Keeping the Kids Entertained… and Educated

This week as holiday breaks from school and winter weather keep the kids indoors, parents are looking for ways to keep them entertained–and educated– at the same time.

Fortunately, many Federal agencies this year provide the perfect solution with publications that are both fun AND educational, and with which the kids might actually learn something besides how to shoot down some “Angry Birds” on their new tablet! 😉 From dinosaurs to fossils, freedom runners to astronauts, these fun facts will prove more fascinating than fiction.

Here are a few that I (and my eight and six year-old nephews) particularly enjoy:

     Junior-Paleontologist Junior Paleontologist Activity Book, Ages 5-12, Explore, Learn, ProtectFor the kid who thinks dinosaurs are dynamite

In this illustrated color booklet, a child can learn about ancient life, complete fun activities, and explore some of the 230 national parks that preserve fossils and offer a look into the distant past.

And after completing the age-appropriate activities in this book, your child can then go online to request his or her free Junior Paleontologist badge from the National Park Service.

 Junior-Explorer-Geology-Fossils Junior Explorer Geology and Fossils Activity Book
For the kid who wants to be a “rock star”>/p>Fossils are the “rock stars” in this activity book as well. Includes fun facts, a crossword puzzle, and activities about rocks and fossils for explorers ages 8 to 12, along with a free Junior Explorer Certificate from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Introduces basic kid-friendly concepts about geology, types of rocks and formations, and a glossary of terms. Focuses on Earth features– rock formations, canyons, caves, craters and more– that formed over long periods of time and that cannot be replaced as humans remove and make use of them, and the role of geologists to manage these non-renewable natural resources.

It also lists great public lands managed by the BLM that tourists can visit and explore these fossil-rich landscapes.

 Underground-Railroad-Activity-Book Discovering the Underground Railroad: Junior Ranger Activity BookFor the child who wants to change the world

Provides activities for children ages 5-12 to learn about the history of the underground railroad and the Emancipation Proclamation.

Children who finish the age-appropriate activities can send in to the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program to receive a free Junior Ranger badge from the National Park Service.

Gently covers topics including: the meaning of freedom and slavery; the hardships and daily life of slaves; the importance and travel routes of the “Underground Railroad;” safe refuge choices; key dates and laws relating to slavery and emancipation; and key figures including Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglas and abolitionists Levi and Catharine Coffin, among others.

Celebrating 30 Years of the Space Shuttle programFor the kid or teen with stars in his or her eyes

For older kids, teens and adults with stars in their eyes (and dreams of space), this could be the book for them.

A tribute to everything accomplished during NASA’s Space Shuttle program’s 30 years of operation, this colorful book is chock-full of stunning color photography and interesting facts of every shuttle mission and its crews, from deploying the Hubble Telescope to the inspirational Sally Ride, the first American woman in space.

From its first mission on April 12, 1981, to its last, on July 21, 2011, the Space Shuttle program defined NASA and served as an inspiration to future engineers and astronauts worldwide.

Beginning with the orbiter Columbia and continuing with Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis, and Endeavour, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Space Shuttle has carried people into orbit; launched, recovered, and repaired satellites; conducted cutting-edge research; and helped build the largest human made structure in space, the International Space Station.

All of these books can also be found at the following locations:

  • Buy it at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, (202) 512-0132.
  • Find it in a federal depository library.

Hopefully, these books will help our readers beat the winter blahs as families have to stay indoors due to the weather.

After all, as this famous (albeit anonymous) quote says: “Education is the best gift you could ever receive, because once you have it, no one can ever take it from you.

About the Author:  Michele Bartram is Promotions Manager for GPO’s Publication and Information Sales Division in Washington, DC, and is responsible for online and offline marketing of the US Government Online Bookstore ( and promoting Federal government content to the public.

48 Responses to Keeping the Kids Entertained… and Educated

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  15. Jake O'Rourke says:

    Great selection of books – found the Junior Ranger on Amazon for those of us in the UK (summer holidays just around the corner – yikes!). Jake at Jake and Jill UK


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  26. Encinitas Chiropractor says:

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  28. Carbide Burrs says:

    Your share are so helpful to our chinese people. ^^
    children alway like to be a adault. all of us want to be recognized.
    I think the best way is to let child learn to be a grown person,they would act as the one he want to be. when educated keep child entertained,would make their life health and smooth.


  29. Melissa says:

    These books are the best resources for my children. I’m planning to order these books as soon as I have money.

    I love to get a copy of Celebrating 30 Years of the Space Shuttle program, because one of my child wanted to become an astronaut someday. I want to support him in his dream.


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  31. […] Keep the kids entertained and educated this winter with fun and educational books on dinosaurs, fossils, freedom runners, the space shuttle and astronauts. Read all about them on our Government Book Talk blog at: […]


  32. […] Keep the kids entertained and educated this winter with fun and educational books on dinosaurs, fossils, freedom runners, the space shuttle and astronauts. Read all about them on our Government Book Talk blog at: […]


  33. […] under Children, NASA, National Park Service. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own […]


  34. child education india says:

    Thanks for sharing. You have shared an informative blog.. Child education is really important. Every parent has a dream to give his or her children the best education possible.every children should get education so that they can have better opportunity and can get better life standard..


  35. Daniel Cornwall says:

    Reblogged this on Alaskan Librarian and commented:
    Some fun ideas for kids. Here are some links to help you find this books in a library near you or
    through interlibrary loan:

    Jankowski, Krista L., and Caroline Marshall Hill. 2009. Junior paleontologist activity book, ages 5 to 12. [Washington, D.C.]: National Park Service, U.S. Dept. of Interior.

    United States. 2011. Discovering the underground railroad: junior ranger activity book. [Washington, D.C.?]: National Park Service.

    United States, William Wallack, and George Gonzalez. 2012. Celebrating 30 years of the space shuttle program. Washington, D.C.?: National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

    Junior Explorer Geology and Fossils Activity Book doesn’t appear to have made it into a library.


  36. armansyahardanis says:

    Changing Disasters Experiences To Become Entertained.-

    Salute to GPO’s Publication which publishing interesting books for the kids and teens in extreme weather, like the winter. Are there environmental books about saving from danger disasters?


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