by SHS Admin aandwsmom
Anyone can do the obvious for field trips: museums, zoos, aquariums. But what if your town is located rurally, and you have no major attractions. Or, what if you've already been to your local museum so many times your kids groan at the thought of one more visit. That means it's time to think outside the obvious. To find some educational adventures right in your city or town that maybe you haven't even considered yet. And - - even better - - what if those adventures were FREE?? Educational, fun and F-R-E-E? Sign me up!!
The suggestions below may take a phone call and a little time to inquire and set up. Some will require appointments so the business or operation can set aside time to show you around. It is so worth it, though. In fact, I think most of these field trips are better than places geared towards “field trips!”
Here are ideas for "behind-the-scenes" adventures right in your neighborhood:
- Grocery Store - Check out the behind the scenes of a grocery store! See the food lockers, learn how the deli works, learn where your food comes from.
- Water Treatment Plant - See how waste water is processed and turned into clean, potable water.
- Library - Know how your library works? Think again. Ask your librarian for a behind the scenes tour. You might be surprised!
- Pet Store - Learn about many different types of pet as well as their care.
- Athletic Stadium - There aren't many things more fun than seeing the inside workings of your favorite regional league baseball stadium or hockey rink. They often even offer "education days" during the active season, too!
- City or Church Cemetery - Might seem a little ghoulish, but cemeteries can give a whole new meaning to history.
- City Hall or State Capitol - Visit your local State or City office to learn how City or State government works.
- Police Station - See how they keep your city safe! If they take your fingerprints, save them and use them for a future unit study!
- Fire Station - Who doesn’t love the idea of getting to explore a real, working fire truck and maybe slide down the pole!
- Post Office - How DOES all that mail make it from point A to point B?
- Theater - Learn how a play is put on! What does it take for running the whole show?
- Local Factory - Many factories offer tours for local residents. Find out the minimum age to take the tour and get signed up.
- Recycling Plant - See what they do with all that plastic, paper and metal that we used to consider trash.
- Dam - Learn how something so enormous was built, what it does for the eco-system and how many of them help our environment.
- Veterinarian - Shadow a veterinarian for a day. Learn all about pet care and anatomy.
- Newspaper - Watch the story of the day come to life.
- Rock Quarry - See how a wall of rock becomes usable rock, soil and sand. Learn about different types of soil and rocks.
- Courthouse - Is there anything more educational than watching the judicial system at work?
- Bakery - Love bread? Doughnuts? See how they go from flour and water to something delicious. The best part is the samples!
- Local Farm - Learn where and how your food is grown locally. From meat to vegetables to fruit. Even bees. Many local farmers are more than happy to talk about their craft.
- Jeweler - Learn about alchemy, different types of metal, gems and how they are put together to create a piece of wearable body art.
Most of these are located in or around your area, if you just look. Think it will be tough to convince a business or agency to give you a tour? Let them know about other businesses in your area that are offering tours and remind them how great it could be for business. Need a larger group to justify the tour? Advertise on your local homeschool group's email chain or social network board to find other families interested in joining you.
You can make it even easier for other families and school groups to have access to local tours by following good "field trip etiquette." Carefully follow all rules provided by the business or agency providing the tour. Be on your best behavior before, during, and after the tour. If it's a commercial business you're touring, ask them if you can take pictures during the tour, and then share those pics on social media afterward and "tag" the business with a shout-out about how accommodating they were. And, don't forget once you get back home to send a thank you note to the person(s) who took the time to show you around.
Remember, every day is a learning experience and everything in life is a chance for learning… you just have to look outside the box!