Nature as a Living Classroom: Every Kid Outdoors

Every Kid Outdoors Kids with magnifying glass and treeEvery year, as kids settle into a new grade, and their vision of the world grows just a bit more, there is an excitement that comes with that learning and growing!

What if you expanded the classroom to include outdoor spaces on public lands? How much bigger would their classroom be, and how much fun would those kids have?

Entering its sixth year, Every Kid Outdoors aims to expand the learning experiences of kids who are 10-ish and fourth-grade level by providing free access to fee sites across the country that are managed by Federal land management agencies like the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, and U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, among others. The program is meant to inspire U.S. fourth graders and their families to recreate, explore cultures, discover connections to nature, and spark a lifelong passion for America’s great outdoors.

What Do I Need to Do?

There are two ways to get started:

  1. Your fourth grader can visit the Every Kid Outdoors website, where they can do a short activity, and print off a paper voucher; OR
  2. You and your fourth grader can visit an office or a site managed by any one of the agencies who are part of this partnership and they can obtain their pass there.

The paper voucher that is printed online and the plastic pass provided at Agency offices do the same thing: Provide free access to federally-managed fee sites across the country for the entirety of the Fourth grader's school year (September 1 - August 31).

This part is for the kids:

Kids, there are some important things to know:

  • This pass can only be used when you, the fourth grader, are present. After all, it's your pass! You are now the gatekeepers of fun!Every Kid Outdoors Kid Nature Journaling
  • The pass will get an entire car of (legally seat-belted) people into a site where entrance fees are charged per vehicle. We want you to have fun, AND be safe!
  • Sometimes, sites might not have an entry fee, but some other fee, like a tour fee. The pass may or may not work in those situations, so don't be afraid to ask!
  • It's best to call ahead to see if the Federal site you're visiting honors the 4th Grade Pass so that everyone knows how to plan. There are thousands of sites that accept the pass, and many more that don't. So, have a grown-up call before you head out and see if your pass can help get everyone into the site!
  • If your pass gets lost, it CAN be replaced. But, we recommend avoiding that hassle, and keeping it somewhere safe, like the glove box in your car, or a wallet of a trusted adult. 
  • Most importantly: HAVE FUN! Get out and see what you can, whether it's close by, or somewhere you've never been. Enjoy these places that can teach all of us so much!

Helpful Resources