Education Featured Printables

Business Ideas for Kids Series – Writing a Business Plan

business plan worksheet kidsWe are getting ready for summer and you know what that means around these parts? We start thinking about business ideas for kids and strategically planning with them what they want to do to flex their young entrepreneurial muscles.

We wanted to dive a little deeper with them this year then we have the last couple, so I created a business plan worksheet for them. Honestly, I don’t care if they want to sell water for the rest of their lives, I just want them to grow and get better at it every year.

Come to think of it, the water business may be the wave of the future.  I can see it now — Headline: The Water Boys buy majority rights to Aquafina.

Stranger things have happened!

Our boys have not yet nailed down exactly what they want to do this summer regarding business, but when they do they’ll have this handy Business Plan Worksheet ready and waiting for them!

In the meantime, if your kid’s have a big idea, it’s here for them to benefit from as well!  The only thing I ask from you is that you share it on FB, Pinterest, or with your friends in some way.  Let’s get the word out so as many children can benefit from this resource as possible!

business plan for kids
[Click to Print]

I hope this business plan worksheet helps your kids (and mine) dissect some of their ideas and come out with a more concise, profitable plan.

I know they are young, but kids have a unique ability to quickly gain new skills and proficiency.  If a simple practice like this will help them understand and see their budding business in new ways, and help them think outside of the box, I’m in!

If you use this worksheet, make sure to let me know how it goes. Also, if there is an important component to the plan that I missed, please let me know!
Emily Oak

Education Featured

Teaching Kids the Value of Hard Work & Finding Their Passion

jobs for kids

As you know from our love for all things entrepreneurial, we’re always keen on finding tasks or jobs for kids to do.  Even though our kids are young, we want them to grow up to be hard working, determined, creative, self-sufficient, happy individuals.  

Of course, working hard is a lot easier to do if you find that thing you love to do – and do that.  But how in the heck do we as parents help them find the things they’re passionate about?  


Get to Work

Our good friend bought a house recently and since he’s taking pruning to a whole new level we thought we’d jump in there and let him teach us a thing or two about tree trimming.  We love when our friends or family have skills outside of our wheelhouse so they can fill in the gaps so to speak.

teaching kids work ethic jobs for kidsJudah is so cute with this machete.  He just wants to let the branches have it.  I love how determined he is when he sets his mind to something.  In this case, it didn’t matter how long it was going to take him to chop that branch.  It was happening.  He was trash talking it too!

Jobs for Kids?  Isn’t there Some Law Against Child Labor?

If you want to boost your kids’ self-image and give them a sense of pride and purpose, PUT THEM TO WORK!  There is something so gratifying about working with your hands and seeing real progress come from hard work.  I’m not talking cracking the whip and stealing away their play time here – I’m saying that putting them in environments where they can produce something tangible with their own hands does something for the soul.

Maybe it’s a bit of a leap to see this little tree trimming exercise as something that’s going to propel them into a successful future.  But that’s just the thing.  We don’t know what “the thing” will be for each of them, so we try all kinds of things and eventually someTHING will stick.  In the meantime, they become a little more well-rounded and gather skills they can use down the line.

If nothing else, their spouses will think they are super hot when they are out there landscaping their own yards in a couple decades!

bonfireRoasting hot dogs and marshmallows over the fire was a great way to end a hard days work for the kids.  A sweet reward after flexing some serious muscle.  They are growing up too fast!

So next time you’re pruning the bushes, slow down, take the extra time to show them proper technique, and explain how cutting certain branches makes the whole tree healthier.   Then give them the shears and see what happens.

Share your knowledge with them and remember that baby steps are the most exciting ones.

Who knows, maybe they’ll start their own business, landscaping, in junior high school and be one step closer to understanding what it takes to run a profitable company.

Until then, join me in looking for every opportunity to expose our kids to the expertise of those right in front of us – our family and friends.  It’s easy, fun, and super beneficial.  And if you haven’t read it yet, check out our top 15 business ideas for kids to get your kids thinking about ways they can be junior entrepreneurs RIGHT NOW!

