Let’s face it: Too many kids sit around the house, glued to their electronic devices and cultivating pasty skin. American youths spend as much as six hours a day watching TV, surfing the web or playing video games and a mere 30 minutes each week in unregulated outdoor play.
Once these habits are formed, they’re hard to break. Here are a few ideas for sparking your children’s interest in the great outdoors.
1. Bribe them. It may sound like poor parenting, but bribery often works exceptionally well. For example, you might offer to give your older child a small pocket hunting knife at the end of a camping trip during which you spend some time teaching him about hunting knife safety. Get your younger child psyched about the trip by letting her pick out her own sleeping bag or LED headlamp at the store.
2. Mix nature and technology. Instead of letting them sit in front of the TV, put your children behind the video camera. Challenge them to make a creative outdoor video, which can be posted on YouTube and sent out to all of their friends via Facebook. Who knows? It might go viral.
3. Take them geocaching. Kids love gadgets, right? What outdoor activity could be more kid-friendly than using the GPS to find hidden treasure? Take advantage of your child’s knack for using electronic devices and put him or her in charge of tracking the coordinates. Don’t forget to bring along an LED headlamp or two just in case.
[Photo by: Daniel Oberes]