Get your friends and family outdoors this year. Use these ideas to make this the best summer ever!
What is there to do during the dog days of summer when the fish stop biting and dove season is months away? Why not use this time of year to expose neighbors, friends, and family to the outdoor lifestyle? With a little planning, you can make this the best summer ever.
1. The BBQ
You will probably need your spouse to help, but host a big backyard party.
Invite neighbors, friends, and family from outside your regular circle. To keep with the outdoor living theme, use fruit and vegetables from your garden or local farmers market. Pull ground venison out of the freezer for the burgers. All this seems like an average meal to many of us, but so many of our neighbors, friends, and family have no idea that the food mother nature provides can be so good.
If you have space, set up a few 3D or block targets in the yard. Make sure you and a couple of buddies bring a bow and arrows to take few shots. You will be surprised how much interest that shooting a few arrows will get. By just exposing a few neighbors to archery, you could win someone to archery or hunting. Of course, you should use a little common sense when setting up the range regarding safety.
You can end the day with homemade ice cream topped with fresh fruit like peaches or strawberries. There is nothing better, and many of our friends, neighbors, and family have never had it. It may be a little extra work, but it will put a great end to a fun Saturday. You will be surprised how many people will appreciate your efforts and your family will remember it forever.
2. The Swimmin' Hole
Load the family up and head to the local swimming hole.
It can be lake or pond, but you will want areas to swim, fish, and boat. Start the morning off fishing. Make sure it's not about you catching fish, but try to help the wife and kids enjoy fishing. There is always time to for serious fishing later, make this about them. You will be shocked at the response you get when you're actually helping them fish. Keep it active and fun; it's not about how many fish you catch, but how much fun it is.
As the temperature warms up and the fishing cools off, load everyone in a canoe, johnboat, or kayak. Remind everyone about water safety and wear life vests, but get out on the water and have fun. How long has it been since you navigated a boat with just a couple oars? Keep it fun and do not turn it into an Olympic event, just enjoy showing the family how to stay on top of the water.
When you are tired of rowing, jump in the water for a nice refreshing swim. Bring an inner tube or floats to relax on. Take this time to declare a water gun fight, parents versus the kids. Leave work at work on this day, and be ten years old for a few hours. Your children never knew you could be so fun. Who knows, you may get to shoot your spouse with a water gun a time or two.
When you are all dried off, start a camp fire the old fashioned way. Use a flint and stone or even a couple sticks rubbed together. It will be fun for everyone to try, but keep a box of matches for a back-up. Remind everyone how to build a fire properly and reinforce fire safety along the way. After the fire is going, surprise everyone with the ingredients to make smores. There is nothing better at the lake and nothing more fun.
3. The County Fair
Load everyone up and head out early enough to see the food entries. Explain how canning vegetables can be a fun and rewarding way to save money. Join in on an eating contest. If you are like me, you may want to enter more than one contest. Let the family try a few foods for the first time; you never know when youngest will decide green beans are not that bad.
When you have had your fill, head over to the show barns. Don't speed through the barns, but take your time and let the kids ask questions. Let the kids see what is needed to prepare an animal for judging. They will enjoy seeing the animal bathed, groomed, and in the strutting around the judging arena. Encourage them to pick a favorite and see if they win.
Of course, if you are at the county fair you need to ride a few rides. This summer even you should ride a few rides. It may not be your cup of tea, but your kids will remember riding the Zipper with mom and dad a lot longer than the last score they made on the video game. Try to see the fair through the eyes of your kid. You will be surprised how a backyard picnic, a day at the swimming hole, and county fair can make this the best summer ever.