Whether you're a teacher, a camp or day care employee, or a parent, planning field trips for your young charges is important. While schedule and consistency are vital for all kids, they also need exciting special occasions to look forward to. Field trips inspire the body and mind as they broaden a child's experience and horizons.
With childhood obesity on the rise, physical fitness needs to be a priority for school age kids. Active field trips can spark an interest in new sports, events, or games. Geocaching is a captivating sport for kids. Boxes called geocaches are hidden in different locations all across the country; find the GPS coordinates of a geocache or two and take the kids on a treasure hunt. Geocache locations range from the easy terrain in public parks to more challenging hiking trails. Not only will kids learn to love hiking, they'll also learn how to use a GPS. Any sport can become a potential field trip. Find an expert to come speak to kids about the activity, have the kids complete research or art projects about the sport, and then, on field trip day, take the kids to a facility where they can learn how to play for themselves. For example, contact a competitive speed skater to come in and speak to the kids about the sport. Then let the kids research speed skating and create a poster about an Olympic speed skater. Finally, schedule time at an ice arena for the kids to try skating out for themselves. A simple trip to the park can be made new by organizing some games. After the kids have time to play freely on the park's playground, get a relay race going. Or show kids how to play horseshoes, volleyball, badminton, or any other game the park has facilities for. Better yet, visit the park before the field trip and set up an orienteering course.
A field trip brings education to life in ways a classroom lesson can't. Choose a field trip that enhances what your kids have been learning about in school or reading about in books. That way, their interest will already be piqued and they'll begin the field trip with some base knowledge. For example, if students are studying a certain time period in history, you can augment the lesson by researching art from the same period. Art often reflects life; it can offer children a different view of the period. Then take a trip to an art museum; make it fun by sending kids on a scavenger hunt looking for certain artists or pieces. (Divide the kids into teams with at least one adult chaperon.)
Virtual Field Trips
Sometimes budget or weather doesn't allow for an actual field trip. But that doesn't mean an escape from day-to-day activities isn't possible. Virtual field trips offer an educational break from routine. Through the Internet, kids can do amazing things such as explore Leonardo da Vinci's workshop or work as a virtual Peace Corps volunteer. Before setting the kids loose on the web site you've selected, spend some time discussing the topic. Also plan a related art project or activity after the kids are done with their virtual field trip.