So your kids have been pestering you to have a campout out in the backyard?  Mine have – and they are only 2 and 4.  My wife got them a ladybug tent a year ago.  My mother got them sleeping bags.  I have been promising to build a fire and roast marshmallows since April.  Pretty soon I will have to give in. 

Get Outside, Do "The Great American Campout"


But I don’t have to do it alone.  The National Wildlife Federation is promoting its annaul “Great American Backyard Campout”  ( again this year.  I don’t care if you live in Center City, Philadelphia or Grinnell, Iowa.  There is a Campout event being hosted in a park near year.  Visit the website I included above and get yourself registered.  After you sign up, a world of activities to do with your kids will be yours for the taking.  Do something different with your kids this summer.  Get outside with your family.  Camp. 

Camp – but start small.  Please don’t go to a box store and buy two backpacks with the intent of hitting the Appalachian Trail with your 7 year-old.  Build up to that kind of campout.  Start small with an experience you know will be successful.  Start in your backyard. 

Why is this so important?  And if you’re a concrete kid yourself who did not have a lot of exposure to the great outdoors, this is a legitimate question.  Last month I posted a blog on why your kids, and you, need the great outdoors (  Instead of rehashing that, I wanted to share a couple of points that the National Wildlife Federation included on their site promoting the Campout event. 

Beyond the obvious benefit of spending time with your kids, the National Wildlife Federation points to the following benefits: 

  1. Creativity:  Kids who spend time outdoors are more likely to use their imagination.
  2. Eyesight:  Kids who spend time outdoors have less nearsightedness
  3. Friendships:  Outdoor kids do better relating directly to one another
  4. Healthy:  More sun = more vitamin D.  More outdoor play (1 hour a day) = less obesity.  Greater health = better grades in school.  Good Stuff!

Do you need more convincing?  I hope not.  Campout in the backyard with your kids this summer.  Tell stories.  Roast marshmallows.  Look at stars.  Build a stronger family.  You’ll be happy that you did. 

We’ll see you at Camp! 


Be sure to visit Nathan’s camp, The South Mountain YMCA Camps, at