For Parents: How to Create a Field Trip Group

8116663666_a555a2d833_mField trips, or cultural excursions, can be a great opportunity to bond with your child. But these kinds of trips can also be a great time to build social skills. But in order to improve your child’s social skills, you need other kids.

You can put together a group, a posse, of parents and kids to teach your children about history, science, and their world. Here’s how:

Step 1: Brainstorm ideas for the trip

You can do this on your own. Think about where you’d like to take your child and what experiences might be best with a small group of children.

Step 2: Decide what you want the group to be

Do you want to just have an informal group of parents that get together every few weeks? Do you want to create a formal nonprofit so that you can apply for grants to fund the trips? Do you want a small group of just three families or something larger with a dozen families? Think about what you hope to accomplish, and what’s going to be best for your child.

Step 3: Approach like-minded parents

Think about the parents in your child’s life. Who do you get along with? Who do you think would have a similar goal to yours? Talk to different parents without committing to anything and see what reactions you get. When you find a few who seem like they can take your idea seriously, pitch the idea to them.

Step 4: Take the lead and work out the logistics

This step is kind of self-explanatory. Once you have a group of parents, you can have a face-to-face meeting or set up your first trip over email. You’ll need a date and time, location, method of transportation, and more. See my Cultural Excursion Checklist for more ideas of what you may need.

Step 5: Be friendly and send out reminders

Make sure you have every parent’s email address. If your group is big enough, you may want to set up a Facebook group where you can post updates. Send out friendly reminders, especially if you’ve delegated some responsibilities.

Step 6: Take your trip

Try not to stress the day of. Have fun! Try to balance spending time with your child and learning with leading the entire group.

If you follow these six steps, you’ll be well on your way to creating your own field trip posse. For more information on why parental involvement is important and how you can do it, check out 5 Ways Parents Can Get Involved in Elementary School.

 

(Photo Credit: Juergen Hartl on Flickr Commons)

For Parents: How to Create a Free Field Trip

This is what field trips usually look like. You can do something different for your child.

When you think of field trips, you may think of a buss full of kids on their way to a museum, national park, or battlefield. Those trips can be great experiences, but with so many schools enduring budget cuts, those trips are happening less and less. But parents can put together informal trips to teach your child important life and academic lessons.

There’s a three step process to taking your child on a free field trip:

Step 1: Planning

Decide where and when you’re going to go. Do you need to prepare your child or explain anything in advance? Definitely prepare a list of questions to ask your child about the experience once it’s over. That’s an important step.

Step 2: Go!

Get out of the house. Go somewhere and explore. Have fun. Ask your child questions. Express your own observations. This is a great opportunity not only for intellectual stimulation but also for emotional bonding with your child.

Step 3: Talk about it

Remember that list of questions I mentioned? Pull them out over a meal at home, or memorize them and start asking during the drive home. Get your child thinking about what he saw and experienced. This is the most important step. The conversations you have with your child will allow him to synthesize and start to analyze his experience. This is where the magic of the field trip happens.

Don’t leave the experience for just one day, especially if the field trip is to a place that you visit often. Bring it up at the dinner table. Make connections between a trip to the grocery store (maybe for a lesson on percentages) and a trip to the mall (where percentages also apply). You can also connect a trip to the grocery store to a lesson on cooking dinner or baking cookies.

Need some ideas? All of the ideas below offer you opportunities to teach your child something outside of home and school. And all it will cost you is the gas it takes to get there.

Nutrition

  • Grocery store
  • Farmer’s market
  • Restaurants

Careers

  • College campuses
  • Neighbor’s houses
  • Your place of work

Animals

  • Pet store
  • Local park
  • Dog park
  • Animal shelters

Financial Literacy

  • The mall
  • Grocery store
  • Department and discount stores