Online park activities to get kids outdoors

Through the Pop-up Play Days kids can learn about history and nature

Summer vacation looks different this year for kids in the northwest but Hanford Site and Richland park rangers want to help them get outside, get active and learn about local history through a virtual summer program.

The once in-person, interactive program is going online with park rangers guiding kids through some of Washington’s parks. It’s the 2020 Pop-up Play Days in Richland – a closer look at how nature and science work together to shape the landscape around us as well as some of our most notable historical moments.

“It is really place-based and an opportunity for local families to get to know city parks and this really important story that happened here in their backyard,” said Becky Burghart, Hanford Site Manager for the National Park Service.

Becky, along with other park rangers and local community leaders, is recreating the program that started in 2019 but incorporating the social distancing requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“They learn about the beavers, the beaver dam, nature’s engineers and human engineers’ connections there,” Becky said.

Program activities will take kids around Richland’s well-known, and not so well-known, parks to find prizes and familiarize themselves with how the Hanford Site has shaped much of our local history.

“That’s Hanford’s connection to world events, world changing events, and the Manhattan Project looks at the site stories and legacy of the Manhattan project,” Becky said, “So with the Pop-up Play Days, you have a range of programs that build specific piece of the Manhattan Project history and how it ties in here to the Tri-Cities.”

Becky says children can learn who some of the figures were that assisted in the Manhattan Project, like Leslie Groves.

“The Manhattan Project really pushed the boundaries of science and engineering,” Becky said, “So we look at human engineering, what kind of jobs engineers do, and then we also look at nature’s engineers,. We are encouraging kids to get outside, explore the parks or beaver dams along the river here and kids can learn about how to build their own beaver dam.”

That’s where the ‘passport’ comes in – kids will track their accomplishments and participation through the passport booklets. They will then turn in the passports at the end of the program to receive a junior ranger badge.

Lori Briere is the Parks and Recreation Coordinator for the city of Richland and she says children will have the opportunity to really enjoy summer through these guides activities. She mentioned “yoga with your pet” being just one of the activities children can get involved in. The kids can follow the lesson and then post a photo online of their favorite pose.

“My favorite is the starfish where you pretty much just lay on the floor,” Lori said.

Last year the program coordinators met daily with kids in the Tri-Cities area to teach them about history and nature. More than 100 kids participated each day of the week long program. This year’s activities will be online and spread out over a longer period of time. Program details can be found here on the Richland Parks and Recreation website.

Junior Ranger Program