Wanting to add a little adventure or hands-on learning to your homeschool? Needing a break from your regular school routine? If you are new to your area or just want some creative and fun field trips for your homeschool, take heart. Organizing a field trip for your family doesn’t have to be overwhelming.
I remember when I started out, I had several local field trips planned before we started the school year. And then we moved 400 miles away…two weeks before the school year started. Agh! I had to start all over and didn’t know where to look. I still wanted to find fun things to do, but I was very overwhelmed. How was I to find field trips when I still needed to find my new grocery store?
4 Ways to Find Fun and Educational Field Trips for your Homeschool
1) Research Homeschool Days
Start by looking up museums, zoos, aquariums, and science centers in your area. Many of these places have set aside homeschool days in which homeschool families can go for free or a reduced rate on particular days. You will notice that organizations are catering more and more to the homeschool community. This is a great place to start as the field trips are already planned out for you and you get to join other homeschool families.
Make sure you follow their directions on how to sign up, as the homeschool days often fill up quickly. If there are no spots available, set a reminder for yourself for the next one, sometimes the following year, so that you make sure to sign up earlier and get a spot.
Don’t forget to check local field trips on Groupon. We have been able to go to some great museums at a fraction of the cost through Groupon deals!
2) Contact Local Businesses
Next, call local areas of interest for your kids. If they are younger, look for days that police and fire stations have open houses. These are fun and free events for the whole family. We just did a great trip to a local police department and the kids got to see the motorcycle and K-9 units in action!
If your kids are older, look into local radio stations, newspapers, news stations, bakeries, restaurants, farms, garden centers, etc. The list can really be endless.
Whatever your kids are interested in, call or email the business to inquire about a field trip. Gather a few other homeschool friends with you if you can, and it will be an even richer experience for your kids.
3) Get Outside
Never underestimate the power of a day or afternoon trip with your family or a few friends. Getting kids (and adults!) of all ages outside and exploring God’s beautiful creation can sometimes be just what you need. It can revive your spirits and spark hands-on learning that can supplement what you have been studying at home.
Plan a day into your week or month, or make it spontaneous when you all need a break from your routine, and get outside! Here are some places to get you started:
- wildlife preserve
- bird sanctuary
- tide pools
- botanical garden
- nature trails
- wherever your heart leads you
Outdoor adventures have been some of the best memories we have shared as a family, and have really made our schooling come alive. Everyone gets fresh air, a little exercise, and rejuvenation. Plus, your kids are also learning, exploring, and fostering their imaginations too! All that and not to mention, these areas are usually free to the public too.
Again, some places offer free entrance one day a month, so plan accordingly. And, many times you will find that typically popular and crowded places have very few people, as you get to go mid-week when everyone else is in school or at work!
4) Attend Cultural Events
Introduce your kids to fine arts through cultural events in your area. These might include:
- Christian Youth Theater (CYT) performances
- musical events
- dance performances
- live theater
- other cultural events
These performances don’t have to be expensive either. Look for matinees, kids performances, or free events near you. You can expose your kids to arts and culture and still stay within your budget!
Tips to Make your Field Trips Educational and Fun
- Plan ahead to incorporate field trips around what you are studying (e.g. botany, flying creatures, farm animals, sea creatures, history etc.).
- Prepare your kids in advance before you go – discuss what you will be seeing and doing so they know what to expect.
- Check the website before you go to see if the location offers free educational resources to download and bring with you.
- When you get home, have your older kids write about their experience and younger ones talk about what they liked best or least. This will help them organize their thoughts and remember their experiences even more.
Don’t think that you are taking a day off of school to go on a field trip. Field trips can be some of the best learning tools available. Take advantage of them while you can! By the time your kids get to high school, you won’t have time to slow down and enjoy a field trip. Make the most of your days while your kids are still young enough.
If you have any fun ideas that you have done with your family, leave a comment below. I’d love to hear!