One of the activities that we actively pursued in our RV travels last winter, was to visit as many state and National Parks as we could. The kids did Jr. Ranger programs at many of the parks, and came home with over 3 dozen badges each. We really enjoy the programs as they are generally very educational and include many details about the parks that we would otherwise not have known. They are a great way to get in some site-specific learning – and some nag-free roadschooling. The kids have really been missing the J.R. program, and are anxious to get back on the road and start in on it again. Recently, we found an online program that the boys thought was nearly as enjoyable as the real thing; Web Rangers.
Web Rangers = Jr. Rangers with a twist.
Web Rangers is the National Parks Service’s online Jr. Ranger program. The program is fun, free, and you do not have to download anything onto your computer to play it. It features over 50 different games that teach kids interesting facts about everything from the various ranger uniforms, signal flags, water quality, animal behaviors, and many different famous Americans. It includes activities of varying difficulty to interest everyone from the non-reading preschooler who is learning to use a mouse, to your teens that like to discover new places. The program requires several hours to complete, and can be done all at once, or one activity at a time, and the kids can even do their favorite activities multiple times. My kiddos thoroughly enjoyed the program and when they earned computer time by completing their regular schoolwork, they would use it to work on their Web Ranger badges. I believe that there are a total of 56 different games; once your child completes 50 activities, they earn a badge – just as if they complete a Jr. Ranger program at a National Park! The National Park Service will send you (the parent) an email link from which you can request that your child’s patch be mailed to your snail mail address. My four youngest boys completed the program and have received their badges in the mail; they are anxiously waiting for me to sew them onto their badge vests. Even though they have completed the program, they all like to go back and redo their favorite activities off of the program.
Even if it’s not your goal to collect Jr. Ranger badges from every National Park that offers the program, Web Rangers will still be a fun and educational activity for your little camper! W.R. will give the kids a glimpse at many unfamiliar land and ocean animals and their habitats, and teach them many new details about historical people and places. It’s a great activity to pass the time until the next camping season (or trip), and may even give you some great ideas for new destinations based on the many National Parks that you will discover via The National Park Service’s Web Rangers!