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The Call of the Backyard

Ideas from Generation Wild on How to Help Colorado Kids Spend More Time Outside

Article by Lisa Van Horne

Photography by Poppy & Co. by Kelsey Huffer

Originally published in Cherry Creek Lifestyle

Summertime is in full swing. For the parents and caregivers of kids, it’s a time that’s especially ripe for heading outside to enjoy Colorado’s gorgeous sunshine and sights, whether it’s from a park, a trail or the comfort of their own backyard. Prioritizing these outdoor ventures of play, activity and simple relaxation is a concept at the core of the Generation Wild mission.

Generation Wild blossomed out of Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), a program established in 1992 by voter approval that invests a portion of proceeds from the Colorado Lottery to preserve and enhance the natural beauty and splendor of the Centennial State. The organization has helped facilitate over 5,500 conservation and recreation projects across Colorado, including ventures that have benefitted state parks, trails, wildlife, rivers, open space and more.

In the summer of 2017, GOCO launched Generation Wild as part of its initiative to reconnect today’s generation of children to the outdoors—an ambitious yet crucial goal aimed at both improving youth well-being and helping to raise the next generation of responsible stewards and champions of nature.

Today, Generation Wild is a statewide program and campaign that is supported by hundreds of partners across Colorado. In an effort to inspire parents and caregivers to help the kids in their lives flourish through time spent outdoors, it consists of a bounty of research-driven information, resources and tips. The organization founds its suggestions in ample research, noting abundant benefits to kids’ time spent outside when it comes to their growth, development, fostering of creativity and mental, emotional and physical well-being. The organization also offers numerous strategies, suggestions and activity ideas for parents and caregivers to facilitate this outside time, including many “Backyard Hacks” that make prioritizing time spent outdoors as easy and approachable as possible.

Looking for a way to help the kids in your life enjoy more outdoor time this summer? Here is just one of Generation Wild’s suggestions for a fun, engaging activity that you can partake in right at home.

Generation Wild Backyard Hack

Bake Sun Oven S’mores


  • Shoebox
  • Foil
  • Tape
  • Plastic wrap
  • Graham crackers
  • Marshmallow
  • Chocolate bar


  • Step One: Line the inside of a shoebox with foil.
  • Step Two: Layer the chocolate bar and marshmallow on top of a graham cracker, put a graham cracker on top and place it in the box.
  • Step Three: Cover the top with plastic wrap and tape it down.
  • Step Four: Place the box in direct sunlight until the marshmallow and chocolate are melted. Baking time may vary.
  • Step Five: Remove the plastic wrap and chow down on your s’more.

For more outdoor activity ideas from Generation Wild, visit