Emily Eck Home Sweet Road

Education Featured Our Travels

An Unusual Classroom at the Pacific Science Center

What you will find in the bathrooms at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle may make your stomach turn, but I assure you, the kids will learn a thing or two!  You are there to expand your knowledge after all and the folks at the education center came up with a disgusting lesson about the human body – and it’s waste – that is guaranteed to make your kids take notice. They may love it, they may hate it – but chances are they won’t easily forget it!

pacific science center

seattle science center

pacific science center
seattle science center with kids
pacific science center education

And there you have it.  The reason every boy should visit the Pacific Science Center pronto!

I am not sure what it is in the hardwiring of every boy that innately responds to potty jokes and bathroom humor but it is inescapable.  So, I guess, taking them to learn a thing or two in the Center’s bathrooms is one way for us moms to embrace it.  You know I am a big fan of RoadSchooling and taking every opportunity to make learning fun for my little tribe so I was all for it.  You gotta love boys!  The things that excite them and get them talking.

If you are looking for more fun and unusual things to do with kids in or around Seattle, check out and follow my Seattle Pinterest Board!

Emily Eck Home Sweet Road

Education Featured

Teaching Kids the Value of Diversity and Cultural Difference

teaching kids about diversity

I grew up in a home where diversity was celebrated and cultural differences were enjoyed.  From a young age we welcomed exchange students from different parts of the world into our home and learned about their religion, families, cultures, and favorite foods.

Some of them stayed for just a few days and some stayed for several months.

A handful of them became family.

Living in the culturally diverse Pacific Northwest, we had neighbors from the Philippines, Poland, Fiji, and China just to name a few.  I have fond memories of rolling sushi for the first time as a young child, trying kim-chee, and roasting a pig underground in the neighbor’s front yard so the entire block could party Polynesian style – with a traditional luau!

The appreciation for diversity is something we want our kids to grow up with but I have found that nurturing it can be tricky because with political correctness at an all time high, it’s easy to slide into the DON’T ASK, JUST SMILE crowd.

The fear of causing offense entices us to shut down and draw back.  Instead of genuinely showing interest in those who are different than us by engaging with them and learning about what makes their backgrounds and cultures so special and rich, we just pretend we are all alike.

The problem with that is that WE ARE NOT ALL ALIKE.

And that is a good thing!

Depending on where you live and who you talk to, the word DIVERSITY can evoke a range of emotions and have different connotations, but according the Google, diversity simply means:

  • The state of being diverse; variety.
  • A range of different things.

The problem with joining the DAJS (Don’t Ask Just Smile) tribe is that while you won’t offend anyone, you won’t get to know them either.  It doesn’t lend to forging friendships and creating bonds.   What you end up with is a society that lives amicably with each other but are always at an arms length.

Sounds like a loveless marriage to me.   Ugh.

One of this things David and I love so much about traveling with our kids is the exposure they get to various cultures and the opportunities we readily come across to teach them about diversity.

But the truth is you don’t have to travel much further than your front door to engage with those who are different than you.

Just last week David’s brave cousin, Amy, took the boys to a Harlem Globetrotters game.  She and a friend, I have never met, were going and had a few extra tickets.  When her friend walked in the door, I was taken aback for a split second by her bright pink short hair and “stoner” clothing.

In five minutes I learned that she was unemployed, planning on legally changing her name to “Gypsy”, and a mover and a shaker in Pink’s fan club.  And I admit it…..I felt uncomfortable for a minute.

As I engaged with her in conversation for a few brief moments, I couldn’t help but notice the warmth of her smile and kindness in her eyes.

When the boys came home I asked them how it went and they just could not have spoken more highly of Gypsy.  “Mom, Gypsy is so cool, she knows a lot about computers and taught me stuff about Microsoft that I didn’t even know about!”  They weren’t afraid of this girl who had funny hair and unusual clothes.  They didn’t judge her like I did.  All they saw was a sweet, kind, smart, girl who had something in common with them.

They liked her and learned something from her.

