It’s summer, and the kids are bored. They’re over the “school’s out for summer thing.” They’re asking you for stuff to do. They’re tired of crafts (or maybe they’re not crafty kids to begin with). They’ve gone swimming at the same place every day and they want a change. It’s just getting a little monotonous around the house!
Why not plan a field trip! A field trip is simply an educational outing where you combine fun and education. Shhh! Don’t tell the kids it’s educational, it’ll ruin the fun!
It could be a simple trip with you and the kids, a trip with a friend and her kids or a short family road trip. The possibilities are endless.
Here are six tips to make your field trip more memorable.
Make a list. I am a list maker and planner and it helps me to think things through. Remember to pack the following:
- camera/video recorder
- phone/phone charger
- umbrella/ raincoat (you never know with summer showers)
- first-aid supplies
- trash bags
- hand sanitizer
- notebooks/drawing paper
- things to keep the kids busy in the car
- extra change of clothes
Think about your kids interests.
- If they are into science, maybe go to the zoo, a local science museum or aquarium. If funds are tight, how about a nature walk? Record what you observe in a notebook. Practice nature photography.
- If your kids are readers, go to the library or a book store they’ve never been to. If you are from a small town, consider going to a library in a large city. Check out summer reading programs and library activities in towns close by. You may find something that appeals to your kids.
- For history buffs, consider a museum or activity at a state or national park. How about a historical enactment? And think off the beaten path. If you do an internet search on your town or a town close by, you may find a fun, FREE or INEXPENSIVE museum. Did you know there is a free toilet museum in San Antonio? I’ve never been, but I know little boys would love to go there.
- A local park or swimming hole are always a fun option. This is a good chance to visit a state park in your area. Bring a nature pocket guide to discover new wildlife.
Set a budget. Consider gas money. What about food? Do you want to pack a lunch or eat at a restaurant? Is there a gift shop where you are going? If so, decide how much each child can spend (or not).
Do your research. Find out what is offered at your destination before you begin. That way when you get there, you won’t be surprised. Think about what you want to accomplish on the trip. Jot down a couple of things you want to point out to your kids as you explore. Remember to program the location into your GPS or print the directions. And don’t forget to record your destination’s phone number. If you are going a long distance, consider calling in advance.
Stress the fun aspect and your child will learn. When I homeschooled, I put too much emphasis on the educational aspect of the trip. I would make my kids write a one page paper on what they learned and they began hating museums. MAKE IT FUN!!!
Follow-up: This is where the education comes in. Talk about the place you went to in the car. Ask your child what he liked/disliked about the trip. Did something funny happen while on the trip? If so, rehash that part and laugh about it. Would she want to go back? Was it interesting, if so what parts? Let your kids interests guide the follow-up. Consider watching movies pertaining to the location or subject matter. Go to the library and check out books on the subject. How about making a craft that works well with the trip?
Above all, enjoy the less hectic schedule of summer and MAKE MEMORIES!
What fun field trips do you plan to take this summer?