I knew that this school year would be pretty hard for most kids who have to stay at home and learn all day. One thing I decided to do with my son is taking him on a cheap field trip for fresh air and a change of scenery.
Schools will likely not be doing too many field trips this year due to social distancing but kids can really look forward to this experience. We’re homeschooling and even though I have to work most days, I also still wanted to put some fun and simple field trips on the calendar. Even if your kids are doing e-learning or going to school a few days a week, planning a local field trip for the family can be something they can look forward to and a great opportunity for hands-on learning.
Here are 7 cheap field trips to take your kids on this fall.
1. Science Museum
The science museum is a great field trip idea for kids. There is always something new to learn and something to do. Most museums have interactive exhibits or play videos to teach you more about certain topics. I love science museums especially because science can’t always be learned by reading a textbook.
Generally, museums can be pretty pricey if you don’t have a group rate so try to go on free admission days. If your local science museum does charge a fee for entry, see if they have any free days and add them to your calendar.
I actually did this with my son last month and we saved around $60 by visiting on a free admission day. We did have to wear masks due to Covid-19 but the facility was so big so it was easy to social distance. Plus, the museum gave us a free disposable stylus so we could use that to touch certain buttons and gadgets in the museum instead of our bare hands.
Zoos are a fun place for people of all ages. If the weather might start getting cold in your area in the upcoming weeks, now is the perfect time to plan a trip to the zoo. Just like with museums, you can see if there’s a free day at the zoo to save money.
Some zoos are entirely free all the time. If you live close enough, plan a day trip to a free zoo. A few years back, we drove to St. Louis Missouri which is home to one of the best free zoos in the country. The zoo itself is great and there is tons to see.
Instead of making it a casual trip to the zoo, see how you can make it educational or focus on one section of the zoo to learn more about specific animals or species.
3. Local Farm or Farmer’s Market
Get some shopping done and learn about produce and other goods by planning a field trip to the farmer’s market. This is a cheap field trip for the whole family since you only have to pay for what you buy. You can explore all the different products that are being sold and strike up a conversation with the vendors to learn how they grew or prepared what they’re selling.
The farmer’s market isn’t just limited to food so you may find some other interesting items as well. Right now, my son and I are learning about plants and gardening. If you have any farms in your area, call ahead and see if you can plan a visit. It’s best not to just show up randomly. You may want to check out a farm that is selling something. That way, you can do a little exploring or get a tour but also support the farm by purchasing their goods.
4. State Park
State parks are free to visit and you may have one near you. Before the weather changes, plan a cheap field trip to a state park to do some hiking and exploring. You can do a nature walk or check out any activities that are going on at the visitor’s center.
Due to all that’s going on right now, a lot of group events may be canceled. However, you can still do a guided tour or make up your own crafts for fun.
5. Visit an Arboretum
An arboretum is an outdoor botanical garden that often consists solely of trees. In order words, it’s a giant outdoor tree museum. This is a fun place for kids to run around and spread out but also learn about the different types of trees that exists.
If you don’t live near an arboretum, take your kids out on a nature walk or to a forest preserve. Look at all the different trees and fall foliage while making note of anything that stands out along the way.
6. Outdoor History Museum
An outdoor history museum is another cheap field trip idea that kids will enjoy. Right now, we’re learning about the New England colonies and American revolutionary war. I found a colonial-themed history museum nearby that’s only $5 per person.
It’s basically like stepping into the past and getting more hands-on experience about what life was like hundreds of years ago. We have another outdoor history museum that’s has a similar set up and all the workers dress and take on the character of someone who lives in the 1800s.
7. Nearby Landmark
If you’re short on ideas, another great place for a cheap field trip is a nearby landmark. If you don’t have any in your town, see if there are nearby historical cities you can visit. Most landmarks are free to visit or may even be as simple as a statue on the sidewalk.
Explain to your kids why the landmark is important and create a fun craft or activity they can do. If you’re visiting a historical area with lots of landmarks, create a scavenger hunt game to make it more interesting. Pack a lunch and have a picnic in a nearby park to make a day out of it.
Get out and enjoy the fall weather while you can with these easy and cheap field trip ideas to enjoy with kids. Field trips make learning fun and they don’t have to be extravagant or cost a lot. Given that this school year is a little different, this still doesn’t mean you have to count out educational experiences like field trips.