Five Ways to Live the Junior Ranger Life this Summer

School’s out for summer, but that doesn’t mean that the junior ranger in your life has to stop learning! We have you covered with five ways to help the not-so-junior rangers and junior rangers in your life make the most of summer whether you are hitting the road or enjoying a staycation.

1) Become a WebRanger

You never have to leave home to learn about a variety of National Park Service units, history, and science through this online program found on the NPS homepage. Interactive activities help learners better understand topics like human impact on habitats and military history. A patch can be earned with the completion of fifteen activities from each of the three difficulty levels.

2) Earn an Extracurricular Badge

There are several fun badges that you can earn from home by downloading the books from the NPS homepage and mailing them in or returning them to a participating park. We really enjoyed the Cave Scientist book and were able to turn them in at Jewel Cave National Monument last summer. There may or may not be some cool swag involved with mailing them to the address listed on the PDF form provided by the National Park Service. Just a heads up, there is no bat badge for the All About Bats book, but it was still really neat to learn all of the information.

3) Find Your Park in a Book

Older or more advanced readers might enjoy following the Landon family through the Mysteries in Our National Parks series. Authors Gloria Skurzynski and Alane Ferguson teamed up with National Geographic to help young readers learn about the main features of the parks and issues faced at each one. Yellowstone’s Wolf Stalker addresses the reintroduction of wolves to the park. Night of the Black Bear features Great Smoky Mountains’ struggles to protect resident bears from the dangers of human interaction via food waste. There are at least ten books in the series, so there is a good chance that you or your junior ranger can find a good park to explore.

Younger readers might enjoy books like Buddy Bison’s Yellowstone Adventure, The Great Smoky Mountain Salamander Ball, and Do Princesses and Super Heroes Hit the Trails.

4) Play a Game

Why not learn while playing?!?! We love Guess That Park from Jr. RangerLand and Jenga: National Parks Edition. Both of these games allow players to learn fun facts about the parks while embracing their competitive spirit.

5) Find Your Park

With over 400 National Park Service units, there really is something for everyone. We encourage you and your park squad to get out and EXPLORE, LEARN, and PROTECT!