10 Fun Field Trip Ideas for Homeschooling Families
Students of all ages enjoy going on field trips, especially when they are given the opportunity to include their own ideas. It can be easy to forget about the learning opportunities that field trips provide and don’t forget that you can invite other homeschooling families to join you. Below are some unique field trip ideas for your homeschooling journey.
Unique Homeschool Field Trip Ideas
- Zoo – Help children understand the different types of wild animals and how they live in the wild.
- Aquarium – This field trip will be enjoyed by every age. You can incorporate math, science, and writing into your field trip experience.
- Grocery Store – Visit a new grocery store that gives the child the opportunity to learn how groceries are delivered, stocked, and priced. You could even have children create a meal plan and grocery shop for their next cooking lesson.
- Historical Homes – What better way to learn how more about our history than to experience it firsthand through touring historical homes. These houses are decorated in antiques that were used at that specific time.
- Art Museum – Give your children the opportunity to view every kind of art that is available. Many times, children struggle with art or have difficulty finding something to which they can relate. By exposing your children to the endless possibilities available to them you may just ignite a love or hidden talent for art.
- Bakery – You may be able to have a hands-on cooking lesson at your local bakery. Oftentimes the baker will allow students to bake bread or decorate cookies.
- Radio or TV station – If you live close to either a radio station or television station then your students will have a rare, real up-close experience of how entertainment is published.
- Botanical Gardens – Exposing your children to rare and beautiful plants, rare wildlife, and butterfly gardens. You can use binoculars and look at the different types of birds in their natural habitats.
- Theatre – Call ahead and see if you can spend the day learning about the art of performing. You may even be able to tour the stage, behind the scenes, and how the actors change into characters.
- Farms – Taking field trips to a variety of farms allows students to see where their food comes from, whether the farm focuses on beef, milk, fish, wheat, etc. Many farms also have a variety of animals, vegetables, and fruit gardens.
When you plan your field trips consider taking a packed lunch and some money just in case there are gift shops. Children enjoy purchasing tiny trinkets to take home. You may want to have each child carry a lightweight bookbag in case they receive hand-outs. These hand-out or brochures can be taken home and used for furthering the children’s educational experience.
The fun lessons don’t end once the field trip is over. In fact, you and the children can create school-based projects from the education they received during their trip. Look around your community and see what other unique field trips you can schedule throughout your homeschooling year.
Getting the Most Out of Your Field Trips
When you take the time and money to invest in field trips then you’ll want to be sure to make the most of each experience. Depending on the age of your children consider having them take part in the following activities.
- Take Pictures – Have your child use a kid-friendly and encourage them to take pictures of the things they see. It is amazing to look at the world through the eyes of children.
- Go on a Scavenger Hunt – Use a list you create or make it up as you go. This type of activity keeps your student’s attention during the tour. Use a map of your location to make the scavenger hunt easier for you.
- Get Kids Involved – Ask them questions throughout the tour. When you engage everyone in your family you create a sense of involvement and fun.
- Use Hands-On Activities – Ask what type of activities your children can participate in. Some field trips allow children to pet the animals, pick vegetables, or even bake. The more interactive the activities the more likely your children will learn and retain the information.
- Don’t Skimp on Attractions – Even though related attractions may cost an additional fee, they will add an element of curiosity and fun. Create a budget before you announce a specific field trip that way you can surprise your children once you arrive. Most field trips have upcharges that give you the option to pet animals, get pictures with specific animals, or even try a unique food item.
- Create Field Trip Notes – For your own information, keep a notebook about what your children enjoy most out of each field trip. This information will give you lesson plan ideas.
- Create Field Trip Memory Books – Take photos, note funny or surprising events and other memorable things.
- Get Feedback – Give your children the opportunity to tell you about their favorite experiences. This information can be used the next day during your homeschooling lessons by encouraging your student to write or draw a picture of what they liked best.
Field trips should be fun and educational for everyone in the family. Take into consideration the location, how far you will travel, your budget, and the age of your children. If you have a child that gets motion sickness or is young, consider taking extra precautions to make their trip as enjoyable as the rest of the family. You may want to call ahead to check on group rules and pricing along with any type of special events that will be taking place the day you plan to arrive. There’s nothing more disappointing than arriving at your destination just to find there is something closed.
