Did you know that your 4th grader is eligible for a free pass for the National Parks? Through the Every Kid Outdoors program, every 4th grader in the US (including homeschooled kids) is eligible for a free pass! Find out how to get it, here!
In order to encourage kids to get outdoors and experience the wonders of our nation, the Every Kid Outdoors program was created, to provide access to federal lands and waters for every 4th grade child!
What does the Every Kid Outdoors pass get your child?
By signing your child up for the Every Kid Outdoors pass, they receive free admission to all of the National Parks in the US, throughout their 4th grade year (September-August). That means that your child’s 4th grade year is the perfect year to plan a road trip and hit a bunch of the National Parks!
The Every Kid Outdoors pass also gets your 4th grader a free Christmas tree cutting permit (click the link to find out more information).
I’ve also been told by my local Forest Service office that you can also use the Every Kid Outdoors pass to get free camping at many sites, however I haven’t yet verified that.
For complete details about the areas that are included, you’ll want to check with the specific places you’re visiting, or else check out the official website. I’ve also found a lot of information in the official Every Kid Outdoors brochure, as well as this FAQ from the US Army Corp of Engineers.
Not just National Parks anymore!
In the past, the Every Kid in a Park pass (which is the precursor to the Every Kid Outdoors pass) only gave access to National Parks. However, just this school year, Every Kid Outdoors has made it possible to gain access to even more outdoor opportunities!
Now, not only can your child visit National Parks for free, they can also use their pass for access at sites run by the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Reclamation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the US Army Corp of Engineers, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the US Forest Service!
Where should you visit?
If you happen to live in the West, like we do, you could see quite a few parks in a short amount of time. For instance, Yellowstone and Grand Teton parks are right next to each other. Wind Cave and Badlands are also right next to each other.
If you’re anywhere near Southern Utah, you can go through Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce, Zion, and the Grand Canyon within a couple days. There are 61 National Parks, so the options are endless! Add in all of the other federal lands that are now covered with the Every Kid Outdoors pass, and there’s bound to be something interesting near you! Check out this map to find a location you can explore!
How does my 4th Grader get an Every Kid Outdoors pass?
If your child is in a public school, their teacher may present the opportunity to get a pass to the class. Educators can get passes for their entire class.
If your child is homeschooled, you can easily get them a pass. Simply visit this site, and follow the directions to enroll your child. You’ll need a printer to print out their pass, as electronic versions aren’t available.
Once we printed out my daughter’s pass, we were able to take it to our local Forest Service office, and they exchanged it for a plastic pass that will be more durable.
Get out there and enjoy the outdoors with your kids! Kids can learn so much from the outdoors, so please take advantage of this amazing opportunity, and get your kid an Every Kid Outdoors pass!
If you’re looking for more amazing homeschool articles, check these out!
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