This was possibly published in Omni, or some other magazine, about 1979.
A group of boys build a rocket ship from scrap in their backyard. They enter into it for playing, and when they get out they are in a very John Carter-ish version of Mars. They even think they see a green, four-armed giant warrior.
They come back to the rocket and return to Earth. One of them realizes he lost his penknife during the tour. They never comment on their experience, thinking it was just a dream.
Decades later, the boy who lost his penknife becomes the first astronaut to walk on the airless and dry real Mars. Inspecting the rocks, one brilliant object draws his attention. He retrieves it and realizes that it is the penknife that he lost when he was a child.