I remember the days when I was a kid, when we would play kick the can or hide and go seek. Being outdoors as a kid, was a chance to play with friends and be creative at the same time during our play and that’s when my Dad and I would go fishing on a weekly basis.

Boy have those times changed. Being outdoors has been replaced with smart phones, computers, & TV. When I was a kid, it was a treat to watch TV and usually it was on Saturday mornings when cartoons were awesome and not like some of the programs that are shown today.

So, what’s happening?

Kids today are losing interest in the what the outdoors has to offer. Not all, but I don’t see as many out anymore. Here are a few things that I think could help get those young minds interested again.

If you’re a young family or are going to start a family, get them started right away.

But don’t push it to where they won’t like it. What do I mean? Well, make it a fun day and get them on a bite that they can catch fish and a good bite is simple, panfish.

Teach them the basics like casting, setting the hook, and taking the fish off the hook.

Keep them interested at all times and if your kids say they are done…then it is time to go, don’t push them to continue.

By keeping the fishing trips short and letting them set the tone of the day, you will be successful.

Remember, it’s about your kids having fun and you want to keep it that way. Also, when your outdoor trip is done, take them to Dairy Queen for ice cream to top the day off.

Your goal is to keep them wanting to go back out fishing again,

or even on hunting trips as well. We don’t want to forget about hunting. Short outings apply to both. When I have been out fishing, and this happened not too long ago, I watched and heard a father and his two sons fishing, and it wasn’t exactly pleasant to hear. Getting down and lecturing his sons for missing a fish and how to pay attention to the line and bobber and this happened until one of the sons started to cry. This is an example how to discourage our kids from being in the outdoors.

Let them fish and let them make mistakes, it happens!

This is about them for 2-3 hours or however long they want to, you can always go out later or another time if you want to fish.

I remember when I was a kid and my Dad asked if I wanted to head out to fish, there was no hesitation on my part. I wanted to go because my Dad made it a challenge and fun to fish and the best part was, he always had a good bite happening when we were out.

At times, I just sat and watched him fish, which was fun as well, but I know that I always asked questions about the details of fishing. Today we need to take that same approach and just have fun doing it.

What type of gear should you get?

Don’t go all out and buy the best rod and reel, but you can get them a basic setup. A good setup is a Zebco rod and reel, which it is very simple for your kids to use. Click the button and cast.

If they master that setup, then move them to a spinning reel and so on from that. They will feel that they are in control, plus it keeps them busy at the same time. Teach them and allow your kids to make mistakes because when we were kids, we made them and that’s how we learned.

The last 2 years, I’ve been filming for “Fishing the Midwest TV Show” with Bob Jensen and Mike Frisch and Mike has a program called “School of Fish”. This is an awesome program to get the kids to learn the fundamentals of fishing from the classes that Mike teaches.

Every year, from all the students that take the “School of Fish Class”, their names go into a hat and 2 kids are picked to not only fish but are on a segment of the TV show. Kids need to get involved in these types of programs, in conjunction with fishing with their parents.

I watch the kids as I’m filming and see how they get excited and how quickly they pick up the sport. Again, the key here is getting them on a good bite where they are having fun. With the advancement of social media and technology, it’s important to get those kids outdoors.

Get your kids to be kids again and get the imagination juices flowing, instead of being on their smart phones and computers. Not saying that technology is bad, but it has caused a shift in the interest in the outdoors.

So, let’s review. Keep your outdoors adventures short, keep them fun, and let your kids experience the joys of fishing, hunting, or whatever outdoor activity that interests them.

Until next time, be safe and always include a kid in your next outdoor adventure.