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Homeschool Field Trip Ideas
Field trips can be a GREAT way for kids to learn by discovery. There are countless possibilities for field trips and most of them are free.
Below is a listing of field trip ideas to help you get started, or you can look up Field Trip Destinations in your state.
Where to Go on a Field Trip
* Visit Different Museums.
There are a lot of different museums you can visit. Some are free, others charge admission, and still others have specific days or times that are free. Science museums, history museums, art museums, aquariums . . . whatever subject you are studying in school, see if there is a museum nearby that would enhance the learning and discovery for your child. Use Museum Free Days for finding which days are free for different museums near you.
* Learn How Mail Works at the Post Office.
Have your kids write letters and then go to the post office to mail them. Call ahead to schedule a tour of the facilities so your kids can get a look “behind the scenes”.
* Ask to Show Your Kids Around the Local Fire or Police Stations.
Many fire departments and police stations are happy to give free tours of their facilities. This can be a great way for your kids to learn more about municipal workers and how they respond to emergencies. Also a great opportunity for talking with your kids about respect for authority, discipline, and law and order.
* Check out Different Government Buildings.
Tour your state capital or local courthouse.
* See History in Action by Visiting a Reenactment.
A War Reenactment or a trip to a historical town like Williamsburg can help bring American history to life for your students.
* Visit a Notable Cemetery.
Many people visit Grant’s Tomb or other burial spots of past presidents or famous people. This can be a great addition to your history class and a great opportunity to talk about the person who is buried there. But don’t stop there, consider getting your kids engaged in filling out a Cemetery Discover Questionnaire to discover some of the other people who have also been buried at the same site. Try to avoid (or work through) any scary or morbid associations to cemeteries. This can be a great opportunity to talk to your kids about death, salvation, and our hope of Heaven.
* Compare the Current Landscape with an Aerial Photo.
This is a great way to show your kids how the world changes over time. Look online for an aerial photo of your city, and then go and discover what is still the same and what has changed. Are there any historic landmarks or old buildings still standing? Are there any past censuses taken that you can compare with the current population in the city? Turn this into a great geography assignment by having the kids make a Town Guide Book. Or take an audio tour of your area from the downloads available at Tourcaster.
* Go Geocaching.
A great way to get your kids out exploring and learning how to use maps and location
finders. Geocaching is a free, world-
Science and Nature
* Take a Nature Walk.
A walk outside, a trip to the park, or a local nature trail . . . get your kids out in nature and just explore all that there is to see. Consider taking along a picnic lunch and a few books about trees, birds, insects, or whatever nature topic your children want to discover.
* Spend a Day at the Zoo.
* Visit National Parks.
* Pick Your Own.
Take your kids to a local farm or orchard and give them the experience of picking their own fruits or vegetables. An apple orchard can be a great field trip for the fall, especially one where they process the apples or make apple cider. Visit the Pick Your Own website to find farms and orchards near you.
* Study the Stars!
A trip to the planetarium can be an amazing field trip!
* See How Many Environments You Can Find in Your Area.
Forest, prairie, beach, highlands, dessert, wetlands, etc. Give your kids a notebook and some crayons or markers and have them journal a page for each environment they find, drawing pictures of the environment and taking note of things they find in those locations, what kinds of animals live there, or what kinds of trees or flowers can be found there.
* Go Bird Watching.
Visit a bird sanctuary, go feed ducks by the lake, or pick up a set of binoculars and a book on birds and head out to the nearest park or nature center. Learn how to identify birds by sight or sound.
* Discover Plants and Botany.
Visit an arboretum or greenhouse to study different trees or plants and learn about plant botany.
* Explore a Cave.
Grab your flashlights and dive into a cave for an exciting expedition.
Bible & Religion
* Tour a Local Church.
Many churches have an interesting history. Find an old church an inquire about the history of its founding. Ask if you can view their old photos or archives. Have your children compile a list of questions to ask the pastor (or “tour guide”). This would be a great opportunity to also study about different denominations or church history.
* Tour Other Religious Facilities.
Consider taking your children to visit a mosque, synagogue, or temple. A great way to learn more about world religions.
* Introduce Your Kids to the Live Theatre.
Several theatres will give free performances or a discount rate for students, or take advantage of free street performances that are often offered in major cities.
* Visit Art Galleries or Art Exhibitions.
Learn about famous artists or different styles of art, and get your kids engaged in some art of their own.
* Visit a Craft Group.
Craft groups are often very enthusiastic about introducing their skills and interests with others. Try to find if there is any group in your area that does quilting, spinning, weaving, or pottery.
* Attend Local Festivals.
There are a variety of local festivals that you can attend, especially in the fall. Most of them are free admittance.
* Listen to a Concert or Orchestral.
