Nine Steps to a Successful Field Trip


© Copyright 2004 by Cindy Downes. All rights reserved.


Step 1. Select a destination and write down the details. Include the date and time of the trip, the address and directions for the destination, and the contact’s name and phone number.

Step 2. Set learning objectives. Is this trip going to be educational or a fun, social outing? Don’t make every field trip an educational project or your kids will hate them! Take some trips just for the fun of it. They will still learn something. If the field trip is educational, I recommend that you limit your group to your own family or include one or two other families who have children with whom your children work well. Save big group trips for “fun” outings. Set learning objectives by asking yourself, what is the purpose for the trip and how does it relate to our current topic of study? For example, if you are studying geology, schedule a field trip to collect rocks. Your learning objectives will be to learn about different types of rocks, how to identify them, and how mankind uses them in everyday life. By setting these objectives, it is easier to plan activities that will reinforce your child’s learning.

Step 3. Make a list of what to wear and bring. Make sure your children are appropriately dressed by planning ahead. Make a list of items to bring such as food, money, informational materials, activity supplies, and a first-aid kit.

Step 4. Prepare activities to help your children get the most from the trip.

  • Assign reading materials to help them understand what they are going to learn. For example, on the geology trip, have them read a book about rock formation or rock collecting.
  • Teach them any new vocabulary they will need and have them create a dictionary of terms to keep in their notebook.
  • Integrate activities into your normal school day. For example, have them write a business letter to a local chamber of commerce requesting information about the destination. Use this as a composition assignment for the day.
  • Create a scavenger hunt for the trip. Make a list of items to find while on their trip. For example, paintings by a certain artist, animals in a zoo, items used on a farm, etc. The one who finds the most (or a certain number of) items gets a prize.

Step 5: Set a good example for your kids by being on time and obeying the rules of your field trip coordinator . Homeschool parents tend to be very independent and have a tendency of not following the rules. Remember, your children will do what you do, not what you say!

Step 6: Have your children complete assigned activities. For example: make drawings, take photos or videos, make recordings of what they hear, or take notes for a future composition project.


Step 7: Assign reading to reinforce what they learned.

Step 8: Do activities to reinforce what they learned. Have them create a crossword puzzle with the vocabulary words they learned, use their photos, videos, and sound recordings in a multimedia project, or create a memory book page from brochures and photos.

Step 9: Finally, have them write a thank you note to the trip coordinator or tour guide. Teach your children to be grateful for other’s time.

By following the above nine steps, your children will not only have fun, but they will learn academic skills as well as social skills. Now, that’s a successful field trip!

Print out the free Field Trip Planning Guide (Acrobat Reader document) to help you prepare your next field trip.

Visiting Oklahoma? Be sure to check out Oklahoma Scrapbook by Cindy Downes

Keep track of your travel learning with The Checklist



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