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Homeschoolers get to take the best field trips. We are not limited to only places that can accommodate massive groups of children and we can usually work more than 1 or 2 into the annual budget . . . especially because many of these field trip spots are FREE!
I can recommend these homeschool field trip ideas because I have personally taken my kids to every single one of these places. Many of these homeschool field trip ideas can even accommodate babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. Gather a few friends and make a day of it!
Be sure to check Groupon and other deal sites to get your costs as low as possible. Money saved means more field trips.
Homeschool Field Trip Ideas
Zoos are a favorite spot for many children. Kids can observe animals they might not otherwise see in the wild. Kids can learn map reading skills, animal facts, and even a bit of geography as they read the descriptive plaques. Bring along one of these zoo scavenger hunts to keep everyone focused.
Aquariums let kids observe aquatic animals that they couldn’t see otherwise. Kids learn to care about protecting our planet when they see the wide range of animals impacted by their choices. This ocean bingo game is perfect for kids to play while waiting for an animal show.
Check out our field trip to the Maui Ocean Center.
Working farms are amazing places for kids to visit. Our summer with a CSA taught my children so much about life on a farm and where our food comes from. They learned that things grow in seasons and that sometimes hard work is involved in getting food to our table. Find a nearby farm here. Groupon frequently has discounted tickets to farms with family-friendly attractions.
Nature centers frequently host kid-friendly educational opportunities. The employees are an excellent resource for learning about your environment. I love adding in related books, either before or after, our nature center visits. Freshlyplanted.com has compiled a list of 25 kid-friendly nature books.
I highly recommend checking out the historical sites near your home. My kids love history and I think that is in part due to all of our field trips. Field trips to historic spots allow your children to really get a feel for what people of the past struggled with in their daily life. Lesli, from This Crazy Homeschool Life, has compiled a list of 100 historic sites to see in the United States.
Check out our field trip to Williamsburg.
Factories are excellent places to learn about manufacturing and assembly lines. Touring the Seattle Chocolates factory was one of our favorite field trips last year. You can even tour an Amazon fulfillment center! Just be sure to get on the wait list well in advance of when you want to go. It fills up fast!
A planetarium is an excellent spot for a homeschool field trip if you are studying the solar system or constellations. The light displays are amazing. It does get dark right before the show starts, so it might not be the best field trip idea if your child is afraid of the dark. Check this website for a list of some US planetariums. Be sure to ask around your community though. You might find smaller planetariums in specialty high schools.
If you have a child that is fascinated with trash trucks, I highly recommend a visit to a recycling center. You can even take a virtual field trip tour of a recycling center online.
Great Wolf Lodge
Homeschool p.e. anyone? This is a great place to burn off some extra energy during the months spent inside due to weather. Groupon frequently runs deals, making this overnight field trip a little more affordable. Some locations even host homeschool weeks.
You know how important I think it is to teach fire safety to kids. Taking a field trip to visit a fire station is an important part of that lesson. Kids can tour the station, but most importantly, they can see a fire fighter wearing all of the gear. That can look kind of scary and kids have been known to hide from fire fighters during rescue attempts. Seeing a fully dressed fire fighter in a safe setting helps prepare them. Here is a great field trip response worksheet to help kids process everything they learned.
Police stations are a natural fit for any child learning about community helpers or the criminal justice system. I recommend setting up a field trip with your local police station AND the helicopter unit. My kids thought the police station was interesting, but they really gained useful information from the helicopter unit tour. These are the officers that respond to situations such as lost children and catastrophic injuries, so they reinforce safety tips, like always wearing a bike helmet when riding on wheels.
I like to take a little treat when we go visit community helpers and these labeled M&M bags are perfect. They are cute, easy for a large crowd, and factory sealed so the treats are less likely to end up in the trash.
Grocery stores provide another piece of the ‘where does my food come from’ puzzle. Kids also learn about point of sale, bakeries and delis. Some grocery stores even offer nutrition lessons. Print out this grocery scavenger hunt and kids can find items and compare prices.
