We’re celebrating the Great American Backyard Campout all week, with recipes, ideas, locations for camping beyond your backyard, and more. First, let’s get familiar with the Great American Backyard Campout.
Great America Backyard Campout – Every summer, National Wildlife Federation leads the Great American Backyard Campout, a nationwide event that gets kids outside, camping in their backyards, and enjoying nature with their families. In conjunction with Great Outdoors Month, the annual event encourages people of all ages to camp in their backyards, neighborhoods, parks and campgrounds, as a simple way to reconnect with nature! Reconnecting kids with the outdoors is so important because kids today spend twice as much time indoors as their parents did, missing out on the simple pleasures and lasting mental and physical benefits of nature.
National Wildlife Federation provides everything you need to head out into the great outdoors. The Campout website has packing lists, recipes, nocturnal wildlife guides, exploration activities, nature games, and more. For more information, please go to: www.backyardcampout.org.
If you are interested in camping, but would rather venture out beyond the backyard, we have a list of 52 of the Best campgrounds around North Georgia. Any place you enjoy that didn’t make our list?
Looking for some camping tips? There are a plethora of great tips, tricks, and nuggets of information on the web. I’m constantly amazed at the cool camping article I come across. I’ve compiled them for you on Pinterest. Hope you’ll check out these Pinterst Boards, and follow up while you’re there. I add to and update them regularly!
- Everything Camping
- Camping with Kids
- Campfire Recipes
- Camping Gear for the Family
- Family Camping Tips and Tricks
- Camping with Kids II
Georgia State Parks are wonderful places to camp with the family. Even if you aren’t the camping type, you can still enjoy an evening (or two) in these beloved locations around the state by staying in a cottage in the park. My boys and I have been visiting at least one new park each month this year. You can follow our journey on my Georgia State Parks page, where I include links to all our reviews on both the park we visit and the cottage in which we stay!
So, you’ve decided to go camping – the backyard or elsewhere – and no you are wondering what to do with all that “family time.” Here are some Nocturnal wildlife-watching activity ideas from the National Wildlife Federation:
Nocturnal wildlife-watching is an activity that will keep the family immensely entertained without the use of phones or other electronics. Once the sun sets, a new array of wildlife emerges to explore America’s backyards. To help with your campout, here are some fun wildlife watching tips for observing amazing nocturnal wildlife like owls, foxes, and moths.
- Pick areas where night-flying insects are abundant, such as over water, or near flood lights and street lights. Light and water attract the insects that certain animals feed on at night. Here are five common nocturnal wildlife species to watch for.
- Get your binoculars, bird book, and some flashlights and go out in the woods at night to search for owls. Owls are nocturnal, so the best time to look for them is at night.
- Watch for bats at sunset. At sunset, bats come out to look for mosquitoes and other bugs to eat. They like to fly over open areas, often over water. To help increase your chances of seeing bats, build or buy a bat house.
- Go mothing. Put out fruit at a simple tray feeder or smear it on a tree in the late afternoon or early in the night. At nighttime, check the feeders for moth activity.
- Observe bugs at night by hanging a bed sheet in the backyard and shine a white light directly on it. Insects are a big part of the nighttime backyard show. Depending on the season, the sounds of crickets, cicadas and katydids may be so loud that they drown out other woodland sounds. Fireflies can also be spotted flashing their mating lights, and moths of all sizes are attracted to patio or spotlights in the warm weather.
- Use your ears; if you hear birds, frogs, or mammals calling, slowly walk towards those sounds for a better chance of seeing them. Always remember to keep a respectable distance from the birds and mammals you are viewing.
National Wildlife Federation reported that there are five primary reasons that we don’t get outside:
- Not enough time
- Too many bugs
- Too hot/ Too cold
- Lack of somewhere to go
- Allergy problems
What about you? I am a firm believer that we find time for the things in our life that matter most to us. Being outside might not be a priority for you, but I know that your children’s health is a priority. Studies have told us time and again that being outdoors does wonders for people’s health – both their physical health and their mental health. I want to challenge you to be the example for your kiddos. Take them outside everyday, if even for a small amount of time. Rebecca Cohen is not affiliated with my blog, she is not a sponsor. She doesn’t even know I exist. But I want to tell you about her book, 15 Minutes Outside that radically changed my life.
I have always known that being outdoors made me more happy, it made the kids happy, etc. But I couldn’t do it. I just did not feel motivated. Then, I found this book and was determined to try. It offers an idea each day about how to play with your kids outside, in the yard or at a nearby park. (Wow – what a great idea for a blog – especially if it were about things in the Atlanta area….LOL) I remember that the first activity was to use sticks to build a race car path (I’m not sure that was the exact activity – it was the interpretation I made to fit my son, who was two at the time.) I did not want to go out. But, I lugged our pale and PJ-dressed bodies over near the tree in the front yard. We piled sticks together and started zooming cars around the path. We had the best time! He was happy. I was energized. It worked – immediately. He would not have gone out without my encouragement, though. I’m begging you – be the example. Buy this book, call a friend, do whatever it takes to make a commitment to get outside. It’s for their health – and yours.
As for #2 and 4 – Our contest can help with that….we’re giving away a ThermaCELL appliance and lamp (I LOVE mine – have used it for years now,) as well as tickets to Stone Mountain Park and an annual pass to Georgia State Parks.
Did you enjoy our Great American Backyard Campout week? I did! Don’t wait until next year to do it again! I thought I would end the week with some of my favorite outdoor blogs, with the hope that they get you in the spirit, and keep you there all year ’round!
- Long Live Learning
- Val in Real Life
- Chasqui Mom
- A Little Campy
- Wild Tales of…
- Go Explore Nature
- Children and Nature Network
- Atlanta Trails
- Hiking Atlanta