Last modified on October 5th, 2022 at 1:18 pm
Let’s face it, kid’s today have become addicted to screens. It is near impossible to get them off of their phones and ipads and into the great outdoors.
But all hope is not lost!
With a little parental ingenuity, you can come up with ways to get your kids outside and having fun without phones and technology.
The key is, you have to make playing outside as much fun as playing on their phones and computers.
Here are some things that you can do with your kids that will get them playing outside and asking for more!
1. Start A Garden
There is no better way to introduce the wonders of Mother Nature to your kids than to start a garden and let them watch their little plants grow into fruits and vegetables that you can all enjoy as a family.
I remember starting a garden with my Grandfather when I was a small child. It was awesome to be able to do it together and to see the progress and reap the benefits.
My favorite memory was one day after school, long after we had planted the garden, my grandfather said he was craving watermelon and that I should go check the garden and see if any of the watermelons we had plenty were ready to pick.
I remember running up the hill to our overgrown garden, and right there in the middle was the most perfect big watermelon I had ever seen.
I was so excited that I nearly dropped the watermelon on my way back to the house.
It was the best tasting watermelon that I had ever tasted in my 8 year old world.
I found out many years later that my grandfather had bought that watermelon and put it in the garden in order to keep my interest in gardening.
I can’t thank him enough for instilling a lifelong love of gardening in that young child.
2. Take Your Kids Fishing
Kids love to go fishing. What a wonderful way for them to get outside and enjoy mother nature, all while developing life skills like patience and persistence.
It doesn’t have to be elaborate. Just some inexpensive fishing gear, with some hooks and floats.
I like to bring a bucket or small chair for them to sit on as well.
You can buy worms, but if you want to make it really fun for them, go nightcrawling the night before.
Get a couple of flashlights and cover the lenses with a red balloon. Then head on down to your local ballpark a couple of hours after it gets dark.
Slowly make your way around the ball fields with the flashlights and you will see the nightcrawlers laying out on the grass. The challenge is to pick the nightcrawlers up before they can get back into their holes.
Nightcrawling works best on summer nights after a rain, but you can find them on most warm nights.
They may enjoy catching the nightcrawlers more than they enjoy fishing!
3. Take Your Kids Hiking
Hiking is a great way to get kids outdoors and get some exercise at the same time. The key to making it fun is giving the kids something to do that will keep them occupied and thinking about something besides the exercise.
We used to give our kids rangefinder binoculars and we would play a game where we would guess how far away certain things were. Then our kids would use their binoculars to see exactly how far away the object was.
Kids love games, so think of ways to make games out of nature and make it fun.
Another game that we used to play was to see who could find and identify the most variety of trees and plants.
Our kids were so competitive that they eventually became experts on trees and plants!
Be sure to make the hikes age appropriate. If your kids are small, keep the hikes short and relatively flat, so that they have fun. Save the tough ones with steep climbs for the older kids.
4. Take Your Kids Camping
Taking your kids camping can be an awesome adventure that takes all of you back to simpler ways and simpler times.
The important thing to remember is no electronics!
Yes, that includes Mom and Dad.
Teaching your kids to gather firewood, build a fire and then cook your meals over that fire can be an experience that they will never forget.
Camping is available to everyone, even if you don’t have a tent. There are many campgrounds and State Parks that have rustic cabins that you can use for a nominal fee.
Camping can be done with kids of any age and is a great way to spend time together in the great outdoors as a family.
They say every family should camp at least once a year, unless you don’t have the time, then you should camp twice a year.
5. Take Your Kids Hunting
Introducing a child to hunting is a great way to preserve this tradition and get kids to understand where their food comes from. It is also a great way to instill a great respect for all of the animals that share this earth with us.
You will have to determine, as a parent, when you think your child is mature enough to participate in a hunt.
I was eight years old when I tagged along with my father on my first hunt and it instilled in me a lifelong love of animals and the great outdoors.
Kids don’t have to be actively hunting to join as a companion and share time in the outdoors with an adult they trust.
Again, keep this age appropriate. Younger children will enjoy short hunts for small game or upland birds, while older children may enjoy spending hours in a deer blind or duck blind with you.
6. Buy A Metal Detector
Kids love adventure and what could be more adventurous than a treasure hunt!
One of the best places to use a metal detector is at the beach. Once something is located with the metal detector, it is very easy to dig up in the sand.
As your kids get older, you can venture out to more places, such as public parks, hiking trails, fair and festival sites and more.
The upside to metal detecting is that you may find valuables that will pay for the metal detector and maybe even make some money!
Yes, most kids are addicted to technology today and want nothing more than to spend more time in front of their screens, but you can break that addiction by introducing them to fun and exciting activities in the great outdoors.
Make a plan to try one of the activities on the list or better yet, make a plan to incorporate all six into your lives and make getting kids outdoors a real parenting priority.