Berkeley, California (EastBayDaily) — How do you get a kid excited about the outdoors? How do you compete with an increasingly isolating, electronic world? With summer break on the horizon—and childhood obesity statistics continuing to climb—it’s more important than ever to get kids moving and inspire them with a love of the outdoors from an early age.
Just in time to plan several fun and inspiring outdoor adventures, Tom Stienstra—the nation’s top-selling outdoor guidebook expert, and the author of Moon California Hiking and Moon California Fishing—offers his tips for getting kids hooked on the outdoors:
1. Guarantee Some Action: Children should be taken on trips to places where there is a guarantee of action, not solitude. Hike where wildlife is plentiful or fish at a small pond loaded with bluegill.
2. Enthusiasm is Contagious: If an adult is not excited about an adventure, they can’t expect a kid to be. Show a genuine zest for the outdoors; point out everything like it’s the first time it’s been seen.
3. Demonstration is Key: Always demonstrate how to do something, whether gathering sticks for a campfire or cleaning a trout. Never tell. Always show.
4. Let Kids be Kids: Allow the adventure to happen, rather than trying to force it to conform to a preconceived plan. Let them get sidetracked watching pollywogs, chasing butterflies, or sneaking up on chipmunks.
5. Be Grateful and Inquisitive: Remember to say “Thank you,” and “What do you think?” Sometimes the most important words of all are: “I am proud of you.”
Ready to go on some kid-friendly hiking and fishing trips in California? Stienstra also has some suggestions for the best places to hike and teach kids to fish:
1. Iron Gate Reservoir/Copco Lake: With trout, crappie, bass, and channel car, children will have fun and catch a feast at this exciting, kid-friendly fishing spot.
2. Año Nuevo Trail at Año Nuevo State Reserve: Home to the largest breeding colony of northern elephant seals, this hike (and the viewing area it takes you to) is fun for all ages.
3. Lake Berryessa: Scads of bass, a trophy-trout fishery, salmon, and several resort areas make this lake the Bay Area’s most popular family-friendly vacationland and fishing destination.
4. Cabrillo Tide Pools: Kids love tide pools, and the ones at Cabrillo National Monument are some of the best in Southern California. This 1-mile hike is perfect for families.
5. Santa Ana River Lakes: Though an access/fishing fee is charged, there are three beautiful fishing lakes to enjoy here, including a children’s fishing pond.
For more information on Moon California Hiking or Moon California Fishing, visit the Moon Travel Guides website.
About Moon Outdoors Moon Outdoors guidebooks (formerly Foghorn Outdoors) provide adventure travelers, day hikers, cross-country RV campers, and weekend campers with well-researched information, trusted advice, insider tips, and all of the necessary tools to head outdoors. Experts on recreation and adventure, Moon Outdoors authors make camping, hiking, fishing, and RV campers a cinch. Visit our website at: http://www.moon.com. Handbooks | Metro | Outdoors | Living Abroad | Spotlight
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