“Let children feed on the good, the excellent, the great! Don’t get in their way with little lectures, facts, and guided tours!” ~Charlotte Mason
Before You Go
1. Plan your trip well ahead of time so that you can reserve the date and time you want.
2. Consider the children’s ages, abilities and interests when deciding where to go and what to do.
3. Incorporate the field trip into your curriculum or as part of a special unit study.
4. Decide where the money for field trip expenses will come from.
5. When inquiring about a field trip, ask for group rates and/or educational tours.
6. If your group is not large enough, consider joining with another group.
7. Double check your calendar to pick a date that doesn’t conflict with other activities.
8. Make sure you will have dependable, reliable transportation. Fill up the gas tank the night before.
9. Arrange for carpools if desired.
10. Establish rules before you go. (Please listen and walk. Don’t run or talk. Stay with the group at all times. Keep on the path. Don’t go near equipment. Be pleasant and polite. Thank the guide as you leave.)
11. Be sure to have adequate adult supervision. This is especially important if you are taking younger children or for campouts, sleepovers, and overnight trips.
12. Obtain signed permission slips and emergency contact information from any parents who will not be coming.
13. Take note of allergies that any children may have.
14. If you are going with another group, decide on where to meet and who is in charge of what.
15. Even if reservations are not necessary, always ahead to confirm hours, fees, and to make sure your destination is not closed for a special event, renovations, etc.
16. If you’ve already made advance reservations, it’s a good idea to call again to reconfirm.
17. Ask the contact person what will be covered, so that you will know what to expect when you get there.
18. Have a back-up plan just in case something goes wrong.
19. Prepare children for the field trip by telling them what they will be doing, things to look for, and how long they will be there.
20. Think of some quiet games to do while traveling or waiting for a tour to start.
Things to Bring
1. Camera for taking pictures. (If you plan to publish any photos of children in a local newspaper or magazine, you will need a photo release from the parent or guardian.)
2. Water bottles, juice boxes, or a large water jug and small paper cups.
3. Snacks, such as small bags of trail mix, granola bars, boxes of raisins, graham cracker sticks, dry cereal, etc.
4. Pocket change, if children are allowed to buy any souvenirs.
5. Have a first aid kit on hand stocked with bandages, gauze pads, antiseptic, tissues, tweezers, antibacterial wet wipes, etc. This would also include medication, inhalers, and bee-sting kits for children that may need them.
6. If you will be transporting small children, make sure you have car seats for them.
7. If your group has matching t-shirts, have everyone wear them on the day of the trip, or simply ask everyone to wear a certain color if they can. Bright red is easy to spot in a crowd or in the woods.
8. Depending on the weather, suggest that children wear layers of clothing that can be added or removed for comfort.
9. If you’re going to be outdoors during the hours of 10:00 am-2:00 pm between May – October, protection from the sun is essential. Ask children to bring a shade hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen.
10. A stroller comes in handy on long walks not only for carrying a tired child but also for holding your gear.
While You’re There
1. Be flexible and don’t try to do more than what you can reasonably accomplish.
2. Remind your students to be well behaved so that the host(s) will have a good impression of your group.
3. Leave the area cleaner than when you found it.
After You Leave
1. Send a thank you note.
2. Have children write a story or report on their experience.
3. If you go on a lot of field trips during the year, you may want each child to keep their own trip journal in a spiral bound notebook.
Safety Tip: Names tags can be useful, but in some cases it’s best not to put name tags on the children, because strangers can then familiarize themselves by calling a child by their name.
More Field Trip Tips
(Planning field trips for preschoolers.)