Going on a backyard campout with kids

These 6 activities will help make your close-to-home adventure really wild, plus build some life skills in children.

The first time Jackie Ostfeld took her kids camping, it was to a spot they knew well: their backyard.

“They had the best time of their life,” says Ostfeld, director of the Sierra Club’s Outdoors for All campaign and mother of two. “It was a really nice introduction and a really peaceful experience for us.”

Backyard camping can be the perfect precursor to bigger outdoor adventures; it can also be less stressful—and less expensive—than hauling gear and food out to faraway campsites, while still delivering all the benefits of being outside (plus indoor plumbing).

Those benefits include a stronger sense of environmental stewardship and a better ability to de-stress. But the benefits don’t stop there: Camping so

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