I remember those days. Our little ones were two and four. We had close family friends with children approximately the same age.
What fun memories we have of going on adventures together with both families (a total of nine children).
We set ourselves up for success because we wanted field trips to be enjoyable for the whole family.
Here are some of the things we did.
We often went as families to more involved field trips like Sea World because then there were more hands to help with the little ones.
We brought big strollers with lots of storage room. Often the children would walk and the strollers were simply backpacks on wheels.
We made a flexible plan before we went. For example, if we were going to Sea World, we sat down with the map the day before and made a plan of where we would go and what we would do. Of course, plans shouldn't be set in cement. Often they changed, but having an itinerary took away the "where should we go next?" discussions that waste time and make toddlers and preschoolers cranky.
We made sure to do at least one or two things the little ones would love early in the day so they could enjoy those things when they were at their best.
We got an early start. Little children do best in the hours before lunch so we made the most of them. Packing the car the night before helped a lot. We would load up everything but the cooler, making sure the diaper bag was full of diapers, wipes (which double as napkins), and suntan lotion (hey! we live in Florida).
We brought water bottles for everyone and filled them up throughout the day at water fountains. We also brought coolers of food, even if we had to leave the park or field trip and go back to the car to eat. It saved so much money.
If we were on an all day field trip, we planned afternoon to be the time that older children did their thing. If it was an amusement park, afternoon was for roller coasters. Since I gave up roller coasters somewhere around 35, I would load the babies up and push them around during that time. The motion would put them to sleep. Yes, not the best for nap time, but we'll take it.
Our best field trips started with plenty of sleep the days before for everyone including Mom and Dad. No one has fun if someone is cranky all day. We learned that the hard way! By making sure that everyone went to bed early a few nights before our field trip, we set ourselves up for success.
We kept things light and fun. Sometimes the children just got tired and grumpy, so we packed up and went home. A full day at the beach or a living museum can just be too much for little ones sometimes.
If the trip to and from was long, we sang songs, guessed riddles, and told stories in the car. This kept everyone in a good mood. Often, we stopped for a treat like ice cream cones half-way home. Believe it or not, after a long day and a treat, my little ones would fall sound asleep for the rest of the ride. Sugar may do different things for your children.
Laura and I also did many field trips over and over like the zoo, state parks, playgrounds, farms, and children's museums. We kept these field trips short and sweet.
When we vacation, we also reserved one day to go to a museum of some kind, keeping our children's ages in mind.
For a list of field trips across the United States, check out our Field Trips Page over at JoyfulandSuccessfulHomeschooling.com.
You can learn more about field trips and other homeschooling topics in Joyful and Successful Homeschooling.
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Be blessed in every way!