Practical Field Trips for Learning
Grocery Store Field Trip Ideas
Your homeschooled child might already have the grocery store memorized, but have they been responsible for making purchases according to a list and budget? If not, then we have some ideas for you and your family. Children can become bored when it comes to grocery shopping so why not make it fun, interactive, and of course, educational.
Grocery shopping is not often an enjoyable task but is necessary for everyday living. Technology allows us the luxury to create a digital shopping list, or even order our groceries for pick or delivery. When you use grocery shopping as a lesson plan on its own, you now have three options. Those options include:
- Create your digital grocery using your smartphone app
- Write your grocery list on paper and carry it with you to the store
- Order your groceries for pick-up or delivery
To make this a fun field trip consider allowing your students to create the meal plan for the family, once that is accomplished they would then create a grocery list. If you want your student to practice their handwriting then have them hand write their grocery list. If you would like your student to practice using a smartphone or laptop then allow them to use the online digital grocery list option.
After your student decides on the meals for the week, they could now write the grocery list. When writing the grocery list, you could teach them how to find the items in each aisle of the grocery store. This will help the students organize their shopping and keep them on task, so they do not get lost in the store.
Grocery shopping teaches time management, budgeting, nutrition, and planning. Even young children can participate by learning to follow your instructions, walk beside your grocery cart, and learn to read labels on food packages. Be sure to grocery shop when everyone is well-rested and has already eaten that way you can enjoy your learning experience.
Young Children or Special Considerations
If your children are young such as in Preschool or Kindergarten or have special learning considerations, then perhaps show them how to make a picture-based grocery list. Allow the child to help you find the items on the shelves, being careful they do not pick up glass jars. You could either print the pictures of the groceries or allow the child to use safety scissors to cut out pictures from the weekly flyer and glue them onto paper.
Scavenger Hunt Shopping
If you would like to give your children a unique challenge, consider having them look for specific items such as the food pyramid challenge. You would begin by teaching nutrition based on the food pyramid. Have your child work with you to create a meal plan based on the information you used and then take this list to the grocery store. Give your child the task of finding the food items or items like what is on your list. Learning opportunities at the grocery store are limitless for your homeschooled children. Make it interesting and give them tasks based on their age, maturity, and ability.
Another idea for adding fun to homeschool lessons is to assign a unique activity to either a particular subject or day of the week. For example, you could make a weekly calendar and assign a fun activity based on that day. It might look something like this:
- Monday – Make a dessert for the family. Base the dessert on a science or nutrition lesson that you are teaching.
- Tuesday – Play a memory-based game using words or pictures from the students’ vocabulary or natural science studies.
- Wednesday – Participate in church or group activities.
- Thursday – Free time is a great way to allow the children to pick a game or activity that they enjoy. It should be connected to one of their lessons.
- Friday – Go on family outings such as bowling or movie night.
- Saturday – Plan for next week’s lessons and encourage the children to give you ideas for fun activity for the next week.
- Sunday – Enjoy your day off.
When you work with your children brainstorm a list of fun, lesson-based activities. This encourages them to be active participants in their education, while having fun moments that will be remembered for many years.
Unplanned Elements of Fun
During the day, you may see that the children are just not able to focus on the lesson they are learning. When this happens maybe take an unscheduled break and do something fun. The one game that is easy to play and is enjoyed by all ages is Bingo. You can use number or picture Bingo cards and make it even more fun with prizes.
Prizes make even the most boring game enjoyable. These prizes don’t need to be fancy or expensive, in fact, they can be useful everyday items. Prizes can be:
- DIY coupons you’ve printed that are good for one hour of free time
- Candy or other favorite snacks
- Bouncy balls
- Crazy straws
- Tiny activity books
Use your imagination or take the children to the store to pick out prizes to keep in your treasure box. A treasure box is something that can hold your homeschooling prizes and awards. Children of all ages like to win prizes and earn awards.
Fun Lessons in the Kitchen
The kitchen seems to be the one room in the house where everyone wants to gather. When it comes to homeschooling, there is always the option to teach many of your science and math lessons directly from the kitchen. What better way to teach science and math than to use hands-on and interactive, yet fun, lesson plans using edible teaching aides?
Cooking activities can be altered to the age and ability of children. Before you begin, be sure to find appropriate ideas. Safety is always the first consideration when it comes to all cooking lessons. You may want to go over safety rules before allowing the child to access anything in the kitchen. If you struggle with kitchen safety, then go online and search for training videos that you and your children can watch together. Next, gather your safety and hygiene items such as:
- Safety knives
- Hot pads
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Food scale
Now that you have gone over some safety rules and have gathered the necessary tools, you are on your way to making the next science or math lesson interactive and fun. Children love being involved in cooking and when you combine their school lesson with food, you’re sure to help them comprehend their lesson.
