It’s time to unplug the kids and get them outside. The National Wildlife Federation is urging families to participate in the Great American Backyard Campout on Saturday, June 22.
The night out is a great way to reconnect with your kids and with nature, says Karoline Hurd, senior manager of special events for the federation.
“Statistics show the average kid spends seven hours a day ‘plugged in’ – and that’s frightening,” she says. The campout is “part of our Be Out There movement to get kids outdoors.”
Here’s the idea: Do a family campout in your back yard that night. Set up a tent, if you have one, and fire up the grill. Cook dinner outdoors (maybe even breakfast the next morning), do some stargazing, tell campfire stories, sing campfire songs and play games.
The website will give you lots of ideas. It also tells you how to overcome barriers. No back yard? Do it on a balcony or patio.
“Anyone can go out and look at the night sky,” Hurd says, “and just about everyone has squirrels!”
The website also has recipes for “campfire” foods – hot dogs and s’mores play a big role. You can print out song lyrics, stories to read or tell and much more.
If the weather threatens to be inclement, or if you have a prior commitment, you can do it on another night – the NWF is flexible. It just wants you to get outdoors sometime.
It’s FREE to register, and the federation would like you to do that so it knows how many people are participating – more than 180,000 families did so last year.
Even though the activity costs little, the payoff is big, Hurd says.
“We have had people come back to us and say that it was a great bonding experience, and they’re going to do it again. It makes a great memory.”
Photo by Katherine Stanfield, courtesy of National Wildlife Federation.