4 Educational Family Field Trips

Educational family field trips are an excellent option for students to interact with the world and their surroundings in a new way. Family field trips also provide a change of scenery and bonding time that are great for all parties involved. Educational family field trips may include trips to historic parks, local farms, or a number of other local events that cater to this purpose for kids.

The following are four educational family field trips that can get you and your family out of the house, and your bodies and minds working!

Field Trip Idea #1: Museums

You might start out with children’s museums that provide kid-centered activities and exhibits, but don’t limit yourself to just those. Regular museums will often have some programming geared toward kids or have rooms that are especially kid-friendly; ask someone who works at the museum to point you to them, or do some research online before you go. Regular exhibits that don’t necessarily target children can also provide a great learning experience with your guidance.

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Discuss any ground rules and limit yourself to a few exhibits. At art museums, for example, which may seem daunting with their quietness, encourage your child to ask questions about artwork and discuss reactions to what he or she sees. You might set up a scavenger hunt or bring a sketchbook to engage your child. Don’t forget about smaller museums that are specific to your town, as well as zoos, aquariums, and planetariums. The may offer summer learning programs your child can explore as well, if you wish to keep those in mind.

Field Trip Idea #2: Local farms

Check out working farms in your area for a new experience for your child. This can include any place that grows food, such as:

  • dairy farms

  • apple orchards

  • pumpkin patches

  • maple syrup farms

  • grain mills

Consider what time of year is best for the particular farm you choose; depending on when, you might be able to see seasonal-specific operations like cider-making or harvesting. Besides learning more about how food is made, your children may be able to engage in hands-on activities, like milking cows or goats, collecting eggs, or interacting with animals at a petting zoo. If you live in a city, you might be able to check out an urban garden or an indoor hydroponic garden.

Field Trip Idea #3: Parks and botanical gardens

Look into local, state, or national parks near you for a nature hike, or an afternoon on the beach or by the water. For a fee, you might be able to canoe or kayak if there’s a body of water. Inquire ahead of time or stop by the visitor’s center to see if they offer any programming geared toward indigenous plants and animals. A park ranger or someone who works at the visitor’s center will often be able to suggest what to do and see around the park, depending on your children’s interests.

Botanical gardens, sometimes attached to a park and sometimes standalone, can offer a different range of flowers and plants that your child may have never seen. You might be able to find a butterfly garden where you and your family can match pictures of butterflies to those flying around above you. Don’t forget about greenhouses and underground caverns as well.

Field Trip Idea #4: Local cultural arts events

See what live performances are happening in your town, like theater, dance, ballet, a concert or recital, or opera. Check out films shown by your local library (often, they’ll have kids’ days or nights) or by a local college. In addition to being a fun way to go out together as a family, your child can learn more about different kinds of arts and expression. Your town or city is likely to have festivals and outdoor art shows as well—sometimes based around holidays or specific cultures—which often have activities and arts-and-crafts stations for kids. Plus, they are excellent places to stroll around and get to know local artists and community members.

When learning starts to feel stuffy inside your house or in the classroom, it can be time to get out as a family and engage with places and spaces in your greater community. Don’t forget to research fun and engaging activities to keep students learning over the summer, too! There are endless opportunities if you do a little digging and get creative.

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