Weights and Conversion
Have your students weigh the dry ingredients using a food scale. Be sure to watch as they do so, and offer your assistance if they need help, but don’t do it for them. Cake and pancake recipes are great for learning about weights and conversions.
Math concepts such as fractions can really be difficult for students to comprehend. If your child is having difficulty with this concept consider making their lessons and homework based on real-life such as cooking. Your students can learn their fractions by creating salad dressings and sauces.
Shapes and Geometric
Purchase a variety of basic cookie cutters that include a square, circle, triangle, and other simple shapes that relate to the lesson. Allow the students to cut out the shapes and match them to a workbook page. To use in the kitchen, you may want to use cookie dough, pie crust, or pizza dough.
Cookie cutters aren’t just for cooking. You can allow your children to trace each cookie cutter and create their own pictures. Add a unique element by allowing the younger children to glue dried pasta or beans to the shape once they have it traced. Cookie cutters can often be purchased for cheap at thrift stores, dollar stores, or even at yard sales.
Timing and Time Management
To learn how to manage time and understand temperature consider assisting the student with cooking an entire meal, with sides, for the family. Try your hand at making a full course meal such as pot roast with roasted vegetables and rolls or holiday-themed meals.
The idea with time management and cooking is to have your older child incorporate their lessons from math and nutrition classes to create a meal that requires multiple steps. You could give prompts such as how many minutes are in two hours? If a serving size is ½ a cup per person and we have five people eating, how many cups of vegetables do you need to buy and cook?
Science in the Kitchen
There are simple edible science experiments that teach children more about science. Some of the ideas are:
- Ice Cream
- Friendship bread
- Popcorn popping
- Sugar crystals
There are also non-edible science experiments that require food products. Here are a few experiments that you may want to do.
- Find out why apples turn brown once they are cut.
- Discover how to inflate a balloon without blowing it up.
- Identify why volcanoes erupt using baking soda.
If cooking is not an option then consider making DNA out of candy pieces or even geodes. There are dozens of ideas online, try your search on Pinterest.com for more edible homeschooling lessons plans and ideas.
Arts and Craft Ideas
Nothing says hands-on learning like adding arts and crafts to your lesson plans. You can create DIY craft ideas, shop at your local dollar stores, or even online at a place such as OrientalTrading.com.
Look for items such as:
- Sticker by number
- Paint by number
- Color by number
- Grow a vegetable
- Grow a plant
All these kits offer a complete art or craft project and are often sold in bulk. Children love watching vegetables and flowers grow from a seed they get to plant. Visit your local home improvement store and see if they still offer hands-on workshops such as building birdhouses and learning how to use a hammer and nail.
Learning Beyond the Textbook
If you have a local community college or adult education center they may offer summer programs for homeschooled children of all ages. Oftentimes these classes include an auto shop, how to fix a flat tire, how to complete an oil change and even landscaping. By offering your children options outside of the homeschool classroom and beyond textbooks, you may just open a door to finding a hidden talent or passion.
Children of all ages enjoy going on field trips, experimenting in the kitchen, and having free time for themselves. Be sure to schedule activities outside of your home so your children can still be in social groups and interact with the public. Your local library may offer afterschool activity groups, reading discussion groups, and other interest-based events. These are fun to attend and are usually at no cost to you and your family.
Volunteering will also bring both fun and functional experience to your children’s homeschooling schedule. If your child shows an interest in the medical field then contact your local hospital or health clinic to see if they have any volunteer opportunities. Additional volunteer opportunities may be found at:
- Food banks
- Soup kitchen
- Community clean-up
- YMCA Summer Camps
One last thought about adding fun to your lessons is to consider joining a local social and educational based group such as:
- Girl Scouts
- Boy Scouts
These organizations combine hands-on activities with written lessons and require participating in every aspect of their chosen topic. When you join one of these groups, your student is learning, having fun, and socializing. This information looks great in the homeschooler’s portfolio and even is useful for when they start applying for their first job.
The life skills that are learned in a group setting give you a break from being the homeschooling parent because you may be able to drop your student off for an hour or so once a week. This small break can give you the opportunity to grade papers or just take a break. Remember, you need to have fun and take breaks just as much as your children.