Camp Stay-at-Home

The recession and Sept. 11 jitters have some parents choosing not to send kids away. Will the backyard do?

In homes across America, parents are tossing summer-camp applications into trash cans. "Last year I spent $2,000 to send my 6-year-old to day camp, and she couldn't bring a Popsicle into the pool area," says Pauline Izrailov of West Bloomfield, Mich. "This year I got a backyard wading pool for $11.95. My kids can splash in it, pee in it, eat cheeseburgers in it. They'll love it!"

After decades of herding kids to camp, some families are reconsidering it this year. The recession is a factor, as is the desire since Sept. 11 to keep kids near home. But there's also...

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