Summer is all about the kids. Finding new and creative ways to entertain them is easy. You need a little patience, planning, and preparation but the outcome is wonderful.
When we were kids, we would invent games or find silly simple things to play with. Rocks for skipping, sticks for carving, or logs for rolling. Bicycles were our wheels to wherever. Hiking was also a fun option wherever we trekked.
Here are some fun, educational, and interactive ways to occupy your kids.
FLAME ON Teach the kids how to build a fire. Sounds simple enough. Kids love fire but without a lighter, they are helpless. This fire building skill could save their lives. There are several ways to start a fire. For their first fire, allow them 2 matches and show them the basics. Tinder, kindling, and fire building. Flint and Steel is the most Kid Friendly way. Use a timer once they develop their skills. Later teach them friction fires and other techniques. Having a fun snack at the end adds to the fire fun. Now teach them how to properly put the fire out.
MOUNTAIN MAN TRAIL Create a trail with several stations. At each station, have a different challenge. Set these stations up ahead of time. I stash my possible at each station and use our packs to ring them back. Stations should reflect survival and hunter skills. Themes could be tracking, lashing, log crossing, snares, log rolling, axe and knife throwing, spear chucking, archery, water purification, catapult or trebuchet, tree or rock climbing, or… Create themes that reflect the history of the ecosystem you are in. Survival food, like jerky or pemmican, treats are a great way to end the trek.
SCAVENGER HUNT Create a list of things to find while on the hike. Suggestions are a round rock, certain leaf, so many pieces of trash, seashells, or simple things that are common to your area. Pick things that will not be killed or destroyed. Return the wild things to the area. Older kids can handle 20 or so list items. Little kids may only handle a dozen. Making teams keeps things lively. They also need a Grand Prize for the winning group. Maybe a sack full of candy or Moon Pies. Usually, the winners share with the rest of the crew.
SHOOTING TREK Create several stations where kids can shoot. These can range from sling shots, BB guns, Rubber Bands, NERF guns, Trebuchets, bows and arrows, or spitballs. Once you set the stations up, hike the kids to each shooting alley. Now teach the skills and then give the kids a challenge. So many hits at a certain range, knock over a can, or hit a target. When every kid has met the challenge, trek on to the next station.
CAMPFIRE BUFFET Plan a meal of several parts. Have baskets of secret ingredients, and let the kids pick a number. One group gets the main course, another gets the sides, a third gets the desserts. They must now problem solve to cook their part of the meal. Having some recipes helps or let the kids make them up. Monitor the preparation and keep the hygiene clean. Everyone gets to eat the Buffet and vote on their favorite selection. Have a prize for the winners.
These activities are fun, challenging, educational, historical, and exciting. The team building and problem solving is empowering to all.
Don’t be surprised if the kids ask for more fun activities. These are also fun when you pair up adults with kids. Mix them up so parents get different kids. You will be amazed at the great fun and learning that takes place.
For more Montana Grant, challenge him at www.montanagrantfishing.com.