It was a nice little reminder for me that even if you love to celebrate difference and diversity, sometimes you have to fight against the urge to draw back.

Whether we like it or not our children’s world view is formed out of ours.  They hear what we say, glean what we believe and emulate who we are to a great measure.  We are granted the awesome opportunity to teach them the values we hold dear.

And every once in a while they unknowingly teach us a thing or two by reminding us of our core beliefs.  

Those are proud moments indeed.

I plan on writing more specifically on teaching kids about diversity in fun ways, but if you want more now – this is a great article on diversity to get you started.  In the meantime, don’t let political correctness scare you and your kids away from engaging with and creating meaningful ties with those who are different from you.  At the end of the day, we may be quite diverse, but we all have the same basic needs – to be seen, understood, appreciated, and respected – pink hair and all!

Emily Eck Home Sweet Road







Education Featured

Top 15 Business Ideas and Ways for Kids to Make Money

ways for kids to make moneyI put together this list of Top 15 Business Ideas and ways for kids to make money to help you keep your kids busy, engaged, and learning skills that will benefit them for a lifetime.

I think entreprenuership is a great way to help them think outside of the box and develop critical thinking and problem solving skills early on.  Whether your kids grow up to be wildly successful businessmen or businesswomen or not, setting the stage for them to gain core business competencies will help them succeed in whatever they choose to do in the future.

A few of these skills include:

  • Understanding the value of marketing
  • Thinking outside of the box
  • Gaining confidence in relating and partnering with others
  • Overcoming rejection
  • Offering the customer value
  • Troubleshooting
  • The importance of following through & keeping your word

It seems like more and more people are starting their own small businesses — whether part-time or full-time —  as a way to provide another stream of income for their families, offset rising costs, and to be more self reliant.  There is no reason our kids can’t join us in the journey!

As with any acquired skill, there is a learning curve.  I wrote about how increasing the failure rate NOW will position them for success sooner — LATER.  The more exposure to business and lessons our children learn from early entrepreneurship, the better.  So lets get to it!

Top 15 Business Ideas for Kids:

  1. Salesman– Selling cold water, lemonade, or candy at nearby parks or community events.  Our boys’ first business was affectionately called the “Water Boys”.
  2. Crafter– Sell homemade items at community events or on Etsy.  (minors must sell under an adult on Etsy as you have to be 18 or older to have your own account.)
  3. Dog Walker
  4. Lawn Mower/ Landscaping/ Yard Work
  5. Pet Sitter
  6. Baby Sitter
  7. Window Washer
  8. Tutor for younger children
  9. Paper Boy/Girl
  10. Car Cleaner/ Detailer
  11. House Cleaner/ Organizer
  12. Design & Produce Custom Printed T-Shirts, Bags, etc.
  13. Holiday Help — Decorating, Wrapping, etc.
  14. Providing Packing & Moving Help
  15. Garage Sale Organizing & Assistance

I hope this list of ways for kids to make money serves as an inspirational resource for you and your kids as you discuss with them the possibilities of starting their very own “kid business!”  Another useful resource for you is the FREE Kid’s Business Plan Worksheet that I recently added.

Do you have your own personal experience with this or do you have any great ideas that aren’t included in the list?  I value your feedback and would love to hear your tips and ideas in the comments below!

Emily Eck

Education Featured

Education — Getting the Most out of the Junior Ranger Program

Junior Ranger TipsIn Junior Ranger Program {Part 1} of our Education Series, I told you about why I geek out over the fun park program that is absolutely FREE and how much our kids love it.   I mean, not only do they get to explore fun things like volcanoes, underground caves, and the open wilderness, but they get super cool badges to show off too!   If you have no idea about what I’m talking about regarding this resource you may want to go read {Part 1} before you move on.

One way we found to help our boys get the most out of each new place and opportunity for greater education was by doing a little prep beforehand.

There is so much to learn that it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the information bombarding you when they get there.  If you have time,  make sure to do some research prior to discovering the deep forests or ferociously looking over dinosaur bones.  Depending on which park you go to, your child will be exposed to something special to that region.

