Written by monthly contributor, Emily Pastor.
I am not a home body. As a stay-at-home mama, I love the chance to get out of the house with a fun and frugal destination in mind. Taking intentional field trips with your young ones is a fun way to include them in the “back to school” season. Field trips provide an excellent learning experience for children of all ages, but especially for little ones with short attention spans! They don’t need to be fancy or expensive to be exciting and bursting with learning opportunities. Here are a few ideas for outings both you and your little ones are sure to enjoy!
Library Story Times
Most libraries offer story times for young children and even babies. These “story-times” rightfully involve more singing and playing than they do “reading” but they introduce young children to the joys of the library in a fun and interactive environment. Story times are a fun weekly routine that offer social outlets for both mother and child and provide a weekly way to bring home new books to explore together.
Free Passes to Museums
Libraries usually offer free passes to area museums and zoos, which you are able to reserve much like you would a book. These passes often have a long list of holds (think hundreds) so don’t expect to see one soon, but if you’re not in a hurry and would like to enjoy some museums for free, this is a great option.
Parks and Playgrounds
Don’t forget the importance of play in learning! Children are wired to play. Playing opens doors to many areas of education such as social skills, physical coordination & development, creativity, and nature awareness. Find a new park or playground to explore with your little one and watch the learning unfold.
Take an age-appropriate nature walk. For a toddler, this might look like a walk down the block collecting pine cones and talking about how they look and feel. For an older child take a hike and collect leaves and identify them at home and make crayon rubbings of each one.
Farms make an excellent field trip for all ages. Young toddlers will love seeing animals up close and imitating them. Older children will enjoy learning how a cow is milked, sheep are sheared, or crops are rotated. The next time you visit a farmer’s market, strike up a conversation with a friendly vendor and ask if they’d be willing to let your family visit their farm as an educational experience.
As you pursue fun and frugal field trips with your little ones, remember:
1. Be creative. With a little creativity, a normal drive to the grocery store can become a game of “I spy” or a chance to learn a new song. Pray that you would see and maximize the meaningful amid the mundane.
2. Not everything needs a lesson behind it! Be careful not to turn everything into a lesson. Children need to see their parents having fun just for the…well, fun of it!
3. Ask the Lord for wisdom. Pray each day that the Lord would give you wisdom on stewarding your child’s mind for that day. Don’t get caught up in all the things your toddler needs to master before graduating high school. Focus on today.
It is today for which we are responsible. God still owns tomorrow.
I’d love more field trip ideas to try! What fun and frugal outings do you take with your little ones?