Tips for Kids in National Parks

Getting kids interested in national parks can be a challenge—and so is keeping them entertained once you get there! Here are a few tips for helping your family make the most of its time in the great outdoors:

Family hiking
Photo © DGLimages/iStock.

1. Can’t get your kids off their phones? Encourage them to take photos for a family album that focuses on the variety of detail on trails. Put each child in charge of a certain thing: plants, rocks, tree bark, animals, water, etc.

2. Get your younger kids involved in Junior Ranger programs! Some parks have programs for older kids, too.

3. Prepare kids for the elements with appropriate layers of clothing, footwear, mittens, and hats. Don’t forget sunscreen and bug spray, too!

4. Check your park’s specific NPS site before you leave home—you’ll find special kid-friendly programs and activities under “kids.”

5. Play trail games like “I Spy” to keep kids engaged along the way.

6. Choose shorter trails for young kids with attractions as destinations: lakes, boulders to play on, driftwood on beaches.

7. Check out the Every Kid in a Park program: 4th graders can visit all national parks for free!

8. Prevent meltdowns by having snacks and water handy, even on short hikes or adventures.

For more tips for exploring the national parks with your family, pick up:

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