Family Field Trips: Creating Learning Experiences for Your Kids
Field trips are an exciting opportunity in each child’s life. We all remember our class trips, and some make lasting impacts, educating, entertaining, and exposing us to new ideas and interests. These excursions are designed to promote growth in your child through experience and knowledge, inside and outside of the classroom.
Although school field trips are an invaluable resource, it’s important to instill an adventurous life at home for your child’s development.
How to plan your next family field trip
Designing and executing your own field trip is a wonderful way to bond with and support your children. There are plenty of options to choose from.
Museums, attractions, and events
These three categories are an obvious win for any parent looking to stimulate their child’s education. From “please touch” museums to petting zoos, there are plenty of activities already prepared for children to live, laugh, and learn.
Every parent should take advantage of the options in their area; whether that be a state fair, holiday gathering, or local theater. The options are endless. Creating your own field trip can truly be as simple as finding a museum that fits your child’s current coursework. Learning about history? Luckily, it took place all over the world! You can find artifacts from almost any historical event at specialized museums, even local ones near you.
A great way to decide which of these venues is perfect for your student’s adventure is to have a chat. Find out what they’re learning in the classroom, and more specifically, ask what they’re most excited about in school. Younger children might be learning about simple subjects like the ocean or farming; these opportunities are perfect to seize with a trip to an Aquarium or a day out picking fruit from an orchard. If your child has developed a love for astronomy and the stars, find a planetarium to visit!
Teenagers often develop more concrete interests, and you would be surprised at the amount of options available! If your teenager is into music, perhaps a visit to an orchestra is in hand. A student in middle school might benefit from being exposed to various options. People often begin to "find themselves" in middle school, and taking your student to all sorts of locations can spark interests.
The real goal is to find out what your student will love and how this can impact their education. A field trip can also just be plain old fun! If your student is into sports, take them out to a game! The truth is, there’s no better way to make some memories than a family field trip.
Sometimes education pairs with experience in ways we don’t anticipate. Taking your child out for some outdoor fun creates fond memories and introduces them to the world at large. A simple hike can lead to finding out interesting facts, like learning to find and pick wild raspberries or the names of the animals in your area. There are plenty of apps, like iNaturalist, for identifying wildlife to aid you in the process!
Not everything has to be as aggressive as a hike; a nice picnic outing can turn into a lesson in kite-flying, and a day at the beach introduces children to a world of wonders, from sand castles to body surfing and everything in between.
Think about hobbies that you yourself are interested in, ones that you think you could demonstrate to your child in a meaningful way. Perhaps you’ve got a knack for fishing; well that’s a wonderful life skill to pass on to your kids! These kinds of opportunities lead to learning along the way, understanding the nature around us, and building small skills that lead to healthy habits and hobbies.
Field trips without borders
A field trip has no borders. You cannot educate within the confines of organizations alone; that’s why it’s important to have discussions with your students about their interests and their current curriculum.
Let’s say your child loves animals. They’ve specifically grown fond of amphibians. Where can we find those? Everywhere! This could turn into a fun salamander hunt in your backyard or a trip to a pond to catch and study some tadpoles.
Does your child like arts and crafts? You could easily access some art classes in your local area, but why not take that up a notch? Even a night of cooking can turn into an educational excursion. Maybe you take your child out to paint some trees in the park or teach them how watercolor works. Tie-dyeing shirts is always a fun time, you can bring that anywhere you go!
Or if your child is more interested in socialization, contact a few friends and invest in a slip-and-slide for a summertime treat. The reality is—you can turn almost anything into a field trip and create fulfilling experiences in your student’s life. These experiences nurture their academic curriculum and personhood throughout every stage of development; don’t wait for your school’s next event! Design your own.
Virtual and in-person events at Laurel Springs School
Laurel Springs offers virtual and in-person field trips and events. Our students explore the world during virtual field trips, experiencing places off the beaten path. In-person trips are usually a bit easier to access. Take some time to learn what kind of clubs and activities your child has (or could have) access to as a Laurel Springs student.
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