Great American Backyard Campout – Nature Study Style

It’s a whole different world…your backyard at night.

I encourage you to open up a new level of nature study, done at night under the stars in combination with the Great American Backyard Campout!

Check the National Wildlife Federation website for dates and events in your local area: Great American Backyard Campout.

Watch an introductory video!
June 23, 2012 – The National Wildlife Federation is sponsoring the Great American Backyard Campout and you are invited. From their website,”Spend the night under the stars with National Wildlife Federation and take your family’s first step into a lifetime filled with healthy, outdoor fun.”

If you have been reluctant to try camping, this is an easy way to test it out with your family closer to home. You may just end up liking it! Who knows where you will take your tent next?

My boys put their tent on the back deck during the summer.

I know that sleeping outdoors can seem scary and unfamiliar but overcoming the fear of being outside at night is worth the effort. You will realize there are some amazing things going on between sunset and sunrise right in your own backyard!

Combine nature study with an overnight backyard campout 
and you will build family memories that last a lifetime.

Prepare with some nature study ideas from the Outdoor Hour Challenge!

Pick a challenge, read the pages in the Handbook of Nature Study, and then look for an opportunity to apply what you learned. Keep it fun and always, always, always follow your child’s lead if they find something they are interested in. You can follow up with a library book or a Google search in the morning.

Bring a few art supplies outdoors and your nature journal so you are prepared if you find something of interest. If you have a nature related storybook or a favorite outdoor adventure book, bring it out for some after dark reading with a flashlight.

More than anything else, be aware of your surroundings and use all your senses, when you can’t rely on your vision…listen, feel, and smell the nighttime in your backyard. Try to spend a few minutes just sitting quietly in the dark if your children are able and see what you notice. Even a few seconds of quiet is good for younger children.

Nature Study - Three Steps to a Better Experience
If you are new to nature study, you may wish to download and print out my free nature study guide:
How about a free printable notebook page?

As part of this great event, I am teaming up with five other bloggers to promote getting outside and having fun with your children. All of us have put together some exciting, informative, and easy ideas to get you started planning your own Great American Backyard Campout for this coming weekend.

The tips in these posts will apply to any camping you do with your children so make sure to bookmark, Pin, and promote these links! We even started a Camping With Kids Pinterest board for you to follow and glean even more ideas as the summer goes by. I know for my regular readers the list below includes a few new faces and I encourage you to click over and visit these awesome bloggers who take getting outdoors with their children seriously. Leave them a comment and let them know you popped over from the Handbook of Nature Study.

  1. Adventure Tykes – Melissa
  2. Go Explore Nature – Debi
  3. Hodgepodge – Tricia
  4. Spell Outloud – Maureen
  5. Tales of a Mountain Mama – Amelia



  1. This is surely a post to pin for all time. Printable, list of nature study ideas. Timeless! “Build family memories that last a lifetime.”

  2. FUN! We just went camping over Memorial Day!!!

  3. Camping out in your backyard really is an opportunity to learn what’s happening out there after dark – which is quite a lot. Great list of resources! Thanks for making this link-up happen, Barb!

  4. Great read! I have a post about that too. I enjoy getting out camping with the kids.

  5. Love the idea of using your other senses besides sight. Listening is a great one. So much more can be heard after the hustle and bustle of daytime life settles down.

    We camp a TON with our 3 yr old but haven’t done backyard camping yet. We will be in Grand Teton National Park for the campout. :)

    Have a great time!

  6. Hmmm…our HOA says no tents in the yard allowed. Maybe just one night would be ok.

  7. Melissa,
    We went to the Tetons last summer…glorious! Have fun camping!

    We regularly sleep just with our air mattress, blankets, and pillows on our back deck in the summer. If you don’t have bugs, that could be an alternative.

    Thanks everyone for all your nice comments. Hope you can camp out on 6/23!

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