The father-of-three, 39, said that the school curriculum should be overhauled, with survival skills such as lighting a fire and tying a knot replacing maths.
He told Radio Times magazine that, while he did not want to "bring up Rambo", his six-year-old son had already learnt how to handle a knife. He said that for children to achieve "anything in life" they have to be taught "how to embrace and manage risk".
He added: "If you try to negate risk in children's lives, you do them a disservice because you teach them not to be afraid of risk."
He added: "There is risk everywhere, even when you go out on the street. So if you teach kids to dodge risk, you totally disempower them.
"You empower kids by teaching them how to do something dangerous, but how to do it safely."
Grylls, who was educated at Eton, said: "If I had to write the education curriculum, it wouldn't be Latin and maths. It would be... how to light a fire, tie a knot, use a penknife, build a raft, get on with people, eat healthily, keep fit, be part of a team and learn effective leadership.
"And that's it.... It's a shame that, as a society, so many have lost these skills."
Grylls, who takes 13 men out to a desert island to fend for themselves in his new Channel 4 show, said that it was "part of being a dad" to teach his three sons how to make a catapult, tie a knot and improvise a kite, and that the children set up "search and rescue" scenarios at home.
He added that while his six-year-old son had one accident with his knife, where he ended up "with blood pouring everywhere", he had not cut himself again.