Culture

7 Ways to Take Your Kids Outdoors This Spring

April 13, 2015
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©istockphoto/monkeybusinessimages

©istockphoto/monkeybusinessimages

In the good old days, parents had a hard time getting their kids to come indoors. Now the problem seems to have shifted in the opposite direction. Kids are so involved with digital entertainment that some of them rarely venture outdoors. Whether your children are among this “indoors only” group or not, here’s some ways to get outside with them this spring.

Take a Hike
There is nothing simpler than putting on a good pair of boots and hitting the trail. Children as young as two can walk on their own for short hikes. If  your child is too young to walk or the hike is too long, consider investing in a backpack kid carrier.

Point out things that interest you and explain them to your kid(s). Kids will pick up more of this information than you think. Hiking at a young age may put them on the path for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and recreation.

Cast a Line
Fishing trips have been a parent/child bonding tradition for generations. Start your own tradition this year and teach your kids the finer points of reeling in a lunker.

Cater your fishing style to your child’s age and level of experience. First-timers should use a simple bait and bobber set up, while older and more experienced children can be taught the art fly-casting. Make the experience fun by choosing a nice day and interacting with your child before, during, and after the actual fishing.

Take Them Turkey Hunting
Turkey hunting is a great way to introduce youngsters to the hunting tradition. The weather is mild, the birds are beautiful, and, if you are lucky, a gobbling turkey is sure to get your kid’s heart raising as it approaches the gun.

Use a pop-up ground blind to conceal fidgety kids. Take snacks and (if you have to) video games to keep your young hunter entertained while waiting on turkeys. Choose a gun with low recoil and have your child practice with it before the hunt. Shooting sticks or a gun rest will provide a rock solid rest and improve your child’s chances of success.

Hunt Shed Antlers
If your kid’s not into killing, too young to hunt, or just doesn’t want to wake up for turkey hunting, shed hunting is an option. Scouring woodlots, fields and thickets for last year’s antlers can provide you with quality information for next year’s season.

One major difference between shed hunting and other kinds of hunting is that kids don’t have to be quiet or still. If your child wants to play with sticks or roll rocks down a hill instead of looking for sheds, let them. You might even want to join in. In case you’ve forgotten since your own childhood, that stuff is fun.

Ride a Horse
Kids love horses and, if proper safety measures are taken, this can be a great way to spend some time with them outdoors this spring. If you have a friend with horses or own your own, great. If not, a quick internet search will turn up places in your area that offer trail rides.

Kids should wear a helmet to protect them in the case of a fall and be instructed on how to approach and mount their horse. Even if you’ve never ridden a horse yourself, you’ll enjoy riding off into the sunset with your kids this spring.

Plant a Garden
Planting a garden is cheap, easy, and includes the reward of fresh food throughout the summer and fall. Gardens offer parents an opportunity to teach their kids about photosynthesis and where their food comes from. There’s nothing like a homegrown salad to accompany some grilled meat on a summer night.

Go for a Bike Ride
Get on your bikes and ride. I’m not sure if this is exactly what Freddy Mercury was talking about in the Queen classic Fat Bottomed Girls, but bicycling is the perfect way to spend some time outdoors with your kids this spring.

Look for a trail in your area that is mostly flat and smooth. Scenic views along the way will make the ride more enjoyable for both you and your kids. If you have children too young to pedal, hook a kid carrying trailer to the back of your bike and take them along for the ride.

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