Monday, December 19, 2011

Keeping the kids busy with fun outdoor activities over the holiday.

If you're anything like me, you'll have children at home or at least visiting for the holidays. Just prior to Christmas the family is still making preparations, and in the evenings going to holiday parties or community events. Sometimes the children are invited, sometimes not, but either way the kids have a lot of spare time on their hands. I remember the line from the Christmas carol, It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas that goes, "Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start again!"

Well instead of having kids just sit around the house getting into trouble or being bored; why not break out the camping gear? It may be tough the more north you go, but central Florida this holiday season will be in the low 60's to mid-70's which is perfect camping weather, especially for a backyard adventure. Most of the mosquitoes are gone now so the outdoor environment won't be so objectionable.

As a kid I loved camping in the backyard. It gave me a sense of independence and when you're inside a tent. It’s easy to imagine that you’re not just in the backyard but anywhere in the world. Plus when you're 10, neighborhood noises can be just as scary as those in the wilderness! As a Dad of kids who wanted to sleep in the backyard, I knew that not only were they safe, but come springtime which is a real camping season for a lot of families, I knew that the kids would be pros at setting up the tent having had some practice. Consider this a dry-run for the real thing. If you really want to help in the family camping preparations, instead of having breakfast in the house break out the camp stove that only gets used once a year and show the kids how to use it. These type of activities will create fond family memories for a lifetime, reinforce useful skills and help give the children a sense of independence and accomplishment.

Sometimes you want to be out in the woods, but just can't! Some other outdoorish activities I plan to do with my kids and grand kids this season include indoor archery at a local proshop, fishing, going to the gun range, tying decorative knots in the evening and helping the kids with an online hunter or boating safety course.

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