Park Ranger works with youth to complete their Junior Ranger books.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site is pleased to offer a Junior Ranger program. This program is free, fun, and open to everyone! While the program is ultimately designed to be done onsite and materials reserved for in-person visitors, we've created several options for doing the program offsite.
If you're participating in the program from home, complete the activities below or email us to receive the digital booklet files.
You may find our site film and virtual ranger-led tour helpful as you complete the activities; both are available on our website.
If you're making a visit to the site, check our hours of operation . Upon arrival, check in at the Visitor Center and tell a ranger that you would like to participate in the program. Participants will be provided with a Junior Ranger book and pencil.
Let's Get Started!
To complete the following Junior Ranger activities, you will need a writing utensil and paper. Number your paper 1-15, giving yourself a few lines of space between each number. Answer the questions to the best of your ability. Scroll down the page to begin. Enjoy!
Hi! I’m John Fitzgerald Kennedy, but my family calls me Jack. I was born in this house on May 29, 1917 and lived here until I was three and a half years old. My family then moved to another house just down the road. I lived in Brookline, Massachusetts until I was ten years old. My mother returned to this house in the 1960s and worked to make it look like it did when my family lived here. This house is now a museum, owned by the National Park Service. Follow me as we learn about my birthplace home and the road I took to the presidency.
A young JFK with his dog, Bobby.
Kennedy Family Collection
John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site, 83 Beals Street Brookline, MA. The Kennedy family home, 1914-1920.
Growing up Kennedy
I grew up in a large family and I was the second of nine children. My parents, Rose and Joe Sr., wanted me to be a role model for my younger sisters and brothers, but it wasn’t always easy. Sometimes, I got into mischief, but I tried my best. My older brother, Joe Jr., and I were close but also very competitive. Our mother and father encouraged us to be competitive and hard working. They also taught us the importance of family and caring for one another.
If you have siblings, what is your relationship like with them? If you do not have siblings, what type of person would you want your brother or sister to be?
(L-R) Joe Jr. and Jack Kennedy.
Kennedy Family Collection, JFK Library.
A New Home
This house was only five years old when my parents moved here in 1914. It was a very new home and we enjoyed many modern comforts that not everyone had. Electricity, running water, a gas and coal burning stove, central heating, two telephones, and an indoor bathroom were just some of the things that improved the quality of our lives.
What are three modern comforts that you have in your home that we didn't have in ours?
Glenwood coal and gas burning stove at the JFK birthplace
One of two black candlestick style phones at the JFK Birthplace
The Living Room
I grew up in a wealthy family that was proud of its Irish Catholic background. My parents taught that "with money comes great responsibility.” My mother often quoted from the Bible, saying “to whom much is given, much is to be expected.” We relaxed in our living room, but it was also a place to learn.
Slide between the photos below by clicking on the circle (with the arrows) and dragging side-to-side. In the photo on the left, you will see the living room in the 1960s before my family rebought the home. In the photo on the right, you will see the work my mother did to return the living room to the way it looked when my family lived here.
Fun fact: Martha Pollock owned the house before my family rebought it in 1966. She knew that my family and I lived here and was proud of the house's history. When I was President, she placed a photograph of me in her living room. Can you find it?
The Living Room in the 1960s compared to how it looks now, after Mrs. Kennedy's work
1960s living room at JFK birthplace (pre-restoration)
The historic living room at JFK NHS
A place to Learn
My mother's piano is in the corner, she tried to teach all of us to play. As a young woman, mother studied in Europe and was inspired by the artwork she saw there. She hung portraits of famous paintings on the walls, to teach us about the beauty of art. She also placed many photographs of our family in this room, reminding us about the importance of family--did you know that both of my grandfathers were politicians in Boston? There are also many books, magazines, and newspapers. Our parents wanted us to understand the importance of reading and learning about the world.
My parents thought we should be well-rounded and had high expectations of us. They wanted us to be the best in whatever we did. One of my mother's expectations was that we should all be on time for dinner.
What types of expectations do your parents or guardians have of you?
The Dining Room
I sat at the small children's table by the window with my brother Joe Jr. My chair is the nearer of the two.
Mealtimes weren’t just for eating, but also for discussions. My mother often said that, “for better or worse, the destiny of the world is shaped by those who can get their ideas across.” My parents quizzed us on a variety of subjects including history, geography, religion, current events, and even sports. My father liked to have debates around the table. It certainly kept us on our toes!
What does your family like to talk about at the dinner table?
The Kennedy family dining room at 83 Beals Street, Brookline, MA.
The Master Bedroom
This was my parents’ bedroom. I was born in the bed closest to the window. The pictures at the far end of the room show the children who lived here: Joe Jr., me, Rosemary, and Kathleen. After my parents moved from this home in 1920, they had five more children: Eunice, Pat, Bobby, Jean, and Ted.
