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Planning a Family Field Trip
 
 
Resources
More Field Trips Ideas
 
Planning a Family Field Trip

Ranger and Children

 

Photo by CCAfrica

Organized learning vacations from arctic adventures to wildlife safaris are offered by family travel specialists in just about every corner of the world. Yet you need not mortgage the family home for your family vacation to be enriching and educational. A do-it-yourself educational field trip is possible whether you travel to a major city, camp at a national park or head to the grandparents for the weekend. They require nothing more than a bit of research and planning and can be just as rewarding and fun.

Getting Started
Family field trips are hands-on learning experiences. Thus whether you tour a manufacturing plant or partake in an organized activity such as a guided hike at a family attraction or national park, start by considering the age and interest of the kids as well as the topics they are studying in school. A trip to an aquarium is fun for kids of all ages whereas a behind the scenes tour may spark the interest of primary school children studying marine life.

Field Trip Ideas
Family attractions such as museums and zoos are a great place to start. But there's nothing to stop parents from being creative. Have you considered a trip to farm or factory tour? Whether you visit a dairy farm, pick apples or strawberries, or spend an afternoon at an herb farm and learn all about plants, a trip to a working farm will help children understand where food comes from. A factory tour, be it ice cream or dolls, will give the kids insight to how things are made. For many families the ballet and theatre are annual events. Yet you need not limit your child's experience to a holiday show, live entertainment from concerts to puppet shows and cultural fairs are held in most family travel destinations and oftentimes are free of charge. Families in search of an educational field trip that is off the beaten path may want to consider a dinosaur dig or ranger-guided nature walk.

Guided or self-guided tour
Museum programs and guided tours can be lots of fun but learning doesn't need to be structured to create knowledge and understanding. Venturing beyond the family home may be enough to spark a child's curiosity. Wildlife watching can take place in a nature reserve or begin with a search for insects at a local park. A trip to an art museum with postcards of the collection's paintings in hand can turn a staid visit into a search for colors and shapes. A treasure hunt for winged lions in St. Mark's Square may be more fun than listening to a longwinded discourse on how the lion became the mascot of Venice and is more likely to prompt the kids to ask 'Why are there so many lions here?'.

Finding the fun
The local tourist authority is a great place to start. In addition to fun family attractions, their website likely includes a list of authorized tour guides as well as a detailed calendar of events. For outdoor fun search the web for local associations, parks board or department of natural resources. And don't forget to stop in the tourism office when you arrive, not all events and activities are well publicized.

Preparing for your trip
Preparation for your field trip should begin well in advance. Books and maps are a great way to get children started. True-life stories, even novels set at your travel destination, are a great way to introduce tots to a new adventure and get teens and tweens ready for a family trip. Maps can be used to do more than locate a city or town. They are a great way to get older kids involved in travel planning from plotting your route to uncovering points of interest along the way. Develop a theme for your field trip and engage your children in the research. Educational travel begins at home.

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Travel Trivia
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