HealthDay News (AP)
-- A simple campout in the backyard may be just what the doctor ordered to help break your kids from an endless cycle of TV, computers and video games.
That's one of the ways the National Wildlife Federation is promoting the evening of June 28 as the Great American Backyard Campout.
Children spend an average of 44 hours a week staring at electronic screens, according to research cited by the federation, and this disconnection from nature can contribute to a weaker immune system, greater dependency on attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder drugs, lost creativity and less self-sufficiency.
By experiencing one night with Mother Nature, even if it is only just beyond one's back door, the federation hopes to bring back inexpensive family fun and instill an interest in one's surroundings.
The Great American Backyard Campout helps celebrate June being designated "Great Outdoors Month" by President George Bush and more than half of America's governors. More than 42,000 people from around the nation took part in the 2007 event.
The irony is the National Wildlife Federation recommends checking its Web site, www.backyardcampout.org, before heading out. The site contains packing lists, recipes, nocturnal wildlife guides, exploration activities and nature guides. Online, you can even sign up and share your campout plans and experiences with others.
The National Wildlife Federation has more about the Great American Backyard Campout.
-- Kevin McKeever
SOURCE: National Wildlife Federation, news release, June 12, 2008