You really don’t need many rules outside, but here are the ones that help us the most:
- If you can’t see me, you’ve gone too far.
- If I make my signal (ours is three whistle blows in a row), stop and come back. When you first go out into a new park, area of the woods, etc. test out this rule. We make it into a game and kids actually find it fun.
- Nil by mouth. I owe the verbage, here, to my mentors in the UK, but teaching kids to put nothing in their mouths keeps us all out of all kinds of trouble.
- While we are on safety, we get a lot of questions about first aid. Unless noted, our activities are not so risky that you need any first aid materials or knowledge beyond a first aid kit and good, common sense. If you do want to know more about first aid for kids when you are camping, backpacking or otherwise adventuring outside, I find backpacker.net's take on it to be grounded and informative. You can also check out the Red Cross's anatomy of a first aid kit.