As you’ve seen from time to time on this blog we love car trips, and as we drive across the country, we’ve stopped by several National Parks. One of my favorite parts of the National Parks is the Junior Ranger badges. I have to admit, I may like them more than the kids, but it’s great to see how much they learn at each of the parks as they complete their Junior Ranger badges. Follow along as my kids earn their Junior Ranger badge at Mission San Antonio.
Stop by the Ranger Station and pick up your Junior Park Ranger book
Most of the national parks we’ve been to you have to ask for the junior ranger badge book. Once or twice I saw it just sitting on a stand along with the other pamphlets, but usually speaking you have to ask for it.
I use this as an opportunity to let my kids work on talking to adults. I remember growing up and always feeling nervous talking to adults (and yes I went to public school, so this is just a personality thing, not a HOMESCHOOLING thing), and I’ve made a point from an early age to have my kids answer and ask as many questions as they can.
Read the book
Before you head out to explore, take some time to see what’s in your Junior Park Ranger book. Some of the parks are very easy to get the junior park ranger badge done, for example, the Mission San Antonio and Chaco Canyon are relatively easy, but the Grand Canyon was difficult to get done and took planning. I think the bigger the park the more difficult the badge, but I can’t say for sure.
This time we had to break for lunch because I got lost on the way to the park, and we hadn’t packed a lunch, so we looked it over as we ate lunch and answered the questions we knew from our study of Texas history so far, and generally were amused.
Explore the National Park!
Now have fun exploring the parks, you as the Mom will have to keep an eye out for things you noticed they need to answer, but have fun. Climb on the stuff you can, pretend like you’re an adventurer from ages ago, and generally enjoy being outside.
Take the time to sit.
That’s one of my favorite things to do at National Parks, I like to just sit and enjoy the location, or if it’s a historical sight, I like to think about the people who lived there (Chaco Canyon was the most fun for that as we were trying to reconstruct ruins in our mind).
Be sworn in as a Junior National Park Ranger
This part always amuses me because the rangers try so hard to talk to the kids and ask questions, but the kids often by that point are tired and not wanting to talk. At the end of it all, they’re sworn in and given a badge to commerate it all.
Some more National Park fun!
- Junior Ranger Fun
- Astounded by Arches National Park (Eva has loads of posts about National Parks, she travels EVERYWHERE!)
- American Revolution National Parks
- 5 Things for Next Time I go to the Grand Canyon