Chances are, you’ve heard someone lately begrudge the laziness of children today. With advancing technology, more and more screens are available for the kiddos to stare at while sitting sedentary. Often, if you even see a child outside, their eyes are glued to a device. Back in the day, you would be hard pressed to find a child inside on a summer afternoon. Today, it seems like you have to drag a kid kicking and screaming just to get them to take a breath of fresh air. If society has any future in the outdoors, there are some basic things that every child should know about our wide open spaces.
Pay close attention to the under-18 crowd the next time you’re at a park, historic site, monument, etc. It would be a safe bet that at least 50% of them appear to be disinterested, distracted, or downright bored. A great way to drum up interest is to help them experience nature early and often. Many times, they’re not interested because they don’t understand the magnitude and flat-out awesomeness of the outside. Take them on short hikes and gradually increase the length each time, for example. It’s not just about the hike, though. Make sure to point out interesting landforms, cool looking rocks, and wildlife.
Very few animals are dangerous when left alone
Understandably, children are afraid of what they do not understand. As such, if they are not directly exposed to wildlife at some point, they’re going to be afraid of it. They probably think everything is going to bite, sting, maim, or otherwise do them harm. Show them firsthand that this is not the case by taking them to a petting zoo. This will introduce them in a controlled setting to the fact that animals are not inherently dangerous when treated with respect.
Fishing isn’t just for old guys
When you picture a stereotypical fisherman, chances are the first image that pops into your head is a couple of old fellas sitting on a boat with fishing poles in their hands, staring at the water. Most kids probably do the same. Fishing can be a great chance to bond with the kiddos, teach them a little about nature, show them that worms don’t bite, and if they’re really brave, you might even be able to talk them into taking the fish off the hook.
There is a lot to be said for imagination
It’s hard to develop an active imagination when you’re force-fed all of your information by a talking screen. To mimic something adults everywhere say on a daily basis…go play! Children can develop better social skills, a more creative mind, and running around outside all day definitely doesn’t hurt the growing childhood obesity problem.