Getting the Most out of Field Trips, Part II: Preparation

Who doesn’t like a good field trip? There’s nothing quite like fresh air, a change of scenery, and a little exercise to rejuvenate your learning routine. While field trips can be a lot of fun, they will quickly turn into a frustrating mess when not planned properly. Join us as we share tips on how to make the most of any field trip and explore ideas for a smoother day.

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Field-TripsHow often have you jumped in your car, ready for a day of fun, only to realize you now need to stop to fill you gas tank? Oh, and by the way, you might need to stop at the ATM for a little cash, too! These last-minute remembrances can put a damper on your outing and put you further behind. A well prepared plan eliminates last-minute changes and helps getting out the door run smoothly.

Homework – Depending on the nature of the field trip, we sometimes like to do a little homework before attending. If, for example, we are studying early Renaissance and plan to attend a museum showing of stained glass windows, we might choose to do a few activities at home which will reinforce this. We might do a few art projects, watch a few films, or read a few books. The field trip itself will be the icing on the cake.

Print Shop – If little kids are going to be joining our trip, we often try to have printable activity sheets relating to our expedition ready and available. Sometimes there are Bingo games with items they cross off as we walk the exhibits, often there are drawing exercises for them to create, or hidden items they are to look for while we explore. Fo the bigger kids, there might be questionnaires which need to be completed as they read pertinent information or sketches to be drawn. Anything which might keep them engaged and participating in the event is welcome.
One additional thought: If this is a group trip, make sure to have directions and a map printed for all those attending. This will eliminate having to give verbal directions and prevent others from getting lost.

Packing – The day before any event, we make sure to gather all items we might need for the following day. Mom makes a list of snack items and puts them all in one spot; making it easier to scoop them all up and be out the door the next day. The kiddos are advised of how long our drive will be so they can pack their own small bag of entertainment items, such as books, coloring pages, and more. Little to no packing should need to be done on the morning of our field trip; this prevents last-minute forgetfulness and added stress.

Money Run – Added errands on the morning of a field trip can be frustrating for everyone. To eliminate this problem, we make any bank runs the day before. If possible, we highly recommend this step.

Packing Preparation

Fill Up – As with the money run, if our gas tank needs a fill, we do this the night before our outing. This is especially helpful for those early morning trips, when things often run a little late or when meeting up with others. I don’t know how many times we’ve met up with others for a trip, only to have half of our party leave to get gas! This is very frustrating for all involved and adds stress to the event.

Get Some Sleep – This the hardest preparation of all, I believe. There is no accounting for our internal clocks and excitement usually doesn’t help. Some kids have an especially hard time sleeping when they know they are going somewhere fun the next day. I often have a hard time sleeping when I know I have to be up at a certain time. Do your best though, to get a solid night of rest. Your body and your mind will thank you when doing all that driving and running around the next day!

By doing most, if not all, of your preparation the night before an event, your field trip will run much smoother. Now, to stay on schedule….

Which preparatory step do you find most essential for any field trip?

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8 thoughts on “Getting the Most out of Field Trips, Part II: Preparation

  1. these are great tips. I am going to start doing the gas and money thing the night before because you’re right… all those last minute errands do take up time. I like to contact the place we are going when planning the trip to see if they offer anything for homeschoolers. A lot of places do.

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  2. One of the best bits of advice I received about outings is for everyone to choose an activity or site they want to see. For example, one child may choose a work of art to do extra research on before hand and then locate it in person in the museum. Or maybe there is a particular building someone wants to see that is along the route. Everyone has something special to them to look forward to and keep an eye out for.

    Great post! These are practical ideas for any kind of trip, learning-focused or otherwise. 🙂

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  3. Pingback: Our Field Trip Survival Guide | A Homeschool Mom

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