Recently, a great article from afar.com How to take your kids out of school for educational travel experiences was released. There were some wonderful tips in this article for traveling families. It made me think, “what better educational travel opportunity than a dude ranch where the ranchers are dedicated to preserving and promoting the genuine Western way of life?” We are not only helping future generations appreciate nature, wildlife and the Western culture, but we are also helping families make memories that all kids deserve to have.
A dude ranch vacation offers a variety of programming for kids of all ages, with daily schedules that are so engaging kids won’t realize they’re learning along the way! Kids’ programs and activities, many of which are overseen by dedicated wranglers and staff members, are designed to educate and entertain with activities ranging from ropes courses, scavenger hunts, horseback riding, panning for gold, wildlife excursions, overnight camping trips, campfire sing-a-longs, capture the flag, hayrides and much more.
I think one of the best parts about dude ranch kids’ programs is that they really engage kids’ adventurous spirit and teaches them about many things they wouldn’t learn within the four walls of their classrooms. You can ask any kid the name of the horse they rode while vacationing at a dude ranch a month or even a later year and they will be able to tell you as well as the names of the kids and wranglers. It’s a unique memory that stays with them for many years.
There is only so much a child can learn from sitting in a classroom with 25 other kids. Don’t get me wrong I think traditional classroom learning is key to a great education. However, that being said, the things a child can experience while on vacation is simply something you can’t learn from a book. You might get the “facts,” but the other things they learn along the way is impossible to recreate in a classroom. You can get your kids involved in the planning stages of the trip, the research of where, when and how long you will be gone, what you will be doing, and more! Even let them help with the budgeting, what better way to teach them than to have them help you! Just think of all the actual conversations the above will inspire and let’s face it, in today’s world face to face conversations with your kids is priceless.
Below are several educational travel opportunities to help you and your family to start planning!
If you have a teen, the energetic teen counselors at Mountain Sky Guest Ranch in Montana are there to ensure that their guests 13 and older have the vacation experience of a lifetime! Activities include gourmet teen dinners (learn how to cook), hilarious talent show skit (a real confidence booster), a night at the challenge course or clay shooting range, and off-site adventures like trips to Yellowstone’s “Boiling River.” What better place to learn about the great outdoors than Yellowstone National Park? Talk about hands-on experiences!
Children will experience traditional ranch activities such as horseback riding and will learn the importance of the horse in the Western culture here, they may learn to fly-fish or how to rope too. They could spend an afternoon exploring nearby ancient Indian petroglyphs or visiting the local fish hatchery. As you can see the educational opportunities are endless at the CM Ranch in Wyoming.
At Vista Verde Ranch in Colorado, your kids will explore on horseback, learn more skills in horsemanship clinics and how to herd cows. They will learn to paddleboard at a nearby lake, and they may take a hike learning the fauna and flora of the area. Maybe most importantly they get to experience all of this while learning that it is okay to be unplugged from their devices and still have FUN!
The educational programs offered at Paradise Ranch in Wyoming are designed to reconnect kids with animals and the great outdoors. Their programs expose kiddos to the natural world and all that it has to offer. They may be involved in a kid’s rodeo, may take an overnight camping trip or they may even learn how to fly-fish. Remember this ranch is called Paradise for a reason!
If your child has a real love for horses there is no better place to be than in Western Pleasure’s hands-on kid’s horse program in Idaho. Even before arriving at the ranch your kids will receive one of the ranch’s horsemanship manuals to help expand their learning experience. The program starts on Sunday evening and is concluded on Thursday evening with an actual horse show. Participants will be responsible for their own horse and equipment; they will learn horse husbandry skills and equipment care. Talk about life educational skills, WOW.
I am pretty sure all parents want to see their kids succeed in the classroom, I know I did, but I can also assure you there is a world of learning that happens outside the classroom so why not give your kids that opportunity. Teaching your kids outside the “classroom” may be one of the best things you can do for them! There are many things that just can’t be taught in a classroom.
For more information on dude ranch kids’ programs, contact the Dude Ranchers’ Association. They can make some great recommendations for your whole family!
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