published Friday, June 22nd, 2012

Great American Backyard Camp-out scheduled Saturday

S'mores, stars and stories should be in ample supply Saturday as families across the nation take part in the Great American Backyard Camp-out.

Sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation, the eighth annual event is designed to draw children away from their electronic devices and into the great outdoors, trading screen time for green time.

According to the NWF, studies show that outdoor time helps children grow lean and strong, enhances creativity and attention spans, decreases aggression and boosts classroom performance. A report on, "The Dirt on Dirt: How Getting Dirty Outdoors Benefits Kids," highlights how activities kids love, such as making mud pies, splashing in puddles and rolling down hillsides, are actually a grubby prescription for health and happiness.

The campout is a signature event of NWF's Be Out There movement, which has a goal of engaging 10 million kids in outdoor play over the next three years. Campers who register on the website can get information to make the camping experience more fun. It includes campfire recipes, nocturnal wildlife guide, campfire songs and games, and nature activities.

There's also the chance to go behind-the-scenes with celebrity naturalist David Mizejewski and some of his wildlife friends. One lucky camper and a guest will win a trip to an upcoming NWF TV appearance in New York or Los Angeles.

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