Help your kids develop an appreciation for music by attending musical concerts. Also a great time to learn about famous composers, Christian song writers, or world culture music.
Business & Industry
* Visit Factories or Plants.
Is there a big industry near you? Find out what is produced locally and take your kids on a tour of the factory.
* Department Stores
Turn a simple trip to the store into a fun field trip. Give the kids a list of items they need to find. Show them how match items to their right departments, how to do price comparison, and how to checkout and purchase their items. You might also call ahead and arrange a little tour “behind the scenes”, see if a member of staff would agree to show the children the warehouse or offices that are in the “restricted” areas of the store. Have the children make a list of questions ahead of time to ask the staff members to learn more about how a retail store functions and what it’s like to work in a department store.
Get each of your kids their own library card and teach them how books are categorized in the library and how they can find books on specific topics of interest.
* Pet Store or Vet.
If you have a pet, or are planning to get a pet, a field trip to the pet store or vet can be of great interest to your kids.
* Tour a Railroad Station.
Learn about the many different uses for trains and the importance of railway transportation. A ride on a train can be an added bonus and an experience your children will never forget.
* Visit a Farm.
Get in touch with a local farmer and ask if they would give your students a tour. Learn about where food comes from and what kind of work goes into growing crops and caring for animals. Also a great time to learn about environmental issues and nutrition.
* Learn About Aviation.
Tour a small private air field or an aviation museum. Learn about how air travel has changed over the years since the Wright Brother’s first invention of the “flying machine”.
* Visit a Local Bakery.
Learn about baking bread, pastries, and other bakery goods and see first hand how they are made on a large scale.
* Nice Restaurant.
This can be a great field trip for older kids. Learn about all that goes into running a nice restaurant.
* Tour a Recycling Plant or Land Fill.
A great way for your kids to learn about the environmental wastes and the importance of recycling. Encourage them to notice which items are made out of recycled material and get them engaged in setting up a recycling system in your home.
* Visit a Ghost Town.
Ghost towns are more common than you might think, so look around your area and see if there is one near you. Visiting a deserted town can be a great opportunity to talk about industry, economy, and the reasons why people choose to move or live in certain locations.
* Learn About Water Treatment.
Visit a water treatment facility and learn about where your water comes from. You may also consider a tour to a dam, which can be a great environmental study.
* Sports Event.
Even if you’re kids are huge sports fans, they can still get a lot of out sports events. Consider studying the game ahead of time so that the kids are familiar with all the rules and have perhaps played the game a few times themselves.
* TV or Radio Station.
Give your kids a look behind the scenes in the area of network broadcasting.
* Newspaper Publisher.
Let your kids see what goes into putting together a newspaper, everything from the journalists, photographers, editors, and printers.
Make the Most of Your Field Trip Experience
1. Visit With Other Families.
Field trips are often the most fun when you have a nice sized group, and more enjoyable for both parents and children when you have friends along to share the experience and discoveries with. Some facilities will also require a minimum number of people to take a tour, so forming a group of homeschool families can be a help.
2. Plan in Advance.
Check ahead to make sure you know the days and hours that the location is open and operational. Call ahead, if needed, to arrange the field trip. Also check online for resources that you can use with your children to encourage their discovery and enhance the learning opportunities.
3. Match Field Trips with Class Topics.
Make the most of your field trips by learning as much about the subject as you can before the field trip, and then having some follow up time to review what you’ve learned or to go more in depth in further study. For example, if you are planning a field trip to the post office, you might first do a study on Ben Franklin, the Pony Express, or get your kids started in compiling a stamp collection. You can get books or videos from the library, or look up information online. Find out as much as you can about the postal service, so your kids will be informed and really engaged when you go on the field trip.
4. Don’t Make the Visit Too Long.
If you’re one of those people who has to read every sign and see every exhibit, be warned. Your children will likely get bored and tired, and once that happens the trip will no longer be fun for anyone.
5. Try to Visit a Place More Than Once.
The first time you visit a location the kids will be very excited and will just want to rush around and see as much as they can in as short a time as possible. This is a good way for them to get a feel for the place and what it has to offer. Once they have a good “overview” of the location, they will have more of an idea of what they want to learn more about, or which areas are worth returning to for further discovery. The second or third time you visit a location will allow them to really start to go deeper in their learning and discovery, this is a good time to give them scavenger hunts, questionnaires, or other assignments to really enhance their learning.
Search for field trips by location – LOTS of field trip ideas listed!
Find field trips your area with Field Trip Factory
Find Field Trip Destinations in your state.
Find Field Trips in the Northeast USA
Check out Roadside America, which has an extensive list of “off the beaten path” attractions, historical monuments, parks, etc. Search by zip code to find what is in your area.
Also check out A2Z Homeschooling, which has a great list of articles and resources to help you make the most of your field trip experiences.