PLANNING A FIELD TRIP Field trips are a nice way to enhance the learning your children are doing at your center/home.  If you study fish with your class, you can take the kids to an aquarium.  If you study apples or fruit, an apple orchard might be a good choice.  Furthermore, you can use field trips to give the kids a change of pace and a chance to do something they don't usually get to do.  Below is a list of places you may want to go on a field trip and some tips to making your next trip run more smoothly.

Field Trip Ideas:

  1. Zoo/Aquarium
  2. Playground (one your kids don't normally play on, probably a bigger one)
  3. Pool
  4. Library (for story time or some other special activity being held)
  5. McDonald's/Burger King Play Place (maybe after another location such as the library)
  6. Apple orchard/pumpkin farm
  7. Science Museum/Children's Museum
  8. Firestation/Police Station/Dentist (some place where they can get a tour and learn about someone's occupation)
  9. Nursing Home (to sing to the residents, pass out treats, give them pictures they made, etc.)
  10. Mall (for special holiday display/kid's day/or to pick out gifts to give to needy families/children)
  11. Circus
  12. Children's Theatre or even a play at a local highschool
  13. A movie at the nearest Cinema
  14. Sledding
  15. Some other special event/display

When planning a field trip DO:

1.  Start Early:

Start planning early so you have everything in place long before the actual day of the trip.  This early planning will cut down on the stress you may encounter trying to do everything last minute.

2.  Get a lot of volunteers: 

The more parents you have accompanying you on the trip, the better.  If the kids are divided into smaller groups, they will likely get to see more and can focus on what interests their group the most.  Also, more volunteers decreases the chance someone will get lost or injured.  If each parent is only responsible for two or three kids (although they may travel in larger groups), you decrease the chance of something bad happening.

3.  Have an alternate plan: 

If your trip is reliant on sunny weather, have an alternate plan in case it rains.  The kids will be looking forward to the trip, so have another fun activity planned (at the child care center/home or elsewhere). 

4.  Have all necessary forms signed and bring emergency cards along: 

Make sure the parents sign forms permitting their children to go on the trip and releasing you from liability in case something were to happen.  Bring emergency forms along which should include information about the children and how to reach their parents.

5.  Talk about safety with children: 

Review certain safety issues before going on the trip.  Remind children not to talk to strangers, wander off without an adult, etc.

6.  Consider making or buying matching shirts for the children, staff, and volunteers: 

If everyone is wearing the same brightly colored shirt, it may make it easier to keep track of everyone.  Place your child care center/home's name and phone number on the shirt.  If a child does get lost, it will be easy for someone to figure out how to contact you. (Don't individualize the shirts with the children's names because this could make it easy for a stranger to lure them away by calling them out by their names)

7.  Don't plan trips over the children's nap/rest times:

Children like to have some predictability to their schedule.  While they will be looking forward to the trip, they still need their rest. Try to leave early in the morning and be back by their nap time.

8.  Don't be surprised if some parents don't want their child to go on the trip: 

Some parents will not want their children to go on the trip.  Have an alternate activity planned for children who can't go on the trip so they still have a fun day and don't feel too left out.

9.  Don't take young children on field trips: 

Younger children who aren't toilet trained, still take multiple naps, etc. should probably not go on a field trip.  They are not old enough to receive the full benefit from a field trip. These children still need so much care they probably won't get to see/do much anyway and may be frightened if their routine is changed.  Have people come to your center/home to entertain the younger children instead of taking them on a trip.