By Mark Kayser
You want your kids and your grandkids to embrace the outdoors, right? Unfortunately, countless distractions seize their attention. If you want to get them involved at an early age, consider implementing these 10 activities to hook kids on the outdoors.
TAKE A KID HUNTING
Whether your targeted child is old enough to hunt or not, you can introduce them to hunting simply by taking them along. Plan accordingly and take them on a hunt when the weather forecast shines. Spring turkey hunting is the perfect match.
ENROLL THEM IN A HUNTER SAFETY COURSE
If your child is old enough, enroll them in a certified hunter safety course. Not only will this teach them firearm safety and respect, but they will also get an introduction into hunting. It instills in them the importance of wildlife management and the hunter’s role in conservation.
ENROLL THEM IN SHOOTING SPORTS
To impress upon them the significance of being a good shot and to continue the firearm safety lesson, enroll them in any number of shooting sports programs. Your local shooting range may have a program or consider others offered by the NWTF Jakes program, 4-H Shooting Sports, the Boy Scouts of America and the National Archery in the Schools Program.
PLAN A WILDLIFE OUTING
Even if you can’t go hunting, you can plan a wildlife outing. Consider visiting a national wildlife refuge, a nature park or even a zoo. Many offer weekend classes on nature to compliment the adventure.
INCLUDE THEM IN HUNTING CHORES
Preseason hunting chores include everything from putting up treestands to planting food plots. Take your youngster along and give them a role in the preparation. Make safety a first priority if they climb up the tree with harnesses and lifelines that fit.
GET THEM THE RIGHT GEAR; GO SHOPPING
For a comfortable, safe and enjoyable experience, outfit youth with the right gear. Clothes should fit like a glove. Boots should keep their feet warm. Backpacks should provide enough room for essential gear. Add a first aid kit to their equipment list for any mishaps.
TAKE THEM CAMPING OR TO HUNTING CAMP
Few memories outlast those from a childhood camping trip or even a visit to hunting camp. It creates an unforgettable set of experiences to connect hunting with the overall excitement of the outdoors.
TAKE THEM SCOUTING
When you plan a scouting trip take your new hunter along. Outfit them with a quality binocular and give them full access to the spotting scope as you look for game. Check trail camera images onsite to further spur the excitement of the hunt for them.
COOK WILD GAME WITH THEM
Whether you have freshly-taken game or pull a package from the freezer, cook a wild game meal with your new hunter. Research a recipe you know they’ll enjoy and add in a favorite dessert to top it off. It will inspire them to enjoy future bounties of the hunt.
VOLUNTEER FOR A CONSERVATION PROJECT
Hunters raise more money for wildlife and conservation than any other segment of America. To encourage a future commitment to conservation, volunteer with your youth on a local conservation project. Plant trees, clean up a public hunting area or help build waterfowl nesting structures.
The outdoors and hunting can compete with everything out there grabbing the attention of youth. It’s up to you to plan activities that introduce them to this natural and captivating experience.