes for a contemporary thriller about a girl (Nim) and her dad, a science guy, both living on their private island. After her father goes missing during a storm, Nim is left (almost) alone on the island to take care of herself, with a little help from an agoraphobic visitor, but I will not spoil it for you.

If you’re looking for a good wilderness story for kids, Far from Home: The Adventures of Yellow Dog comes highly recommended. Released in 1995, the movie tells the story of a boy and his dog surviving in the wilderness and it emphasizes the importance of practical skills, self reliance and the value of knowing how to survive outdoors.

Cast Away is one of Tom Hanks’ best movies, as it explores a modern day’s man ability to survive in a very hostile environment, yet it encompasses almost zero violence, which makes it perfect for kids.

Everything in this movie is centered on a Federal Express engineer whose airplane crashes into the ocean, forcing him to live in seclusion on a deserted and remote island in the middle of nowhere. This is a modern-day Robinson Crusoe’s story of survival and it’s also massive fun to watch.

The Day After Tomorrow is a catastrophic flick which depicts a world collapsing after the planet experiences a dramatic climatic shift, which results in a new ice-age (what happened to global warming?). The movie is very interesting (read special effects) as it depicts a frozen America from coast to coast, while emphasizing the importance of survival skills in sub zero temperatures, planning ahead and having good gear at the ready if SHTF.

The Day After Tomorrow is a PG-13 rated movie, but as far as I remember, there’s no violence to speak of. However, there are some scenes depicting horrific injuries, and some characters drink alcohol as a way to mitigate their sadness after watching the destruction of much of the world as they knew it.

The Impossible is a very tragic survival movie which tells the story of the 2004 Tsunami that obliterated parts of Thailand. The Impossible is focused on the survival of a tourist family in Thailand, whose members were split up in the aftermath of the disaster, making for a true story of the people who had to stay alive through an incredible SHTF event. The story is very intense and the movie is rated PG 13 due to the fact that it sometimes depicts people suffering severe injuries.

A Cry in the Wild is a nineties flick about the sole survivor (a 13 year old boy) of a plane crash that got unreported. The hero’s name is Brian and the movie is about him trying to survive in the Yukon wilderness by his own wits, as he’s all alone. Your kids will learn essential survival skills from this movie: how to find food in an outdoors scenario, how to find shelter and also how to stay away from dangerous wild animals until you’re found.

Against the Wild is a 2013 “lost in the wilderness” movie following a plane crash (this is a recurrent theme, you can’t help it) about 2 siblings (teens) and their faithful dog. The trio must learn how to trust their instincts, and how to combine their skills in order to navigate an untamed and beautiful terrain. The struggle for survival is kind of mild and pretty boring for my taste, but given the fact this is a family movie, it contains zero violence, hence it’s perfectly suitable for your kids, being filled with positive messages and having positive role models.

Life of Pi tells the story of a young man’s epic journey of discovery and adventure after surviving a disaster at sea. As he’s cast away, he makes an unexpected friend, a Bengal tiger (another survivor).

The movie is great for kids, as it makes for an emotional, intense yet beautiful story of friendship and faith, as the heroes are trying to survive against all odds. There’s virtually no explicit violence, sexual content nor strong language in Life of Pi, while its impressive CGI makes it a powerful movie that will make your kids cheer in triumph or shed a tear as the story develops.

Twister is a nineties disaster flick about a couple of storm-chasers who are trying to build a state of the art weather alert system by putting themselves in the path of violent tornadoes. While you’ll find some violence and strong language here and there, the movie is very fun to watch overall, and your kids will be taught everything there is to know about the dangers of tornadoes (read severe weather conditions).

The Blue Lagoon is a movie made in the eighties about two 7 year old cousins who survive a shipwreck and find themselves deserted on a beautiful island in the Pacific. The movie is centered initially on the basics of survival, but later on it evolves into a love story, as the marooned couple slowly discovers sex, love and loneliness in this incredibly beautiful tropical paradise.

Lost in the Barrens makes for another “lost in the Canadian wilderness” survival tale about a Cree Indian boy and a white teen working together in sweet harmony in order to get through alive.

Wall-E is one of Pixar’s best, a romantic adventure flick, filled with action and environmental subliminal messages, which makes it ideal for the young prepper. Your kids will learn the importance of recycling and scavenging in a fun way, i.e. knowing how to make the most out of your trash, survive loneliness and finding hope in a SHTF environment.

The Wave is a rare Norwegian disaster movie about an implausible SHTF scenario, i.e. a fjord collapses and creates a tsunami, with our heroes getting caught in the middle of it and trying to survive.

Flight of the Phoenix tells the gripping story of the survivors of a plane crash with zero chance of rescue, who work together as they’re trying to build a new plane in the Mongolian desert. The action takes place in a harsh (even brutal) environment, with scarce resources and it includes a self-defense scene, as our heroes are attacked by desert smugglers.

The main lesson to be learned from this movie is that strong and loyal people who are committed to working together for a common goal in a SHTF scenario will survive almost anything.

These movies are good at explaining that a major calamity might struck you when you least expect it but never giving up and always thinking positive is what matters in a SHTF situation. That’s the mindset that would help your kids survive, beside the skills that you’re teaching them!

I hope the article helped. If you have other ideas or recommendations, feel free to comment in the dedicated section below.

This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia.

Written by

Chris Black is a born and bred survivalist. He used to work as a contractor for an intelligence service but now he is retired and living off the grid, as humanly possible. An internet addict and a gun enthusiast, a libertarian with a soft spot for the bill of rights and the Constitution, a free market idealist, he doesn't seem very well adjusted for the modern world. You can send Chris a message at editor [at] survivopedia.com.

Latest comments
  • You missed one really great one, “My side of the Mountain”. Cam out in the late 60’s, early 70’s. Bot who is a wilderness book junkie runs away from home home and uses his survival skills to survive and thrive on his own in the wilderness.

  • What about “the Road”?


  • beware “the blue Lagoon” broke shields earlier version, which might be a litle too “blue” for some parents’ tastes.

  • Good list. Seen most of them. I liked seeing “Flight of the Phoenix” on the list, but would recommend the 1965 original over the remake. The original was set in the Sahara. While the remake was pretty good, “inclusiveness” CGI and beefcake did not really improve the story.

    • I heartily agree. The original was far better than the remake, which seemed more focused on political correctness than on entertainment and realism..

  • Good list, and good comments from your readers.

    I recommend “the wave” for several reasons:

    first, it’s a decent family movie on its own, but the version I saw while in Geiranger last june was in norwegian with english subtitles, so being able to read is helpful.

    next, it is not far-fetched, and There’s Nothing terribly “Implausible” about it…the idea for the story was taken from history. In 1934, 64-meter high tsunami wave caused devastation in Tafjorden killing 40 people, one of the worst natural disasters in Norway in the 20th century.

    And It could and probably will happen again some day.

    By the way, norway — geiranger in particular — is absolutely beautiful.

  • My Side of the Mountain–1969. Good movie for kids. At least as far as I remember–I saw it when I was 9.

  • GOODBYE world
    fOcus is about a group of friends that survive a cyber attack

  • That cry in the wild sounds a lot like the gary paulson book hatchet. very good book by a writer who spent a lot of time in the wilderness. Many of paulson’s books have survival lessons in them.