Outdoor Kids: “Forced” Family Fun

Forcing fun isn’t really possible, but when my kids are having trouble peeling themselves away from video games, I have been known to put my foot down and take them outside. After just a few minutes, they forget that I forced them to do it.

A friend of a fellow garden designer and writer, Starla J. King, coined the term “forced family fun,” and with that concept in my head this past weekend, I looked forward to putting it into practice when the time was right.

Check out this video of our “forced” family fun >>

Sure enough, late Sunday morning, my two boys, 5 and 7, were clinging to their cartoons. In conspiracy with my husband, we created a ballot of two choices for family time outside: fishing or renting a small boat, both of which were new to us. Each of the four of us submitted our anonymous ballot. Upon reading the small pieces of paper, we discovered that my husband and I picked something different. But, the boys each changed their ballots to choose both fishing and renting a boat.

We didn’t need to pack much for our spontaneous adventure: life jackets for the kids, a small backpack with retractable kids’ fishing rods that I bought from a big box retailer last summer, and a picnic lunch. And we didn’t have to go far. We found a public fishing lake just 10 minutes away through NWF’s Nature Find, where you just enter your zip code to find nearby parks.

Our lunchtime fishing trip turned into wonderful family time that lasted five hours. The excursion was such a hit, seeing dragonflies, fish, geese, and even a heron, that we all decided we would go fishing once a week from now on. Try your hand at forced family fun, and see just how fun it can be.

Rebecca P. Cohen is Founder and President of Rebecca Plants LLC, is a gardening and outdoor lifestyle company that inspires families to be outside and improve their well being. For her weekly online video series, “Get Out of the House” as well as Starla J. King’s guest blog series “Savoring Summer,” visit http://www.rebeccaplants.com.