At this time of year, we’d be heading to one of our favorite outdoor field trips, the Botanic Gardens. Unfortunately, they are closed as are so many field trip places. Hopefully, next school year, we will be back at school and going on all of our beloved field trips. But, for now we can enjoy some virtual field trips. Keep reading for ideas for field trips online.
What are Field Trips?
Field trips are a way to bring experiences to your students. Sometimes they learn about things they might not learn about in the classroom, like at the firefighters museum. With other field trips, they can enhance the learning they are receiving in the classroom.
Field Trip Ideas
There are so many great field trips to take with your kids or students. Field trips to the zoo are always a big hit! We also loved going to the many museums that were close by; art museum, museum of nature and science, fire fighters museum, and children’s museum. Other great ideas for field trips include the botanic gardens, butterfly pavilion, the aquarium, the children’s theater, pumpkin patches and the planetarium. If you have a small class, you can visit places like a donut shop, the post office, and a pizza parlor.
Activities for Field Trips
Many places offer classes and programs with field trips for students. We always tried to schedule a class when we went on a field trip. The zoo offered classes on animal senses; this went right along with our 5 senses unit! The museum of nature and science offered classes on planets. The botanic gardens had a few days in the spring called Plant Day, and they had lots of different plant activities set up all around the gardens. If you decide to take one of these classes, make sure to check the age range; you wouldn’t want to take kindergarten to a program set up for middle schoolers. If there are no classes or programs offered, you can also set up a scavenger hunt for your students. To do this, I would visit the place about a week before we took the field trip. You don’t want to go too far in advance, because the place could change things around. Then, create a worksheet having students find and answer questions about different things around the place. This helps keep the students engaged and having fun being detectives.
Field Trips That Come to Your School
Our students were just as thrilled with the field trips that came to our school as they were with going somewhere for a field trip. We have had fire fighters come to our school and do demonstrations. The butterfly pavilion also came with some of their insects and animals and gave a great presentation to our students. Plenty of places are willing to come to your school, you just need to call them to inquire.
Field Trip Benefits
Are field trips beneficial? Absolutely! Students get to experience things that are not available in the classroom. It can enhance their learning and increase their vocabulary. If you are teaching about the sun, stars, and/or planets, bringing your students to the planetarium helps them solidify what they have learned. If you are teaching about insects and bring your students to the butterfly pavilion, they can study so many different types of bugs and insects. Field trips also can help students develop an excitement for subjects they might not have been interested in, which can lead to wanting to learn more about the subject when you return from the field trip. I saw this in my students after returning from the space exhibit at our museum of nature and science. They had so many questions and would look for books about space when we went to the library. Building curiosity and a love for learning are the top reasons why field trips are important (in my opinion).
What are Virtual Field Trips?
So are you ready to take your kids on a field trip? Let’s go virtually! Virtual field trips are online tours, activities, or classes you can take at places that usually offer in person field trips. There are so many places offering virtual field trips right now. Check out the ones listed below. Most are free, but some have a cost. And, look into the places around you locally – chances are, they are offering field trips online as well!
United States Botanic Gardens: https://www.usbg.gov/take-virtual-tour
Butterfly Pavilion: https://butterflies.org/virtuallearning/
Slime in Space: https://www.weareteachers.com/slime-space-virtual-field-trip/
Museum of Nature and Science: https://www.dmns.org/learn/dmns-at-home?ref=LearnLandingPage
More Fun Activities for Kids
Looking for more fun activities to do with your kids? Read our blog, 13 Fun Activities for Kids at Home and get 5 FREE resources to go along with those activities! We also have great plant activities! These would go great with the Botanic Gardens field trip either online or in person! Check out online Storytime for kids and our Making Read Alouds Meaningful for ideas when reading to your kids!