Karen Hellier is a freelance writer and eBay entrepreneur. She lives happily in the mountains of North Georgia with her husband and her dog.
Liven Up Daycare With Field Trips
If you care for children in your home, you probably already know that the days can get monotonous if you stay home every day—for you and the kids. When I was running my own home daycare business, the days just seemed to drag on sometimes with the same routine, and I realized I needed to plan a trip at least once every other week so I didn't dread my work.
Planning a field trip with my daycare kids gave us all something to look forward to. Home daycare field trips can be easy to plan. They can liven up the days and weeks for you and the children. Just make sure you have enough adults with you to make the trip safe for the children.
As far as chaperones, a good rule of thumb would be one adult for every three children in your care. If you don't have family members who can come along, see if a friend can come, or maybe a teen or pre-teen from your neighborhood would be enthusiastic about tagging along. You can treat for lunch or offer a small stipend for the day.
10 Good Field Trip Ideas
- The park: A park is a great place to get kids out in the fresh air and sunshine. If it has playground equipment that is great, but even one that doesn't will do if you bring entertainment with you. Examples would be a ball to kick, a kite to fly, bread to feed ducks/geese if there are any around, or a picnic lunch or snacks to munch on, etc.
- The local firehouse: Kids love fire trucks, and usually there are firemen around during the daytime who would be happy to show off equipment including trucks, ambulances, fire coats, boots and helmets to children. Just make sure to call ahead and ask if a tour could be set up.
- The grocery store: Grocery stores are usually more than happy to take kids on a group tour. They can see the bakery (and sometimes get a treat), the produce section, seafood (complete with lobsters). And if the store is willing, they can sometimes scan food items to see how the registers work. Again, this requires a call ahead to set up a day and time.
- The beach: The beach is a great idea during spring, summer, and fall, and if it's not too cold where you live, winter as well. A beach trip can include swimming if there are enough adults to chaperone with you for sand play or shell searching. Make sure to bring the right equipment along such as shovels and pails, and maybe some lightweight trucks.
- A pizza restaurant: This is great if the pizza place will let kids make their own pizzas and then show them how large and hot the pizza ovens are. Kids always love to eat things that they help create. Again, this would require a call ahead unless you just go for the meal and not the pizza making experience.
- The library: The local library is a great source for field trips. You can bring the children there and form your own reading circle with lots more books to offer than what you might have at home. You can sign up the children in your daycare for formal storytimes, which may give you a bit of a break or a chance to spend time with the young ones. Meanwhile, the older ones can go into a separate room and do arts and crafts, hear stories and sing songs. There are often toys and puzzles and games in the children's department at libraries that are different than what you have in your home daycare, so this offers the children some variety.
- A museum: Of course children's museums are perfect places for daycare field trips, but if you don't have that option, look around your community or nearby communities and see what they have to offer. Is there a nature museum that might include a nature walk? Is there a history museum? That would be great depending on the age and interest levels of the children in your care. Within 30 minutes of my home, there are three art museums, one nature museum, one children's museum, one historic home museum, one Indian museum, and a grist mill museum.
8. A pond in spring: Ponds are great in the spring because you can often find turtles sunning themselves on rocks, fish swimming in the water, frogs on the edge of the pond, and if you look closely enough, lumps of frog's eggs under the water. A visit to a pond, plus a picnic lunch or snack makes a great field trip.
9. A train station: Trains have fascinated children since they were first invented. If there is a train station near you, bring the children to watch the trains pull in and out of the station. Let them watch people purchasing tickets. Show them the boards where all the trains are going and what time they are leaving. Help them find a specific train to a certain destination and take them to that train track so they can watch it appear, load up with people, then head off to their destination. Show them the snack machines where hungry people can purchase snacks to take on their journey...and for an extra special treat, buy them a snack to share while they sit on a bench. Bring along a children's book about someone going on a train journey to read to them while they are there.
10. A construction site: This is a great field trip that costs nothing. Kids can be so fascinated by big trucks and what they are doing. This is especially easy if you have construction going on in your neighborhood.
There are many options for daycare field trips with children. And getting them out and about makes their day educational and gives them variety.
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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2012 Karen Hellier
Karen Hellier (author) from Georgia on February 06, 2012:
Thanks for the comment daisyjae. I bet it's a nice change of pace for you as well?!
daisyjae from Canada on February 06, 2012:
These are all great ideas and most are free.We do stuff like this at my home daycare all the time. All kids like getting out of the house once in a while and its educational for them too. And they go home nice and tired, which parents love.
Karen Hellier (author) from Georgia on February 05, 2012:
Good idea. Kids love animals so the zookeeper idea is great...complete with a few animals maybe?!
Cindy A Johnson from Sevierville, TN on February 05, 2012:
These are all great ideas. Kids love field trips. If, for some reason, you are unable to take a field trip, bring some guest speakers to you - a baker, librarian, zookeeper.