Get Those Kids Outside, Folks.
Want your child to get friendly with the outdoors? Make sure his or her first experience is pleasant. One fellow I know carpeted the floor of his treestand for quietness and covered the sides with netting so that his child could move about. He purchased a small special backpack which the boy packed with a juice box, snacks, compact binoculars and his favorite toys. Dad picked a warm afternoon and the two outdoorsmen had a fantastic hunt spotting several deer, squirrels, chipmunks, and hearing the call of a barred owl - a sound his young son will never forget.
Whatever the activity, making the first time special will increase anticipation for next time. Keep these 10 points in mind:
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- Every fish is a trophy to a 5-year-old. Your standards don't apply.
- Keep things simple. Build in success, whatever the activity.
- Limit the duration. Kids like variety and motion.
- Reduce travel time. Get there before the youngster tires.
- Don't forget snacks and drinks. Food is fun.
- Anticipate and prevent problems like sunburn, insect bites, wet feet, cold fingers and boredom.
- Model safe practices. Wear a helmet, life preserver, ear protection, etc.
- Explore small things. Identify a plant, bird, animal or insect.
- Follow the trip with an internet visit - to learn more about the place or creatures you saw.
- Evaluate the day. What was best? Next time we should…
Editor's Note: This was originally published on May 18, 2016.
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