BY JENNIFER CONE
Growing up, we spent many weekends up at the lake or out in the woods. This was a focal part of my upbringing and made me who I am today. I’ve always loved being outside, whether I was sitting in a deer stand or casting a line from the boat. Now my husband and I have three children of our own and we’ve really started to focus on ways we can get them active in the outdoors at a young age so they can start to develop that love and appreciation for the outdoors as well. As an avid hunter, I’m eager to get them started early so when the time comes that they are of hunting age, my hope is that they will excited to get out in the woods. Here are 7 ways that we bring the outdoors into the lives of our young children:
1. Deer Season Prep! Fall is such a beautiful time to be outdoors and see the gorgeous colors. We like to take our kids out in the woods to help clear shooting lanes and set up deer stands. It gets everyone outside for a nice hike and also shows the hard work and dedication that goes into the preparation of a hunt.
2. Take them Fishing! What’s nice about fishing is that you can start this from a very young age. My 2 year old daughter got her first fishing pole this year and she could spend all day just casting and reeling in her line.
3. Go Shed Hunting! This is a top favorite one for me that can be enjoyed by the whole family. We had my daughter in a backpack and were able to cover a lot of ground with the kids in tow. They truly loved being in the woods and on a real-life treasure hunt for antler sheds!
4. Hunt From The Blind! My 4 year old son had been asking me when he was going to be able to come along for a hunt. I immediately thought that turkey hunting from the blind would be a perfect introduction. He stayed out with me over an hour and he even made a few (questionable) turkey calls. When we got home he couldn’t stop bragging to our family and friends about his first hunting trip!
5. Take Them To The Range: When I was younger my dad would bring us with him to the shooting range and would take that as an opportunity to instill firearm safety instruction so it was engrained in us. It also showed us the practice and commitment that goes along with hunting. This is something that you will want to make sure your child is ready for before you take them along. I do feel that firearm safety is an important life lesson that children should have at some point, no matter their interest in hunting.
6. Go Hiking! What I love about this one is that it doesn’t require too much preparation to go on an easy hike at a nearby park area and it can be done year round! You don’t have to live in the mountains or go on a strenuous hike to enjoy this – being outside and getting fresh air is what it’s all about!
7. Plan an Outdoor Vacation: Our family vacations are focused around being outdoors. Our kids love seeing new landscapes and we get a lot of enjoyment by being active and trying new adventures in different parts of the country.
These are just some of the ways that we have introduced our children to the outdoors. As much as they enjoy their electronic devices, all 3 of them would turn them down in a heartbeat to get out on the boat, go for a hike, or spend time in the woods. I’ve also enjoyed the fact that even though I can’t hunt with all of my children yet because they are not at the right maturity level or age, we are still being active with them in the outdoors and laying the right foundation for something that hopefully will grow into a lifelong passion.
How were you active in the outdoors when you were younger? If you have children, how do you involve them in the outdoors? Comment below!
Jennifer is an avid outdoor enthusiast who grew up hunting and fishing. Jennifer and her husband have 3 children and they enjoy many family adventures in the outdoors! Follow ourtimeoutdoors.com to hear more about their outdoor experiences and how she incorporates her passion into the everyday busy life. Jennifer’s goal is to inspire others to get outdoors and make memories!
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