6 Ways to Enjoy our National Parks with Kids – Kids to Parks Day

This post is sponsored by National Park Trust.

National Parks with Kids www.RadMomCoolKid.com

This Saturday, May 21st, is the 6th Annual Kids to Parks Day! To celebrate we are giving away a fun prize pack here on the blog and sharing 6 ways you can enjoy our beautiful National Parks with kids. You can participate this weekend by pledging to bring your child to a local, state, or national park on May 21st. Register here and you might win some great prizes!

6 Ways to Enjoy National Parks with Kids

1. Junior Ranger Program

Yellowstone Junior Rangers www.RadMomCoolKid.com

Many of the National Parks have Junior Ranger packets available. They are only a few dollars or sometimes free. They do an amazing job of helping kids get a broad experience of the park and learn some interesting facts and history of the park. Once the packet is complete the kids are sworn in as Junior Rangers and they receive a patch or pin for their efforts.

Yellowstone Junior Ranger Program www.RadMomCoolKid.com

TIP: The programs we have done (Yellowstone, Fort McHenry, Harper’s Ferry, and the National Mall) take a solid amount of time. Plan for a few hours, especially if you have several kids in different age ranges.

2. Journal – Write, Draw, Photo

I gave my kids blank notebooks before we visited Yellowstone so they could make notes about animals they saw, draw pictures about the day, or paste in pictures they took.

3. Picnic

There is nothing better than a picnic with a national park as the setting. Some parks have restaurants or convenience stores but we often pack a cooler with snacks and food to save some money. Be careful to clean up after yourself. Do not leave trash or food. Keep our parks and the animals that call them home safe and healthy! If you don’t see a trash can, keep your trash in your car or pocket until you do!!

4. Every Kid in a Park Program

Every Kid in a Park www.RadMomCoolKid.com

This is a great program for 4th graders across the United States. Each 4th grade student has access to a free National Park Pass. These passes allow the student and their family free access to the national parks and monuments for one year! If you have a current 4th grader or would like information about the program, check it out here.

5. License Plate Game

This is a really fun way to make the most of parks that have large parking lots or lots of road to drive. We write down all the states and leave a section for international vehicles. We check the states off as we see them. It is amazing how many different plates there are out there! It’s one of our favorite road trip games.

Looking for more games to play on the road? Check out our list of 15 here!

6. Explore

Explore Fort McHenry www.RadMomCoolKid.com

It has been my experience that kids and their imaginations don’t need much to have an amazing time no matter where they are! Each park has something special and unique – find it and experience it! It might be an amazing hike, colorful geysers, or enormous trees. Take it all in!

Fort McHenry Junior Ranger Program www.RadMomCoolKid.com

Today we are giving away two great books to one lucky reader:

Kids to Parks Day www.RadMomCoolKid.com

Buddy Bison’s Yellowstone Adventure

My girls LOVE the book about Buddy! We visited Yellowstone two summers ago and one of our best memories is getting stuck in a bison jam :) We were on our way to see Old Faithful one of the mornings and ended up stuck in a super long line of slow-moving cars. We had no idea what the hold up was. It took some time but eventually we found out what was causing all the traffic – BISON! They were everywhere. All over the road, the sides of the road, in the river along the road! There were several park rangers keeping them safe and helping the traffic maneuver the animals without disturbing them. It was so fun to see all the cute babies with their mamas and families. It was the best traffic jam I’ve ever been in and the kids often say, “Hey! Remember when we got bison jammed?!” I think that experience was more memorable than Old Faithful or any of the other amazing things we saw those few days!

National Geographics Kids National Parks Guide USA Centennial Edition

Noa has been eating up the National Parks Guide. He loves informational books like this and has been telling me the parks he would like to visit some day. When we plan road trips, large or small, I love finding national parks along the way. The parks are all so unique and it’s so fun to take some time to check them out, even if it’s just a few minutes or miles. This book has a map of the US with parks and monuments across the country.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

travel like a pro

travel like a pro:radmomcoolkid.com

Happy New Year’s, everyone!

How were your holidays?  I’m still kind of in a mourning period.  I’ll deal.  To take my mind off of the end of the season, I am channeling all of my excitement in to planning Lane and I’s vacation this next year. This will be our first baby-free vacation.  And hopefully our first uneventful trip as far as traveling goes too.  You know…. no lost bags, baby puking on you mid-air, husband missing flight types of events.  Anyways!  I’m hoping I’m not the only one dreaming of beaches and warm weather.   Here are some tips straight from the source to help you plan and prepare for your next trip!

First, treat yo’ self!  Go on trips.  For realsies. With careful planning, trips don’t have to cost a fortune.  Most airlines will lower their prices, or have sales on Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s.  Also, plan to travel midweek.  Not only will their airport be less crowded, but it will cost less.  Traveling on the weekend will cost you a pretty penny!

Save yo’ money! Pack your own food.  Seriously.  You can bring any of your normally-priced-delicious-not-airport-food with you.  As long as its not liquids.  Bring your own pillow and blanket.  Airplanes get cold, right?? Airlines will have pillows and blankets that you can buy, but they can be pricey.  Especially for something you will only use once. And that isn’t high quality. Also, don’t forget your own headset!

Pack wisely! Packing your carry-on is essential. You will want to have at least one change of clothes and your tooth brush with you.  If your bags get lost, you don’t want to be buying out a Walgreens trying to get fresh and clean.  Make sure all meds are also in your carry on.  Even if they are liquids.  TSA will allow any medication to be carried on.  Once again…. you don’t want your bags to get lost and you to be with out your meds.  And finally, NEVER pack valuables in your checked bags.  Airlines will not replace stolen or lost property. Also, be aware of the weight limits your airline might have. If you overpack like me, check out this post.  It will rock your world.

Be prepared! Most airlines will not provide accommodations if there is a weather delay.  They will also not pay for any damage done to your bags.  Check out your airlines Contract of Carry for more details. Make back up  plans, just in case.

For the kiddies!  Did you know you can check your stroller, car seat, or booster seat at no additional cost?  It’s considered an assistive device and will not count as one of your checked bags.  You can even check your stroller at the gate; that way you can use it to get your kiddo to the terminal and not have to worry about stowing it over head.  Also, breastmilk and formula can be carried on and passed through security.  Just make sure you let the TSA agent know that you have it.  As with yourself, make sure you pack extra clothes and supplies for your young’uns.  Nothing worse than having your luggage get lost with all your diapers with them.  Plus, if baby decides to have a blow out…. you do not want to be stuck with out an extra (or 5 extra) changes of clothes. Flights can be grueling, so remember to try and pack things to keep those kids busy.  Here are some great suggestions.  Road tripping it?  Check this out!

travel like a pro:radmomcoolkid.com

Be nice! Airline personal are there to help you any way they can. They have rules and guidelines that they have to follow.  They are not trying to bully you, but on the flip side don’t bully them to try and get your way.  They don’t like that.  Most airlines are willing to go the extra mile for customers who treat them with kindness.  If you do have an issue, try emailing the airline or calling and speaking directly with a supervisor, that way the conversation is easier to track.

I am so looking forward to traveling this year!

Do you have any fun trips planned?

Where are you going?

What tips do you have for me?

Can I come with  you? jk…… kinda……

Rad Mom Cool Kid

Rad Mom Cool Kid