Summer vacation is right around the corner, and that means we are all going to have our hands full trying to entertain our little ones while school is out. And, what better way to keep your kids entertained without breaking the bank than a trip to some of the National Parks near you?
In 2016, the National Park Service is celebrating their milestone 100 years of service, and National Geographic has a whole line of books celebrating the National Parks. The National Park Service is made up of over 400 different locations and parks. Their employees work around the clock protecting the areas, educating patrons about them, and helping get our youngsters excited about the amazing gifts that nature has to offer.
My 7-year-old nephew, Jayden, is obsessed with nature, and anything outdoors related. I knew this summer we were going to have our hands full, and was looking for something to keep him busy while school was out of session. A trip to a few of our nearby National Parks would be the perfect activity for Jayden, seeing as how he loves animals and all things wildlife-related.
The official National Park Services website helped me find parks near us, so that we could start planning our trips for the summer. To get him excited for our trip, I gave Jayden four National Geographic books – all about the parks and what they have to offer. And, he has been gobbling them up!
The “National Geographic Kids National Parks Guide USA Centennial Edition” is nearly 200 pages long and packed full of guides of some of the greatest parks across the country. Not only does it provide information on all of the parks, but it helped Jayden find parks near us! As always, Nat Geo’s Park Guide is packed full of beautiful photos of landscape and animals. And, it even came with a checklist, so that Jayden knows what to pack on our trips this summer. He’s convinced that we are going to find a bear! Honestly, I am hoping that we strike out.
Yellowstone is probably one of the most well-known of the national parks (although there are actually 100’s of them), and the second book I gave to Jayden capitalizes on this awe-inspiring majestic treasure. “Buddy Bison’s Yellowstone Adventure” is an adorable children’s book with a cute story that pulls young readers in, all while educating them on what Yellowstone Park has to offer. It’s intended for children ages 4-8 years old, and Jayden had no problem reading it on his own!
The third National Geographic Kids book that was released in honor of the Parks’ 100 year anniversary is a super fun activity book. The “Funny Fill-In: My National Parks Adventure” not only educates kids on several National Parks and what they have to offer, but, I’m pretty sure it is also helping Jayden with his grammar. In every story there are blank spaces, and he fills in a verb, noun, adjective, etc, of his choosing to make reading even more fun. Jayden read me a hilarious story yesterday that he had filled in his own words to, about a pink moose!
And, I saved the best for last! This book from National Geographic Kids capitalizes on the Junior Park Ranger program, and Jayden is determined to become one now. Nat Geo’s “Junior Ranger Activity Book” is packed full of over 150 pages full of games, puzzles, quizzes, jokes, and other kid-friendly activities. Every page not only has games and other activities, but also manages to fit in some fun facts about various National Parks, and the animals that inhabit them.
Jayden’s goal this summer is to become a legitimate Junior Park Ranger – and I did some research on the National Park Services website, and got all of the information that we needed to make his dream come true. The majority of National Parks (aside from a few exceptions) have Junior Ranger Programs.
We already have Jayden signed up to participate in a program near us, and when he is done completing the activities at the park, he will receive a Junior Ranger patch and certificate!
If you are looking for something to keep your kids busy this summer, we highly recommend taking a family trip to a National Park near you. And, you can always get your kids excited and prepared for the experience by checking out National Geographic Kids new collection of National Parks books. Hey, you might even have an aspiring Junior Park Ranger on your hands!
Disclosure: I am part of the National Geographic Kids Insider program. I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.