So let’s look at an example on how this could work:

Let’s say you are planning a visit to The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park. Here your Junior Ranger will have an exciting opportunity to help be a part of protecting important wildlife, like turtles and birds. They will also have the big responsibility of keeping the water clean and protecting the historic features. They can explore the national park and get an education about the history, geology and nature in the area- and even find a hidden treasure!

If your kids are anything like ours, they may be so busy filling in the Junior Ranger Packet while you are at the park that they miss the essence (and education) of the place.  To avoid this, you can conveniently download the fun activity packet online before you get there so they have a chance to get familiar with the information and know what things to pay attention to.

Besides perusing the activity packet, one way to get your future Junior Ranger ready is to have them research the topic a bit. If they are old enough have them write a small presentation to present to the family after dinner. If possible, see if there are podcasts, Youtube videos or perhaps a documentary about the area at your local library. There are even fun links on some of the National Park websites that help prep your child to learn about the area.

Doing a quick Google search for fun activities for them to do is also a great idea. Here, here, and here are a few FREE educational resources that offer worksheets and printables to help engage your child in learning about a new part of the US or the world!

Having them prepped for exploration is not only a way to help them expand on their knowledge, but it also gives them huge boost in confidence! Helping them gather some basic information about the unique qualities of the park before you arrive can go a long way.  I know my boys thrive on the opportunity show off their skills, ask interesting questions, and earn badges like a pro!

Lastly, I am a newbie to social media.  Apparently there are about a zillion rules to follow — I am stumbling my way through and pretty sure I am breaking exactly all of them.  If you like the information we provide on this site it would mean a lot if you would share it on FB, Google +, or Pinterest {the buttons to do so are below}.  Thank you in advance!

Emily Eck Home Sweet Road

Education Featured

Business For Kids – Encouraging Budding Entrepreneurs {Part 2}

how kids can make moneyHopefully you read Business For Kids {Part 1} and have had a chance to wrap your mind around why encouraging your kids to launch their own “companies” can provide a profound learning opportunity for them as well as set them up for success in the future.

Let’s pick up where we left off….remember that they had the Water Boys business idea but no money to launch it.  They decided to sell their red wagon to solve that problem.  Here is how it played out:

After snapping a few pictures of the boys with the wagon and helping them post it to craigslist it was a matter of hours before they had $20 of seed money in their little hands to fund their very first Kid Business project.

After we reached our first destination we stopped at the dollar store and picked up poster board for a sign to serve as advertisement and then dropped by Costco so they could buy some bottled water.

After doing some math with them and deciding which bottles they could sell for the most profit they decided to go with the flip top bottles because they seemed a whole lot nicer than the small ones with the standard screw top lid.  We discussed the importance in giving people real value so they decided that they would attempt to sell one bottle for $1 or sweeten the deal by selling three bottles for $2.

Marketing 101, check.

After making the sign and chilling the water they were in business!

kids business

I will never forget the looks on their faces when they came in with daddy after their first trip to the park as salesmen.  They were grinning ear to ear! They felt accomplished and their confidence soared.  They couldn’t wait to get back out there!

They talked about what strategies worked and what they wouldn’t do again.  Who seemed to be most interested in buying (grandmas) and what demographic was less eager.  They even bartered with other kids on the playground, and recruited a salesman (a young boy) along the way!  They paid him in ice cold water!!!

Did they make enough to purchase those tickets to Disneyland? No.  But they did make enough for tickets to Legoland-which for them was just as exciting{proud mama}.

If we defined the Water Boys’ success by Harvard’s definition of success(meeting set projections), which I talked about in {Part 1}, then the boys technically failed since they didn’t make enough for DisneyLand tickets.  But if you factor in the new skills they aquired along the way — it was a HUGE success!   These newfound skills will be foundational for them as they expand their horizons as budding entrepreneurs!  And I couldn’t be happier for them.

I look forward to seeing what ideas they come up with next and fostering those ideas into reality.

Next in this series, I’m going to give you my Top 15 Business Ideas for Kids, so stay tuned!

