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A Parents Guide to Outdoor Activities for Kids

Engaging in outdoor activities with kids not only keeps children active and healthy but also provides important family bonding time. Families will find plenty of outdoor activities to keep children occupied and having fun year-round. While many enjoy activities such as camping and fishing in warmer seasons, bird-watchers will find opportunities to observe and photograph wildlife in winter months, too. Regardless of the season, spending time outdoors with kids is a wonderful way to enjoy a healthy, active lifestyle. As many parents struggle to find balance between work and family time, planning outdoor activities with kids is a great way to ensure that parents do not neglect this crucial bonding time.

Camping

Camping as a family for the first time is often an exciting and enjoyable experience; however, if parents fail to properly plan and prepare children, unforeseen issues may arise. Children should feel comfortable camping or sleeping in a tent before the family ventures out for their first adventure. Many outdoor enthusiasts agree that spending a night in a backyard tent is good practice before heading out for the first camping trip. Camping provides parents the opportunity to teach kids many valuable lessons. Children learn how to work with parents in a cooperative manner as well as put survival skills into practice. As modern life is full of technology, gadgets, and easy conveniences, camping allows the family to experience life from a different point of view. Some children may be hesitant to give up their modern luxuries, but with careful planning, parents can ensure their kids are busy, engaged, and having fun. Depending upon the weather and campsite, activities such as fishing, swimming, boating, and hiking can be part of the camping excursion. Many kids enjoy mealtime and will remember activities such as cooking hot dogs, fish, or beans over an open fire while relishing delicious snacks such as roasted marshmallows or s'mores. Camping with kids can provide a lifetime full of memories all will cherish.

Hiking

Hiking is an excellent way to let children explore nature while enjoying the outdoors. There are numerous opportunities for parents to teach children about local plants, birds, and wildlife when hiking. There are hiking trails near every community where parents can plan exciting excursions, in addition to state and government parks. Hiking trips may be short, lasting only several hours, or long-term and include camping or staying in a lodge. Whether hiking during a weekend outing or for a week-long vacation, there are numerous ways to ensure that children benefit physically and educationally from their trip.

Fishing

Fishing is a popular hobby and sport, and many who become lifelong enthusiasts learn to fish in their youth. Fishing is a great way for family members to bond, and the hobby isn't limited to grandfathers, fathers, and sons. Everyone can enjoy fishing and enjoy the experience, whether it is catch-and-release or bringing home the evening dinner. Before involving children in water activities, parents should make certain kids understand safety rules, proper behavior around the water or on boats, and respect for local ordinances and state laws. Adults should ensure that they have proper fishing permits before taking the kids out and familiarize their children with the basics of fishing. Children who learn how to fish through the expertise of family members often cherish the memory well into adulthood.

Birding/Photography

Birding and wildlife photography is a wonderful outdoor activity that children can participate in year-round. Regardless of where you live or the season, there will be wildlife and bird activity. Learning about birds native to your area as well as migratory patterns can help prepare children for their outdoor, photographic excursions. Children who practice bird-watching often learn about patience and delayed rewards, as they must wait for wildlife to show themselves before being captured in a photograph. The advent of digital cameras has made birding and nature photography accessible to all, and cameras with a high zoom capacity allow budding photographers to capture photos without disturbing animals and birds in their wild habitats.

Other Activities

Other outdoor activities that parents find to be great opportunities for spending quality time with kids include horseback riding, mountain biking, and kayaking. Safety plays a vital role in these and other outdoor activities, and parents must take steps to ensure children know how to participate in a safe manner. Additionally, parents should remember that children are young and still learning and will not have the same level of proficiency as an adult. Parents must exhibit patience while their kids explore new activities and hobbies, whether it is horseback riding, hitting the trails on a mountain bike, or exploring waterways by kayak. By working together, the entire family can ensure that their outdoor time together is a fun and memorable one.

Find more about the author: Kim Hart