Pet stores are a perfect field trip idea if your child loves animals. Many pet stores sell a very limited variety of animals, but they do sell everything needed to care for a pet. Use this pet scavenger hunt at the pet store to lead a discussion about proper pet care.
Even young kids can enjoy art museums if they have the right preparation and parents have the right expectations. Plan to keep the visit fairly short if your kids are young or high energy. We found it worked well to focus on one exhibit each visit until Hannah and Ben were older and had longer attention spans. Choose 1 or 2 pieces to analyze with this handy guide.
Check out our field trip to the Portland Art Museum.
History museums are a natural fit for homeschool field trips because they can tie in with history lessons. These museums come in a range of sizes and cover a plethora of topics. You might even find small local history museums located in little old towns.
Science museums usually contain a wide range of science topics so you are almost guaranteed to find something that correlates with a lesson. These museums are usually full of hands on activities and experiments to keep little learners interested and engaged. Be sure to check out the online exhibit guide before you go, so you can see everything you want to see. Here is a list of science centers in the US. Sort it by state to search it a little easier.
Children’s museums are a great place for the 3-8 crowd to burn off a little energy while learning a bit too. Typical exhibits include building with large blocks, water play, light tables, and make believe. Many children’s museums offer discount nights every so often.
Fish hatcheries are perfect if your kids have any interest in fish. We toured our local fish hatchery as the salmon were returning to spawn and were able to see gorgeous salmon in all stages of life. They care a little more about keeping our streams healthy because they have seen salmon fighting their way back to the hatchery.
I am partial to pumpkin patches that actually grow pumpkins instead of the fall entertainment centers that seem to be common. Some pumpkin patches host a homeschool day each year with discounted entrance and educational classes. If you are in Virginia, I highly recommend checking out Belvedere Plantation.
State parks frequently host seminars led by park rangers. Some of these seminars are open to the public and some are special requests. Check out the state park website for your state and see what is available.
National parks tend to either have gorgeous scenery or historical sites. Kids can even take part in the junior ranger program. Be sure to check out the visitor center. Many national park visitor centers display exhibits that explain what the children will see in the park. Find a national park near you here.
Check out our field trip to Fort Clatsop.
Post offices are busy places with lots of moving parts. Schedule a behind the scenes tour and see how mail gets from one part of the country to another. Print off this copy of Post Office I Spy and keep toddlers entertained while their older siblings learn all about the mail process.
Military Base Museum
Military bases can be tricky places to visit, but if you have access to a military base museum I recommend you arrange a visit. The exhibits will be specific to the base. When we were in Barksdale, LA, we saw old bomber planes. The base in Quantico, VA featured marine involvement in various wars.
Touring your state capitol building is a great way to garner interest in state politics. Every state capitol follows a different protocol for setting up field trips, so you will need to check with your state officials to find out how to set up a tour.
Botanical gardens are beautiful enchanting places. We like to just walk around and enjoy all of the gorgeous plant life. If you have an artist on your hands, be sure to bring a sketchbook. Check out these reasons why visiting a botanical garden is important.
Attending a symphony or concert is a great way to foster a love for music. Many symphonies perform special concerts for children. They are shorter in length and play more recognizable tunes. Some even host instrument petting zoos so the kids can get up close and personal with the instruments.
Gather a few friends and call up a local restaurant to schedule a homeschool field trip. Restaurant field trips often include a behind the scenes tour of the kitchen. You might even be able to get a little snack. Here is a list of restaurants that offer field trips.
My family is a big fan of heading to the movie theater after we finish reading a book. Read the book, watch the movie, and compare which you liked better. My kids start looking forward to this as soon as they start seeing the new movie trailers.
Live performance ideas include puppet shows, plays, and dances, just to name a few. Kids seem to love watching live performances. Follow all of the coupon and local mom blog/Facebook pages for your area because they usually have the inside scoop on performance dates and reduced price tickets.
Story times are often hosted by libraries or book stores and they are perfect for young children. Many times the story times have themes. It is great when you can coordinate the theme with a lesson or unit study, but listening to stories is always educational in it’s own right.
What are your favorite homeschool field trip ideas?
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