What is your experience?  Are your kids interested in a start up of their own?

Emily Eck Home Sweet Road

Education Featured

Business For Kids – Encouraging Budding Entrepreneurs {Part 1}

how can kids make moneyMany of us have thought about starting a business of our own but how about a business for kids?  Your kids!  I know it may sound strange at first but seriously, have you ever considered helping  your child start their very own “kid business” but weren’t sure if it was too early or a good use of their time.

I mean, for most of us, our kids have a lineup of sports and other activities in the queue already — and everyone knows that sports are imperative for emotional stability, socialization, and learning how to work as a team, so how exactly can a lemonade stand possible prepare them for the future?

And what about the money?  Doesn’t starting a business, other than a lemonade stand, cost a pretty penny?  You never thought about yourself becoming a venture capitalist!  Or perhaps after giving the new idea some thought you’re worried about the blow their self-esteem would take if they poured their energy into something that doesn’t end up working out.

According to the Harvard Business School, 95% of all new businesses fail- if failure is defined as the inability to meet set projections.  If the failure rate is so high, is it smart then to let your kids explore entrepreneurship so young?

We think so and here is why – It is said that the best way to succeed is to increase your failure rate.

So why not get those failures out of the way while they are young!   By the time your child reaches adulthood they could, in theory, have a pretty good thing going.  Or, at least, have a huge leg up on their peers.

Their First Business:

David and I are nerds in that we’re always talking about business ideas.  We must own at least 20 domain names for businesses we might start someday.  The boys have apparently inherited our passion and often throw out ideas on how they can build a business and make some money of their own.

Our oldest son has always been particularly frustrated by the fact that he has to wait until he is fifteen before he can get a “real” job.  Apparently allowance isn’t cutting it!

Days before our big move a few years ago, and our official start to road-schooling, the boys came up with their first business plan.  They decided to sell their red wagon and use the proceeds to fund their first venture.  A water business we affectionately called “The Water Boys!”  They were 7 and 5 at the time and their idea was to buy water bottles, chill them, and sell them on sunny days at parks while we were on the road.

With their earnings they wanted to buy themselves tickets to Disneyland!  If you’ve checked Disneyland prices lately you know that tickets into the Magical Kingdom can be a small fortune.   We wondered if it was wise for us to support them in this goal or if we should try to lower their expectations.

Eventually, our entrepreneurial spirit won the day, we threw caution to the wind and let them get to work.

Read Business for Kids {Part 2} to find out what happened!  Also, I just added a kid’s business plan worksheet which you can print out if interested!

Emily Oak


Education Our Travels

How to be on a Reality Show

how to be on a reality showEvery wondered how you could be on a reality show?  Well, recently we were contacted by a casting producer to be on Bravos! upcoming TV Reality Show about parenting.  I was flattered.

Below is part of the correspondence we received:

I’m working with an award-winning production company and a top-rated national cable network to cast a new documentary series that will explore unique perspectives on parenting. I enjoy your blog and I think you might be a good fit for the show. This would be a great opportunity for you to share your insight and expertise with a much larger audience. 

We couldn’t figure out why a prominent production company would be interested in featuring our family on the show because nothing in the letter stated why they thought we would be a good fit.  We aren’t particularly talented or witty — pretty average actually, so why us?

After some sneaky research online I discovered that the new show we were being considered for was working under the title of EXTREME PARENTING!!!  Whaaaaa?

Turns out Road Schooling is considered extreme!  Who knew?  Long story short we will NOT be featured on the show since we are not currently Road Schooling full time.  My only hope is that the family that IS featured does the movement proud!

Reality shows are notorious for editing relatively “normal” people into being days away from needing to be institutionalized.  I guess we dodged a bullet on that one!

The moral of the story is that if you want to be contacted by a large network to be part of their upcoming reality series, do something out of the box that few people have heard of.  Blog about it.  And then act like everyone else is WRONG or IGNORANT!

