If you're homeschooling your children, you know that letting them get out of the house and pursue learning opportunities in the larger world is an important part of their learning process. After all, all the things that they learn don't mean much unless they can apply them to the real world. If you're looking for some great ways to help your kids learn on a field trip, here's a list of ideas that can help enrich their knowledge about a wide range of subjects.
History and Government
Check out these ideas for ways to learn about the history and government of our nation.
- Spend the day at a historical site significant to your lessons. There are thousands of historical sites in the United States and it's likely that there are at least one or two close to where you live. Spend the day exploring one to bring the history in your lessons to life.
- Walk through your state or city capitol. This is a valuable chance to learn about government and the history of your state or city.
- Take a walk through a notable cemetery. It might seem morbid but touring the cemetery will give you an excuse to talk about the well-known people who are buried there and the history behind them.
- Learn more about ancient history by visiting an archaeological site. In America, there are a wide range of archaeological sites to visit, most related to Native American culture, that can let your kids get a window to the past as see how archaeologists work.
- Find out more about presidents, thinkers and important people at historic birthplace museums. Do you live near the birthplace of a famous person? Take your kids along and spend the day learning about the impact this person made on the world.
- Ask to show your students around a local fire or police station. This way, they can learn more about these municipal workers and how they respond to emergencies.
- Walk in the footsteps of the past on a historic trail. Travel the same roads as people did hundreds of years ago with an education bike or hike on a historical trail.
- Learn how mail works at the post office. Let your students write letters and visit the post office to mail them to gain a better understanding of how our US mail system works.
- See the past in action by visiting a historical reenactment. A Civil War reenactment or a trip to a historical town like Williamsburg can help bring American history to life for your students.
- Learn about Native American culture at a historical site or museum. These sites will help you to teach your kids more about the people who have called America home for thousands of years.
Science and Nature
These ideas will have you enjoying the wonders of the natural world.
- Plan a visit to a science center or museum. You'll be able to engage in all kinds of interactive learning experiences and hopefully get your students excited about science.
- Get a laboratory tour. Are your little learners intrigued by how scientists work? Take a tour of a laboratory to see how tests are performed and how real science works.
- Get a greater understanding of the night sky through a show at a planetarium. There are usually a wide range of fun programs you can take students to that will help them understand the constellations and the solar system.
- Take an afternoon to study animals and their habitats at the zoo. Taking a trip to the zoo can be a great way to not only learn about animals but the environments they call home as well.
- See what natural wonders a natural history museum holds. From dinosaur bones to artifacts from people living long ago, these museums offer a chance for your learners to discover the history of our planet and our people.
- Study the names and appearance of trees at an arboretum. Give your kids a course in botany by visiting an arboretum, studying the trees and learning about plant biology.
- Get a chance to see the wonders of the world's oceans at an aquarium. Aquariums offer young learners a chance to get up close and personal with all kinds of sea creatures. If you don't have an aquarium near you, consider a local shop that sells tropical fish as an alternative to study fish and corals.
- Go for a hike in a nearby park or woods. It'll give you a chance to learn about local plants and animals as well as more general science topics.
- Learn how plants grow at a greenhouse. Taking a trip to a commercial greenhouse is a great way to learn about the life cycle of plants.
- Camp out in the woods (or your backyard) for a night. You'll get to experience nature firsthand, learn how hard it might have been for early settlers and spend some time looking at the night sky.
- Delve into the depths with a trip to a cave. Caves are a natural formation that can not only teach kids about water and earth cycles but are a great way to appreciate the natural beauty of the world.
- Study your local biome with an environmental tour. If you're studying biomes why not go outside and find evidence of what your local biome is?
- Study the skies at an observatory. If there is a nearby observatory at a research institution or college, use a tour as a way to learn more about how scientists study the skies.
- Go bird watching to see the birds that call your area home. Learn more about the types, habits and calls of the birds in your neighborhood.
- Explore the natural world in a national or state park. National and state parks are full of educational experiences that range from the scientific to the historical.
Take in some culture by taking your kids on one of these field trips.
- Study a play performed in a theater. If you've been reading Shakespeare, take the time to go see it performed live for a better understanding of what drama is.
- Learn more about famous artists at an museum. Learn about the artists who shaped culture and history through their works at a local art museum.
- Plan a trip to a local religious facility. Study a religion or belief system outside of your own by visiting a church, mosque, synagogue or Hindu temple.
- See artists in action at an art studio. If you're teaching budding young artists, consider taking them to an art studio to see how real artists make and prepare their works.
- Take in a local festival. There are local festivals of all varieties but these will give you a chance to celebrate products and people important to your local community.
- Listen up at a local concert or orchestral performance. Seeing an orchestra or band live can help inspire your kids to pick up an instrument and play, or can provide the foundation for lessons on music.
- Teach your students about photography with their own photo shoots. Let your kids take photographs on their own photoshoot to help them learn about the power and pleasure of documenting the world around them. Add some text to the photos and have your students create their own newspaper about their travels.
- Visit a make-your-own pottery studio. Get your hands dirty and learn more about pottery making, and it's history, by making your own.
- Learn more about famous authors by visiting their cities or places they wrote about. Study up on famous writers, their works and their time period by visiting an artist's home or the settings for their books.
- Make arts and crafts at a local store or studio. Help your kids embrace their artistic side with classes at a local studio or craft store where they can learn everything from sewing to painting.
Learn more about where the products and services we use every day originate through these great excursions.
- Find a local factory and take a tour. From chocolate to cars, touring a factory is a great education in where things come from.
- Learn more about transportation at a railway station or take a train ride of your own. You can learn about the importance of the railroad through a tour of a station or take to the rails yourself to experience rail travel firsthand. Ask your students to compare it to other forms of travel.
- Plan a trip to a farm to learn where food comes from. Your kids might know food comes from somewhere but they might not be aware of how much work it takes to get it to the supermarket. A trip to a farm will help them learn about farming, environmental issues and eating right.
- Take in the sights at an aviation museum. Flight changed how we interact with the world. Learn more about the history of it at a local museum or airport.
- Spend an afternoon at a fish hatchery, learning about the life cycle and production of fish. Your students will get a chance to see biology first-hand and learn where their food comes from.
- Go to a bakery to see how breads, pastries and other baked goods are made. Baking bread can be a lesson in chemistry, and watching it made on a large scale can be an educational and delicious trip.
- Pick fruits and vegetables at a local orchard or farm. Your kids will get to enjoy a day working, but also understand how farming works and learn about plant reproduction.
- Visit a ghost town. Ghost towns are more common than you think so look around your area for one to see to teach your students about industry and the economy.
- Find out about where power comes from at a local power plant. We often take for granted that we have power when we need it, so show your kids just where it comes from with a power plant tour– a great lesson for chemistry and science studies as well.
Explore your own community for learning experiences with these ideas.
- Study distinctive homes in your community. It's a great way to learn more about architecture and the history of your community.
- Plan out a tour on foot or on bike of your city. You'll be able to hit the major landmarks that define the past and present of your city.
- Learn respect for all creatures with a trip to a local animal shelter. By learning about animals, your students will be more inclined to treat them with respect and work to protect them.
- Get valuable business lessons from a local entrepreneur. Want your kids to learn more about business? Get a local entrepreneur or business to show your kids the ropes.
- See where your water comes from at a water treatment facility. Do your kids wonder where the water they drink comes from? A tour of a treatment plant can show them how it gets to the tap and what a valuable resource water can be.