Let’s face it, the advancements in modern technology nowadays have effected our young people. Fewer and fewer kids are going outside, playing in the dirt, catching fish, climbing trees or watching sunsets. Instead, they’re plugging into the internet and tuning out the natural world. But there is a way to guard against our young folks turning their backs on the Great Outdoors, and that is by fostering a healthy love of the natural world in them, early. The phrase “start ‘em young,” could not be more applicable. Here are three simple ways you can help to facilitate a young person’s love of the outdoors and outdoor recreation.
Fire Starting Challenge
As humans, we are naturally drawn to fire. It is one of the fundamental building blocks of civilization, and one of the first things a woodsman should know how to create. Take your kids outside to a local park with a firepit, or better yet a campground and (safely) teach them how to build fires. Start simple, using a lighter. Focus on the different ways to build a fire, teepee, box-style and lean-to styles are all effective methods. Then, as they start to get the hang of it, up the ante and challenge your kids to make fire using only a single match.
Take a Kid Fishing
A gateway activity to more aggressive pursuits in the outdoors, fishing is an easy, affordable and great way to get kids into nature. There is no need to toss a kid right into the wide world of angling, a stocked pond full of farmed fish will do just fine. Remember, it’s about the experience. Pack lots of snacks. Most importantly, set your kid up for success and you will see the unmistakable joy that comes to them when they land their first catch. If you can take the fish they catch home and cook it up for them, even better!
Children have a natural fascination with creepy crawlies. Insects are easy to find, fun to explore and full of adaptations that feed the inherent wonder of a young person’s mind. If you can get your hands on a magnifying glass and a jar, there is no limit to the amount of fun you can show a kid. If you intend to take your kids fishing, try digging for your own worms. Make sure to do your homework so you don’t have little Johnny picking up ground wasps or poisonous spiders.
Build a Shelter
Building a primitive shelter is right up there with fire-starting and water purification when it comes to outdoor skills. For kids, it is an extention of building forts. Get your hands on a tarp, a little bit of paracord and head for the hills. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to see how quickly your kids take to building the shelter once you put the first few pieces in order. This is also a great time to teach youngsters how to tie knots. If you’re looking to take it one step further, challenge the youth to stay in the shelter they have built, overnight.