I didn’t do that part because I DON’T believe homeschooling on the road is for everyone, plus I was still in shock that they pegged us as extremists!  I could tell though, that they were fishing for someone who was willing to throw down over whatever they were passionate about!  It makes good television after all:)

I’m curious to hear what you think.  Do you think Road Schooling is extreme?

Emily Eck


RoadSchooling – What In the World Is It?

what is roadschoolingWhat is Roadschooling Anyway?

Most of us are familiar with the notion of homeschooling or unschooling, but roadschooling? Now that’s a new concept!  So, what is roadschooing anyway? Like homeschoolers, roadschoolers are educated outside the context of the classroom and their parents/caregivers are responsible to make sure they are in a learning rich environment, accumulating skills, and growing in knowledge.

homeschooling while you travelIs Roadschooling the Same as Homeschooling?

The main difference between homeschooling and roadschooling is that roadschooling parents use travel as the primary tool in educating their children. They believe that education is a lifestyle and that children will naturally learn given the right conditions. It’s basically homeschooling taken on the road.

Places to take your roadschooled child are so numerous that the alternatives are endless! I like to think of it like traveling the pages of history instead of simply reading them.

road schooling

road schooling museumsWhat Resources are Available for Roadschooling?

Our favorite road schooling resource is the Jr. Ranger Program.  A free educational resource at most state and national parks.

Want to learn about the Statue of Liberty? Download the free booklet from the National Parks Website so your child can learn on the way. Or better yet, check out the For Teachers section of the same website to get their “Parks as Classrooms Curriculum” material to go in more depth.

Let me restate that – this is all FREE!

And this is just one resource. There are so many more. Most of which cost very little money or are completely free.

Absorbing information by being exposed to various cultures and ideas is both an intriguing and exciting way for all of us to learn.  And one that is growing in favor with many families who are looking for another approach to their lifestyle and/or their child’s education.

Roadschooling may seem extreme if you are a traditionalist and have never thought about an alternative way to educate. But if you can step back for a minute you will see what a powerful tool it can be.

Is Roadschooling an Effective Form of Education?

children learning on the beachBelieve it or not, there is science to why roadschooling is so effective.

Aside from being a hands on experience that allows a child the ability to gain knowledge in practical ways by visiting new destinations, it is also stimulating the use of dendrites in the brain.

The dendrites of a child that is roadschooled are constantly being stimulated which allows them to learn ALL things faster. If you are interested in learning more about the science behind roadschooling this is a great article written by educators who decided to hit the road with their children.

educating children while travelingIt is not uncommon for a child who is reading below standard levels for their age to pick the skill up easily and begin reading at higher levels in no time — simply because the learning center of the brain is being stimulated by all the new input brought in through exposure to new sites and experiences.

And just like homeschoolers, they generally score higher on standardized tests and go on to excel in college!

Roadschooling Looks Different for Each Family

Some families travel via bicycles (hardcore right?!!) to tour different areas — using exhibits, galleries, museums, landmarks, and attractions as perfect educational opportunities for their child to glean from.  For more inspiration on this model check out the Vogel Family’s Blog.  The Vogel family rode their bikes from Alaska to Argentina!!!

Other families want their children to be submerged in various cultures, customs and languages, so they opt to travel to foreign lands where food and art are plentiful and their children can explore in a raw and tangible way.  Some refer to this as “World Schooling”.

The basic educational goals of reading, writing and math skills are being developed as they learn exchange rates, see ancient ruins, take trains, and barter with locals — all of which hold new lessons and practical life skills.

road schooling rulesIs Roadschooling Legal?

Roadschooling families come under the same guidelines as homeschoolers and your school district will require certain skills to be fulfilled and some standardized testing to be completed. Parents can register their children for homeschooling and find out what prerequisites are necessary to meet the standards of their particular district.

It is common for a school district to expect results such as a certain number of written papers in English, social studies and other subjects. As long as the parent complies with these rules, the state is happy with the results of roadschooling.

education for kids while travelingIs Roadschooling for You?

Whether you stay close or travel broad, roadschooling is a great way to expose your child to the world around them. They will see other cultures and learn to understand themselves and the world in a way that most children never will though bookwork and class lessons.

