They say the six best doctors are sunshine, water, rest and air, exercise and diet. I couldn’t agree more, and I truly believe if everyone could just spend an extra 30 minutes outside each day we would all be better off. Take the time to get a little sunshine, fresh air, exercise, bring a bottle of water and bond with your loved ones while doing something fun.
To that end, here are 15 ways to get your daily medicine!
1. Explore holes, caves around your home. So many things fascinate kids. Let them pick an interesting area that’s open to the public, and go exploring. If you need to find public land in your area, check out the HuntStand app. It has a layer that displays public land, landowner information and more. It also shows your location, as well as location of the borders—so you always know you are on the correct side.
2. Plinking with a .22 at spinning targets. Whether you’re a kid or an adult, shooting a .22 is just plain fun. Spinning targets makes it even better, and you can also add water balloons to the fun. We have a Silencer Central Banish 22 suppressor on our Winchester Wildcat, so its super quiet and good practice for all.
3. Archery. Many kids are participating in the National Archery in the Schools Program, so your children may be already interested in bows and shooting. Many communities have an archery park. If there is a local archery shop in your area, the staff can typically offer advice on good places to shoot, as well as help you get the correct gear. Another popular activity that has been popping up across the country is 3-D archery. This gives shooters a chance to walk courses and shoot in a variety of situations at some really cool targets.
4. Rifle Range Time. It’s never a good idea to wait until the last minute before fall hunting season to shoot your rifle. How’s this: On one of those nice summer evenings, break out the rifle and get in a little practice in. Shoot at your normal ranges, and then also see where your maximum effective range is. That way you understand the drop as well as the limitations of your equipment.
5. Pick Flowers. It doesn’t really matter if you’re picking a bouquet of dandelions, lilacs or wildflowers. Kids love picking flowers and love giving them even more. Bring them into your house, put them in a vase or deliver them to a neighbor, grandma or nursing home to brighten someone’s day.
6. Plant and Water Trees. Planting trees is a fun thing to do with the entire family and a great conversation starter about the importance of conservation. Each year we try to plant more and more fruit trees around our home. We always plant them in pairs and do our best to keep the deer from destroying them. Hopefully someday it will be a great attractant to the deer when the trees are big, and we can also eat the fruit from the tree. Once they’re planted we do our best to keep them watered, which is another fun thing to do as a family.
7. Turkey Hunting. If even you aren’t a regular turkey hunter, find someone who is and join in on the fun. You don’t have to shoot a turkey if you’re not comfortable doing so, but go out and get in on the action. Hearing a big Tom come strutting into your decoy while he’s spitting and drumming is such an amazing experience. Add a couple gobbles up close and you will have an experience you’ll never forget. Our season goes through the end of May, but always check with your local regulations for season dates and permit requirements.
8. Photograph Animals, Birds, Butterflies. I don’t know very much about birds but I absolutely love photographing them and so does my son, Jax. You can use a spotting scope with a phone scope, just your phone, a camera with a long lens, or even a kid’s camera like Jax has. A few years back I found the Merlin Bird ID app, which features more than 7,500 species. Simply upload the picture of the bird at which you’re looking, and it provides you all the details about the species—for free. They also have apps for butterflies, trees, and so much more. Not only can you teach your loved ones something, but you may learn a thing or two along the way as well!
9. Planting A Garden. We try to be as self-sufficient in our household as possible since most of our meat comes from wild game. Another great way to do this is to grow your own vegetables. There is something fun about watching them grow, keeping the weeds down, and then enjoying a meal full of items you harvested all on your own. Being self-sufficient is empowering and also very important for kids to understand. Knowing you can do it all on your own if necessary takes away any feeling of helplessness.
10. Fishing. In my opinion this is one of the very best summer activities you can do outdoors. Find a place where you can fish from a dock, shore or a boat … It doesn’t matter! If you’re unsure of where to go, ask for advice from your local gun shop, archery shop, bait store. Many towns also have kid-fishing ponds.
11. Ride Bike/Walks. Jax has a little motorized electric bike small enough for a toddler, a Stacyc, that he’s game to buzz around on anytime, anywhere. This helps him keep up if I want to go for a run, ride my bike, or just take a hike that is too far for his little legs.
12. Nature Scavenger Hunt. Create a list of 10 to 15 items you can find in nature and make it into a fun game. Kids get bored easily so instead of just going on a walk, add a scavenger hunt into the mix and have some fun with it!
13. Look for arrowheads, cool rocks. Although we may get more excited about finding arrowheads, kids love all sorts of rocks. I tell you this from experience! Get an old fishing tackle box and use it for their rock collection. It allows kids to sort them, take them around, and keeps them busy for hours not only looking for rocks, but organizing them.
14. Fly a Kite. As a kid I used to save up all my Kool-Aid points (for anyone who can remember you would cut off the points and save them up for prizes). I was able to purchase with my points a monster Kool-Aid kite and still remember how much fun that was. Kites are cheap fun entertainment that can be used at a variety of open locations. And even if it crashes, it’s not a super expensive learning experience.
15. Metal Detector. Using a metal detector can make any adventure more fun. Our kids received one for Easter years back and have found all sorts of coins and weird objects, and it even works to find lost arrows that may have missed their targets.