Field trip season is almost upon us! Every year I tell myself we’re not going to get caught up in the throngs of school children as they and their teachers take advantage of nice weather and no more state tests; I’ve advised you to do the same. As hard as I try, though, we always end up out in the crowds at least a few times because we have some yearly favorites. This week we’ve been road tripping every single day, and I’ve got a few tips for you to make sure you have the best field trip possible, no matter when you take it!
- Look over your lesson plans. Are there any topics you can tie in with your field trip? Sometimes it’s easy to find something that goes along with your topic of study just when you’re learning about it, and that’s wonderful. Other times, you notice something on the calendar (MetroFamily’s calendar is a great resource!) that has nothing to do with anything you’re studying, but you know it would be a great learning opportunity. Go ahead with it! If it’s something you already studied, it will be a great review; if you haven’t gotten to it yet, it will give your kids some background when you do. You can also add anything to your lessons ahead of the field trip if your kids will need some information before they go.
- Research the site. Check out their website for their hours and prices and any special events that are coming up. If you’ve never been there before, see if they have maps, parking information, or anything else you’ll need to actually get yourself to the site. If it’s very far from home, call ahead to confirm that they will be open. Trust me on that one.
- Decide who’s going. Are you going by yourselves or are you going with friends? Friends are pretty much always a fun addition to a trip, but remember that if you’re increasing the number of people in your group, you’re also going to increase the amount of time each stop will take. If you have a group, plan ahead to make sure you have time to see and do everything on your list. If you’re just taking your own family, you’ll have more leeway to change your plans.
- Bring contact information with you. This is really important if you’re going somewhere you’ve never been and if you’re far from home. Write it down, put it in your phone, whatever works best for you, but make sure you have a way to contact the site if you have a problem getting there
- Check the maps before you leave. Google Maps and I have become really good friends lately because we’ve been going all over northeastern Oklahoma. I can zoom in to see if the map is correct—because sometimes it’s not—and I can see what else is nearby, which is especially important if you’re going to need a place to eat or a park to run off some energy before getting back in the car.
- Pack extras. Bring extra snacks, extra clothes, and extra books for the car. They will come in handy. Pack it the night before so you’re not running around like crazy in the morning.
- Plan for when you get home. If I’ve been on the go all day in the car with two kids, the last thing I want to do when I get home is cook dinner. Put something in the crockpot, pull something from the freezer, or plan on calling for a pizza—just knowing that you’re not going to go home to more work is going to make you happier and make the trip go better!
Now it’s time to hit the road and have some fun!