My kids and I love being at home and we definitely thrive on consistent schedules. Learning can be so much fun when you can experience it in the comfort of your own home, but any school room no matter how fun it may be, still needs some variety!
We couldn’t have done our school year so far without stepping outside our walls into the amazing world that God has made for us. Along the way, we have found some trips that have worked and some that have not, but either way we have started to see that exploring no matter how grand it may be, is worth all the effort!
CONSIDER YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES. This is one I have learned the hard way. You may be limited on the time you have or the money you can spend. There are lots of field trips and activities out there to do and it can be overwhelming to choose which ones will be best for your family.
An adventurous group hike through the forest may sound great, but may not suit you with several young children that would need help. That’s ok, it’s only a season. You may not have enough money to purchase tickets for all your kids to the museum you want to go to. That’s ok too. Be creative with what you have and know the right time to do what activities.
LEARN AHEAD & BE PREPARED! If you are going to a museum, a special class, or an interesting landmark, take the time ahead of it to interest your kids before you go. Once you have hooked them, then you can let their imaginations fly as they see firsthand the lessons they have been learning.
Don’t forget to be prepared for food, potty breaks, and anything special your kids will need for the adventure. My children definitely need snacks to keep them going and since we never know quite where our adventures will lead us, I try to bring anything extra I can think of.
Currently my car has an extra stroller, a bucket, rain boots, nets, and sand toys. Just in case there are tadpoles, sand parks, or trails to walk on our way home. We love to detour!
SIMPLE & FREE TRIPS ARE AWESOME. Our small budget doesn’t always allow for the adventures we would like. But, we have learned that even though something may be simple or even free doesn’t mean it’s any less effective in teaching.
Some of our best adventures have been taking our canoe out along the river, hiking a wilderness trail, flying a kite at a local park, and embracing the times that places offer free nights. Did I mention we love FREE stuff?
ENJOY IT & SO WILL YOUR KIDS. We have all had our moments where an outing goes from a great idea to chaos. Nothing is more defeating then something you thought was going to be amazing trip to turn into a stressed out adventure.
I have to remind myself to relax sometimes and let go of all the details or expectations I may have for the trips we take. If I can enjoy it and pump it up for my kids, chances are they will be excited too! These days will be gone before we know it, so breathe deep, and roll with it!
FOLLOW UP. Use your car ride home to talk about their favorite parts. Ask them questions about what they saw, touched, or experienced.
I like to have my kids write or draw pictures of what they were most excited about. Sometimes I have gotten a picture from my daughter of us walking together on our trip and she has said, “I liked being with you while I was learning.” Yep, I’ll take it!
Learning together is about so much more then just the information. If my kids can capture my genuineness and excitement to be with them, then that’s a successful trip too!
Field Trips can be a little extra work. Planning, preparing, and packing up stuff can take effort. If you can choose the opportunities that best fit the needs of your family, learn a little beforehand, and just let go, it’s possible that these trips may be some of the best times together.
What tips do you have that help make trips work for your family?