It doesn’t matter if you are part of a local homeschool co-op, have a group of homeschooling friends, or your homeschool style is more private. Field trips are a great way to introduce some hands on learning to your kids. Taking a few hours to get out of the house and visit some local places is a great way to introduce subjects and even underscore information you have already covered.
If you live in a large city field trip locations may not be an issue. But for rural communities it can sometimes be a hassle to find field trip ideas that don’t break the bank. Here is a list of some great local
FREE field trip ideas
- Apple Picking – You can choose apple picking or any other local orchard to stress the importance of healthy foods. This is also a great way to teach the cycle from the ground to your kitchen table.
- Dairy Farm - Assuming your not a farming family, your children will enjoy seeing the animals and this also reinforces the food chain of farm to table.
- Newspaper – If your town has a newspaper office it is a great place to introduce kids to this seemingly dying art. Local reporters are nothing more than sleuths. Learning the art of observation and questioning; reporters can teach children to be more observant about their surroundings.
- Courthouse – Learning about local government is important to teach how the laws are carried out, and why those things are important. No words in a text book or lap-book will teach as much as seeing it first hand.
- 911 Center – Educating about emergency management can encourage kids to be more prepared when facing unexpected situations. This can be followed up with a trip to the Ambulance Service.
- Ambulance Service - A great place to learn the basics of how these men and women save lives everyday. You can also request basic first aid that is age appropriate for your children.
- Local Factories (manufacturers) – I still remember going to the crayon factory as a child. You may not have a manufacturer that cool in your town. But I am sure you have some sort of factory that will encourage a second look at the products we use everyday.
- Water Plant – Kids love to learn how things work. Learning how the water comes out of the faucet may not be as cool to a 16 yr old as it is for a 6 yr old, but it is still interesting to learn how your town handles its water supply.
- Animal Shelter – I will warn you right now a trip to the animal shelter can have your kiddos begging for a kitten or a puppy. They will also learn how important it is to properly care for animals, and to have them spayed and neutered. A good follow up trip to this is the Veterinarian.
- Car Dealership – I am a grown woman who has turned 29 more times than I will admit and I still love to look at rows of shiny cars at a large dealership. I love my
soccer mom standbyvan and I wouldn’t get a smaller car if you paid me. Well it depends on how much you were offering! Seriously, kids love to see how dealerships manage all those cars. Try to find a dealership that also has a large maintenance department. As a bonus try to plan your trip on a day and time that cars will be unloading from a semi.
- Nursing Home – This trip is a double sided joy. The residents in a nursing home are often overjoyed to see children. Children learn the importance of caring for our elders by seeing them en-mass. Bonus: Work with the events coordinator to have the children play checkers or do another activity with the residents. Afterword pass out homemade cards or pictures the children have drawn.
- Recycling Center – Most recycling centers not only sort paper from plastic, they also get in items that are new that they are willing to give away. My father in law used to work at the local recycling center and he came home one day with TONS of school supplies that the local school system had taken to the recycling center. I was in homeschooling heaven going through all those free goodies (most were still NIB).You may walk away from this trip with some nice freebies.
- State Police Post – If you have a local Post you can often get a bonus from this trip by getting a your child fingerprinted and have a child ID made in case of emergency. If you had that done when you went to the local Police station let the State Police know and they can talk about things such as investigative techniques etc.
Here are a few ‘No-Brainers’ for you. These are often the first trip ideas to come to mind when thinking of free field trips.
- Police Station
- Fire Station
So there you have it, a full year of free field trips if you go on one per month with 3 bonus trips thrown in. I did not mention museums and the like because more often than not you will have to pay entry. However keep a look in your local paper or online and you may be able to catch a “Free Day” where no admission fee is required.
If you have other ideas for free trips I would love to hear from you. Add your trip ideas to the comments below.