Guest Writer: Lizzie Weakley
Whether you’re in charge of a large group of students or just need something to do with your kids over summer break, a field trip is a great way to connect education with the real world. These tips will help you pull off a fun and problem-free field trip.
Choose a Great Location
The right field trip location depends on the age of your students, the location’s relevance to their studies, and the activities that will be available when they get there.
Consider the material that your students are reading in their textbooks. Historical field trips are a good way to help students connect with their readings; if a relevant event took place in your area, bring them to the actual location. Try visiting art museums for budding painters, and take exploration enthusiasts to the local zoo.
Older kids do fine with museums, but younger children need shows and activities to keep their attention. You can always call the museum to find out what activities might interest your students.
Make the Car Ride Comfortable
Many field trip locations are several hours away from your home or school. You want everyone to feel fresh and excited when you arrive at the location, so make the car ride as comfortable as possible.
Make sure everyone has enough room in their seats. If you are traveling in multiple cars, split up groups so that no one is cramped.
Clean the cars out before the journey. You can purchase bulk car air fresheners to provide a pleasant smell. Little details will create a subtle but enjoyable experience for everyone.
Plan for a mixture of mellow music that the adults will enjoy and upbeat music that the students will be interested in. Create a playlist in advance; you don’t want anyone fighting over song selection.
Plan for Lunch and Snacks
Although premade lunches are a good low-budget option, consider getting lunch at the location. Many museums and exhibits have thematic restaurants. Students will want to visit the restaurant and might be disappointed if you have other plans.
If you pack a lunch, make sure there are picnic tables at the location. You and the students will need a place to take an actual break.
Always bring a few snacks when traveling with children. A hungry kid will not be able to enjoy the location they are visiting. Look for healthy options that contain protein and carbs. Remember to bring water bottles; thirsty kids can’t focus, either.
Bring Home Souvenirs
A field trip is intended to connect studies with reality. Look for souvenir options that will help your students connect with the information long after the trip is over.
Many museums host activities where kids can make their own souvenirs. Find hands-on experiences that will let kids learn more about the subject matter. Some of the best activities recreate traditional crafts from the time period being studied.
Even a cheap souvenir will help a student feel like they got something from the experience. A small keychain, a pressed penny, or a plastic toy
A good field trip is all about the instructor’s attitude. Plan ahead to minimize stress, and prioritize the students’ experience. If you choose a good location and take care during the trip, your students will remember the event fondly for years to come.