Fishing is a great way to get families outside together. Over the last 4 years, we’ve participated in “fish with a ranger,” we’ve spent an afternoon fishing at Inks Lake, and we’ve gone fishing at a catfish farm (to reduce the kids’ frustration from having little fishing success so far). This year, one of the dads in our group and one of the older boys volunteered to teach the group to fly fish.

I am always on the lookout for opportunities to let the older kids lead an activity (or help lead it). It gives them confidence and teaches them leadership skills. This lesson provided a perfect opportunity.

The first step of learning to fly fish is to learn to cast. This is most easily accomplished on land with a little fly without a hook. The group met at the park and the older kids leader-for-the-day told everyone about fly fishing, what it was, its history, and the basics of how to get started. He and one of the dads demonstrated casting and a few of the basics.

Then I divided the group into big and small kids and lined them up behind the longer pole and the shorter pole. They each took turns casting and aiming at hitting a spot inside of a hula hoop to catch a grass “fish.” The older boy who was “leader for the day” helped each of the bigger kids while the dad helped the smaller ones. Even the toddlers got to try out fly fishing with help. (They love to feel big and do what their older siblings and friends are doing – a huge advantage to a multi-age group.)

It was such a great learning experience for all involved to experience teaching other kids as well as seeing one of their peers act as the teacher. Some of the other older kids were inspired to help out the little ones too.

After a while (close to an hour), the kids drifted off to the playground and the parents tried their hands at fly fishing. As the sun was setting, I gathered everyone back up to help clean up and I reminded the kids to write about what they had learned in their journals.


 

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