Great American Backyard Campout: Seven Things to Do After Dark

Great American Backyard Campout: Seven Things to Do After Dark
That day on which thousands of people across the nation pitch tents and roll out sleeping bags is almost here—National Wildlife Federation’s Great American Backyard Campout, slated this year for June 25.

Camping, even for just a night in a backyard, is a way to put children in touch with nature. A study in the 1990s found that people who grew up to be conservationists almost invariably had someone in their lives who introduced them to nature as a child.

Former president Jimmy Carter put it more eloquently: “It is good to realize that if love and peace can prevail on earth, and if we can teach our children to honor nature’s gifts, the joys and beauties of the outdoors will be here forever.” Introducing a child to the outdoors can create a commitment to nature that lasts a lifetime.

Some of you participating in this camping event may wonder what to do after nightfall. Here are seven activities that may keep you and the kids amused:

Build a Fire: But of course! If you are in an area that allows you to build a fire, do so. Let the kids help, collecting kindling and other wood, and show them how it is done, starting with the flaming of small twigs and fluff and building with larger pieces of wood. “The fire,” Henry David Thoreau once pointed out, “is the main comfort of the camp, whether in summer or winter, and is about as ample at…
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