Saturday, October 27, 2012

31 Days Field Trip Survival Guide

After my post about how important field trips are in our homeschool adventure, I knew I needed to post some tips and tricks I have learned over the years about how to get the most out of a field trip or at least not have a nervous breakdown in the middle of it. So below is my list in no real order of what I have learned from all my field trip experience.

Decide where you want to go. When making that decision, remember to find places that will be interesting to your kids. Bored kids are not fun on a field trip.

Check your destination’s website for hours and admission fees. Sometimes they have homeschool days or special events happening, those are great days to plan to go. Also if you want the place to yourself, you can schedule it on a day that they have nothing planned.

Know where you are going. Okay, so this should go without saying but if you have a gps, put in the coordinates of where you are going and search for nearby parking areas. Nothing puts a damper on plans like getting lost.

Go with another family. We have a family we go on many field trips with. It mixes things up a bit and gives everyone a chance to hang out.

Call ahead if you are going to be a large group. Sometimes they have group rates or special tours for larger groups.

Pack snacks/lunch/water - in other words, be prepared. You do not want to go on a tour with a hungry little one.

I like to take pictures of each of the kids separately when we go to larger places so that if they get lost I know exactly what they are wearing, a picture does a better job than a description if you are looking for someone. I have never needed these pics but the peace of mind that comes from doing this is invaluable.

Dress appropriately. This can mean making sure you wear your walking shoes or it can mean to bring a sweatshirt. Know what the weather is like and see if you can find out if the building is cold or hot.

Plan your day carefully but know your plans will probably change. If you are going out of town, see if you can fit in two sites. We like going someplace before lunch and then another place after lunch.

Have a back-up plan. You never know what can happen. That sunny day could turn into a rainy day making for a soggy outdoor field trip.

 Grab their free handouts for your file. I always grab whatever free material/brochures they have available so I can put them in the school file. Inside the handouts you will often find very useful info and even some other resources.

Buy a souvenir in the gift shop if you can. Even something small to remember the trip is fun.

Take pictures! I always bring my camera and even if there are no pictures allowed in some areas I can always take a picture of everyone outside the building for what I affectionately call our evidence shot.

Try to do research beforehand. I like to look up information about where we are going before we go so I can be more prepared. If you aren't going to have a guide, it is always a good know something so you can point out interesting facts to the kids.

It's okay to go to the same location more than once. There are places my kids have asked to go to again. Each visit will be a slightly different experience and you can always learn more. We especially like museums because their exhibits often rotate so each visit is like a new location.

How about you? Is there anything I missed or something you have learned from your field trip experiences? Do you want to know how I handle something?

I'm participating in 31 Days along with over 1,000 other bloggers hosted by the Nesting Place.

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