Join other families all across the country stepping outside to go camping – whether out in their backyards or at a campground – as part of the Great American Campout. Explore the wonderful world of camping with young children either as a family, in your classroom, or as part of summer day camp!
Join the Great American Backyard Campout this summer and pitch a tent in your backyard. Play games, stargaze, and connect with each other and with nature. First time camping? Your backyard is a perfect place to start. It is familiar and close to bathrooms (and beds if needed!). Experienced campers? The backyard is still fun! Children love when the ordinary becomes extraordinary! Pitch a tent, build a campfire, and watch their eyes shine.
- New to camping? Check out these ‘Camping Basics‘ that include planning, meals, and more!
- Not sure what to do when you camp out? Check out the many camping activity suggestions from National Wildlife Federation.
- Looking for ways to minimize your environmental impact while camping? Enjoy the outdoors responsibly!
For the classroom or summer day camp:
Can’t take your class camping? That’s okay! You can go pretend “camping” in your schoolyard! Pitch a tent or tents, gather camping supplies, and go camping for the day. If you can, have a campfire and roast marshmallows, make s’mores or hobo packs, sit around and tell stories. If you can’t have a real fire, build a pretend one to sit around and share stories. Ask kids to share if they have ever gone camping. What did they do? Where did they sleep? What did they eat? Talk about what camping is. Provide backpacks, binoculars, fishing poles (no hooks), and other camping gear and activities. Let their imaginations take them on a wonderful adventure!
Backyard camping ideas (backyard and schoolyard!):
- Go on a scavenger hunt
- Sing campfire songs
- Watch for wildlife (what lives in your backyard? Schoolyard?)
- Gaze at the stars
- Watch the clouds
- Catch fireflies
- Make explorer walking sticks (cover stick with doubled-sided tape, so children can stick objects they find to it)