Yes, unfortunately, it's here again. Time for the kids to go back to school. I hope you've had the opportunity to spend quality time with your children or grandchildren this summer. So far I've missed my plans to take my Grandson camping and fishing, which was a plan I had earlier this year. Maybe we'll still make it happen; a weekend away after he starts back to school.
I've written before about reminding our children/grandchildren about the time spend outdoors. This is a great time to do another reminder. Often younger children are asked to share with their classmates what they did over the summer. It should make your chest swell to find out they talked about the experiences they shared with you. (Now the following is best addressed to the men in my blogging audience. Why? It's because I realize the ladies who enjoy the outdoors as much as the men tend to be more practical in where, how, and why they shop. As you read further you will understand why the following is really geared towards the male of the species.)
As much as I don't like shopping, particularly for others, the preparation for school may be a welcome change in your shopping preferences. We know the kids need the pens, pencils, paper pads, notebooks, erasers, etc. that goes with returning to school. There will also likely be shopping for some new clothes, shoes, backpack, etc. This is where you may be able to get some unexpected enjoyment. Many of the items your kids or grandkids need can be found at your local sporting goods store. Large stores, like Academy , usually promote "back to school" offers for many of the items needed by the child returning back to school. This is a welcome change from the usual visits to the mall.
Take the opportunity to not only help your children/grandchildren shop for school, but "browse" the rest of the store to see the latest in hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, and general outdoor gear. By now the shelves are stocked with the latest and greatest outdoor gear for fall activities. This will likely give you a jump start on getting those most important items when you begin your fall outdoor activities. Here are a couple of tips to help you plan this "browsing" adventure:
1. Check your gear beforehand and make a list of must haves, like to have, wish to have. Don't forget to look at everything that you may involve yourself with this coming fall; different hunting seasons call for different items; shells for dove season, lure for deer, new blades for your arrows, cold weather gear for hunting or camping, fall fishing lures. Check it all and make a list.
2. Take the list with you when shopping at Academy or your local sporting goods store. If you see a hot deal, take advantage of it. Otherwise note the prices on the items you must have, like to have, or wish to have. I suspect you are likely planning on visiting upcoming fall "sportsman" or "hunting" shows in your area. ( I was always a sucker for these shows and never left one empty handed.) When you visit the show compare prices you've written down on your various lists. Are the items cheaper at the show or your local sporting goods store? This helps make the best decision on where to purchase the items you wish to add to your inventory. No sense spending more than you need to. If the sporting goods store is the best value, return at your earliest convenience and get what you need, and save money doing so. (Men are terribly impulsive, so it is a real challenge to keep the wallet in our pocket when we see something we want. This is where it might be valuable to take your spouse with you as she will encourage you to "wait" for a better deal.)
Okay, if you are following this advice, you have just successfully assisted in completing the shopping needs for your children/grandchildren for their successful return to school. You have given them a reminder to not forget the experiences you shared with them during the summer school break, and you have a good handle on where the best deal is for you to get your outdoor activities inventory to a level that will support you through the fall and winter. Pretty simple, right? Takes the edge out of the thought of "shopping", and prepares you for what is inevitable: fall outdoors. Have fun.