Family Field Trips

A wonderful way to connect as a family and disconnect from at home screens and concerns.

Harry and Teddy discovering electricity.
Harry and Teddy discovering electricity.

Real Life Learning

Our experiences can solidify our understanding of the world around us and help us to develop our ideas and concepts. It appears to me that it is an essential part of our children’s education for us to provide opportunities for them to learn through their experiences.

Going on field trips has been a big part of our home education and I feel fortunate that we are able to spend quality time together whilst exploring and learning in different environments. From exploring a new city, (recently London and Edinburgh) to walking through the forest, there is so much to see and learn.

Out for the day at Kendal Castle.
Out for the day at Kendal Castle.

Planning A Fieldtrip

Whilst we are learning about a specific topic, I will make a plan for a fieldtrip to support this learning and bring otherwise abstract ideas to life. For example: whilst we were looking at the topic ‘castles’ we went to Kendal Castle in the Lake District of England. This was a fantastic way to bring history alive for the boys. Although now a ruin, the key features of this castle can still be seen. We were able to identify aspects such as the motte and bailey, the keep and the window arrow slits. The boys took in the view and ran around the grassy knoll while we talked about what it must have been like living here and even watching an enemy approach from below.

To enhance our experiences and embrace the information we discover on our field trips, I sometimes plan a follow up activity at home.

Hot Air Balloons in Edinburgh's Scottish National Museum.
Hot Air Balloons in Edinburgh's Scottish National Museum.

Unplanned Field Trips

I feel it is important to mention that learning does not always need to be guided by parents and teachers. We do not always know what will inspire and engage our children. Providing an environment where they are able to explore and discover what they find interesting is integral in building self-confidence and harnessing one’s natural desire to question.

We recently went to the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, without any pre conceptions of what we would find there. Set in a light and spacious old building we were all immediately drawn in. As we spoke to a lady at the information counter, we were sceptical of the quality of kid’s hands-on activities, mainly because she mentioned so many! Our scepticism was quickly dispelled by this wonderful museum that has done an amazing job of integrating modern technology and traditional displays.

We discovered many hands-on and interactive activities throughout. Teddy really enjoyed finding out about evolution by touching model bones, while Harry repeatedly used a pump to fill a hot air-balloon which then rose towards the celling when filled.

Learning about dinosaurs.
Learning about dinosaurs.

Further Exploration

To enhance our experiences and embrace the information we discover on our field trips, I sometimes plan a follow up activity at home. This may be as simple as recording our experience in a journal by drawing pictures and writing about the things we enjoyed. We might visit the library to research books and find more information about an item that sparked our interest.

Or, I may plan a hands-on activity, continuing to provide ways to encourage exploration and discovery. We are currently learning about fossils and were able to visit the Natural History Museum in London. They have an exhibition dedicated to Mary Anning and her achievements in finding a number of fossils in the 19th century. Since our return home, we have had a lot of fun making fossil models using melted chocolate!

Making chocolate fossils.
Making chocolate fossils.

Cost Of Field Trips

It can be shocking how much a day trip out with your children can cost! Depending on where you want to take your child will depend on how much an outing will cost.

Here are some tips to keep the cost of field trips down:

  • Pack your own lunch and plenty of snacks so you don’t need to buy food whilst you are out.
  • Stay local – find events near you and support your local area.
  • Visit free locations – there are many museums, castle ruins and nature reserves you can visit for free.
  • Membership – if you really enjoy visiting a particular place and know you will visit enough times, consider a membership.
  • Group discount – organise a group booking to visit a place and get a discount for you and your friends.
  • Family Railcard – As I do not drive this has recently become invaluable to us accessing places at a lower cost.

Discover Related Topics

Many of the activities I have designed encourage parents and educators to get outside and support children in learning through their experiences. Try out these topics.

Key Stage One
Where I Live

Teddy looking at a frog and tadpoles.

Key Stage One
Art In Nature

Music with scarfs and chaos.

Key Stage One
Castles

The boys dropping homemade parachutes.

Key Stage One
Habitats: U.K.

The boys doing a paint pendulum.