How many siblings do you have?
Would you like to grow up in a family with eight brothers and sisters?
Imagine what it would have been like to grow up in a family of nine children. Can you think of at least one benefit and one challenge?
Kennedy family Master Bedroom at 83 Beals Street Brookline, MA.
I shared the nursery with my brother Joe. I spent a lot of time in this room resting because I was very sick as a child. I liked when my mother read me stories about adventure and travel. Two of my favorite books are on the chair:
King Arthur and His Knights and Billy Whiskers. Billy Whiskers is about a mischievious goat. My mother didn't care for that book because she felt it would lead to bad behavior.
What is your favorite book and why?
What valuable skills do we learn from reading books?
The Nursery at the JFK Birthplace. The bassinet was used by all nine of the Kennedy children.
This was my mother’s office. Here, she wrote letters, sewed, and managed the home. In the wooden box, she kept very careful health records of my family. Scroll below to see one of my cards.
After viewing the card, what do you learn about me?
The card box on Mrs. Kennedy's desk in the boudoir.
JFK's typed health card
This was our kitchen.
How is this kitchen like your kitchen at home? How is it different?
My mother made recordings of her voice for most of the rooms in this house, after she turned it into the museum that it is today. In the kitchen, she tells listeners about our family traditions: taking walks, going to church, and eating baked beans on Saturday nights. These were activities that brought us together as a family and connected us to our community. Listen to my mother's full recording below.
The Kennedy family kitchen at 83 Beals Street, Brookline, MA.
Mrs. Kennedy's audio
Mrs. Kennedy's audio created for the kitchen at John Fitzgerald Kennedy NHS.
There on the stove you see the bean pot. We always ate Boston baked beans on Saturday night. Warmed over for Sunday morning breakfast they were perfectly delicious with brown bread. Everyone had their special recipe for Boston baked beans and piccalilli which was usually served with them. With all the baby bottles to be sterilized, formulas to prepare, and meals to cook, this kitchen was a very busy place. During those hectic hours I would put the baby in the stroller, take two children by the hand, and with the dog following close behind, set out for the corner grocery store. On the way back we would usually stop for a visit at Saint Aidan's church. I wanted my children to realize that church was for every day and not just for Sunday. As you leave by the back door, imagine with me the laughter of these children as they played in the warm spring sun or built snowmen in the winter. I would look out of the window occasionally to see that all went well. I hope that you have enjoyed your visit to our home. We were very happy here and although we did not know about the days ahead we were enthusiastic and optimistic about the future.
Kennedy Family, c. 1923. Right to left: John, Joseph Jr., Joseph Sr., Rosemary, Rose, Eunice, and Kathleen
John Fitzgerald Kennedy NHS Museum Collection (JOFI 24)
What are some of your family’s favorite traditions?
**After completing your Junior Ranger activities, you can listen to Mrs. Kennedy's full audio tour of the home here.
Almost fifty years after my family moved from this house, my family bought it back. Then my mother made it look as it had when we lived here. When my mother was finished, she gave the home to the National Park Service, which preserves and protects it today. It was her way of honoring the memory of my family’s time in Brookline.
View the photos below. You can slide between the two photos by clicking on the circle (with the arrows) and dragging side-to-side. The photo on the left shows the house in the 1960s (before Mrs. Kennedy's work.) Compare it to the photo on the right which shows the house today. What are three differences that you notice between the two photos?
The JFK Birthplace in the 1960s versus today
JFK Birthplace in the 1960s
JFK Birthplace today
After touring my home, I hope you have a better understanding of what life was like for my family and me. My early life experiences helped shape the man and the president that I became.
You have the power to shape your own future! How do you want people to remember you?
President Kennedy seated in a rocking chair.
Courtesy John Vachon
The Mission of the National Park Service
John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site is owned and managed by the National Park Service (NPS.) There are more than 400 national park units within the NPS system. These areas cover more than 84 million acres in every state, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. These sites include national parks, monuments, battlefields, military parks, historical parks, historic sites, lakeshores, seashores, recreation areas, scenic rivers and trails, and the White House. The mission of the National Park Service is to preserve the natural and cultural resources and values for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations.
In which state do you live? How many national park sites exist in your state? Click here to find your state and parks.
(If you live outside of the United States, where are you from? Does your country have any national parks? Have you visited any of these special places?)
The National Park Service (NPS) Arrowhead--the official emblem of the NPS.
If you were to give a tour of your own home, what rooms and objects would you include to help people learn about you and your family? Draw a picture showing what a tour of your home would look like.
Thank you for participating in our Junior Ranger program; we hope you enjoyed the activities!
If you're interested in learning more about JFK, his family, and the site, watch our site film, take a virtual tour, and explore our website. You can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram.