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Craving old-fashioned family fun? Then put away the video games and pitch a tent in your backyard for a night of analog activities under the stars. (Older kids -- tweens and up -- are probably ready for a real campsite, but children 7 and under may not be prepared to rough it.) By sticking close to home, your kids can feel safe and secure, be within walking distance of a bathroom, and still enjoy a wonderful family bonding experience. In fact, there's no reason to limit your guest list to family: A backyard campout also makes for a terrific sleepover party or birthday celebration.
The National Wildlife Federation hosts an annual Great American Backyard Campout. Register at backyardcampout.org to access a list of nearby spots if you want to camp en masse, but there's no need to wait. With our handy guide and Mother Nature's cooperation, you can enjoy a successful backyard campout any night you choose.
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