In my world, summer generally means a visit to Grammy and Papa's rustic, woodsy Colorado cabin. While I love raising my kids in NYC, with all of the museums, parks and culture it has to offer, I also enjoy escaping from the urban jungle so we can explore the great outdoors.
One fun and educational way to do that is the national Junior Rangers Program, which we discovered last summer in Colorado. My kids received different activity books—geared toward their respective ages—to read and complete with the promise that, once they were done, they could meet with a Park Ranger, discuss what they'd learned and be sworn in as Junior Rangers complete with badges.
Although my children became Junior Rangers far from the Big Apple in Rocky Mountain National Park, NYC kids can do it at 10 sites right here in and around Manhattan.