Roadschooling may not be traditional, however if you are up for it, there is no question that it can be a dynamic way for your child to learn — and one which will create memories and experiences they can utilize and treasure for a lifetime!

I have an entire section of the blog dedicated to RoadSchooling if you want to explore whether or not it would be right for your family.  The post I wrote about the Junior Ranger Program and Child Entrepreneurs this is a good place to start.

Emily Eck Home Sweet Road


Junior Ranger Program: Education through Exploration!

travel with kids

Want to know something that makes this mama feel more rewarded than Pavlov’s dog after the bell rang?  Well, folks, if you haven’t heard about the Junior Ranger Program yet- today is your lucky day!  I mean it.  I may not be your typical geek, but I will geek out all day over this topic.  I’m excited just thinking about it.  It’s not normal.

Have you ever told your child that learning is fun? I bet you felt bad saying that when they came home exhausted after a long day at school with a backpack  jammed full of chapter books, math packets, reading logs and vocabulary words to study.  I don’t remember school feeling as taxing as it does these days.

Hats off to teachers everywhere who bend over backwards to make learning fun and exciting.  That said, the classroom can not substitute the hands on, boots on the ground experience you get from getting out there.

Whether your kids are in public school, homeschool or private school — road schooling can become an exciting way of life.  You don’t have to live in a different place each week and travel the country like we did.  You can make a difference just by committing to get out there together and do something interesting and educational as a family.

Chances are you don’t have to travel too far to find a state or national park either.

One way you can help your kiddos engage in and enjoy the process of learning again is by having them become Junior Rangers.  The cool thing is that they may not even notice that they are soaking up knowledge.  The program integrates learning with activities about art, nature, science, culture, etc. in fun and educational environments-  With very little effort on the part of the parent- and it’s FREE!

Genius, I tell you.

We discovered the program while we were on the road full-time with our tribe.

What You Need to Know About The Junior Ranger Program….Besides That it’s AWESOME:

  • The Junior Ranger program is available at nearly every National Park in the USA! You likely have one just around the corner, check here for all participating locations!
  • Many of these Parks include films, activities, games, or treasure hunts that serve to get the kids engaged and motivate them to learn something useful in the most pleasant way possible.
  • Each child receives a program book and completes the activities(based on age) either when they are onsite or long after you have left.  Simply put, your child can do the “work” at his own pace.
  • After reaching certain levels and completing specific activities your child will receive badges and certificates.  And who doesn’t love that?!
  • Some activities are even online!
  • To give you a better idea of this program, here is an example of the programs in Harpers Ferry, WV; Delaware Water Gap, NJ; and the Blue Ridge Parkway, VA which are all along the Appalachian Trail. These parks allow you download and print the activity guides right here.  Then complete fun activities like finding out who the trails are named after, explore places to see where different animals live, and fun word searches. Complete these activities at your own time and then you can officially become a Jr. Ranger of the Appalachian Trail!
  • Some parks offer specialty programs, badges, and patches like:
  1. Junior War Historian Program
  2. Junior Paleontologist Program
  3. Santa Fé National Historic Trail Junior Ranger Program
  4. Organ Pipe Cactus Junior Ranger and Desert Ranger
  5. Junior Ranger Night Explorers
  • Some National Parks also offer Junior Ranger Camps.  There are opportunities beyond that for older children to continue their learning experience if they just can’t get enough!

As a mom, I have to say, I just love this program.  When we were Roadschooling full time it was a lifesaver.  I’m thankful that the park system has come up with a clever way of helping us educate our kids with fun hands on activities they can see, feel, and do. These activities can bring the family together, they are cheap and fun, and can be completed at your child’s own pace!

All you really have to do is show up!  I hope you and your future Junior Ranger have an awesome time on your next adventure!  If you are interested in this resource for your family, make sure to read my follow up post when I share how to get the most out of the Junior Ranger Program!

Have you had experience with the Junior Ranger Program?  Make sure to leave me a comment, I’d love to hear what you thought!

Emily Eck Home Sweet Road