The Great American Campout with Kids

The Great American Campout with Kids

Summer is the ideal time for students to get outside.  Without the time commitments of school, there are greater opportunities to step into nature and get some fresh air.  Sadly, children today spend half the time playing outside as their parents did when they were young.  There are many reasons for the reduction in time spent outdoors, ranging from parental concern for child safety, urban living and even the parents’ attitude towards nature.  But unfortunately, spending more time indoors can lead to a variety of health and developmental implications for children.  Instead of improving their balance, strength and problem solving, kids are spending increasingly more time being sedentary and looking at electronic screens.  This change in lifestyle over the generations is connected to rising rates of Type 2 diabetes and obesity in children.

Great American Campout with Kids 

What's a Family to Do? Go Camping, Of Course

Camping, whether in a remote forest or in your own backyard, allows families to take a break from electronics, the daily grind of work, errands and other responsibilities.  Anne Keisman of the Be Out There Campaign says that backyard camping offers “a way to slow down those busy family schedules, enjoy being together, and appreciate the simple joys only nature can deliver.”  It doesn’t have to be overwhelming or intimidating, either.  Camping can be as simple as sleeping outside under the stars, or as complex as endeavoring to take the family on a backpacking adventure. Either way, you will bond as a family, breathe some fresh air, and gain appreciation for the organisms that share your environment.

The National Wildlife Federation’s 13th annual Great American Campoutfeatures a generous incentive to pledge online to camp anytime and anywhere between May 20 and October 31, 2017.

If they reach their goal of 150,000 pledges, The National Wildlife Federation will donate 5,000 native trees to its Trees for Wildlife™ program! These new trees will be planted by pre-approved youth groups committed to planting and maintaining the trees to ensure that they will provide food and shelter for wildlife for many years to come.

Camping with Kids

Camping Activities to do with Kids

Nature Scavenger Hunt

There are SO many fun activities to do when you are camping with your kids.  Of course, it's fun to sit around the campfire and sip hot cocoa, but it's also exciting to see what kinds of adventures you can create together.  Here are some fun activities to do with your kids while you are camping.

 Build a maze using sticks

Camping Recipes to Make with Kids

Just because you are camping doesn't mean that your meals have to be limited to roasted hot dogs on sticks.  There are lots of healthy meals that you and the kids can prepare together, even in nature.  With a little bit of preparation at home, you can pack your cooler full of delicious food that is easy to make over the campfire.

Grilled pesto potatoes

Try these delicious recipes the next time you go camping:

 Skillet S'mores

Join the Great American Campout! It's FREE and EASY

The National Wildlife Federation’s website – – has a directory of public Great American Campout™ events, camping tips, lists of fun activities and recipes, sweepstakes rules and prizing information, and much more. Registration is free.

Campers are encouraged to take selfies of themselves camping (“Campies”) and submit them to Jellystone Park’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts using the hashtags #campie, #GreatAmericanCampout and #JellystonePark to share their experiences and create an extended community of participants year after year. 

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  • Michelle Stern
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