Tuesday, April 23, 2013

F is for Free and Frugal Field Trip Ideas

If there's something every homeschooler loves, it's a good field trip!  The problem is, field trips are like books...they can get expensive!  So I've been trying to come up with some ideas for field trips this coming year that might appeal to both of the older kids (who will be in Pre-K and 1st grade).  There really are free and frugal opportunities for field trips all around us!  This is a more "general" list, since specifics will vary across the country, but perhaps you can use this as a starting point for your own hometown, or even when vacationing.

Some places you can go in and do your own thing, but others require registration, approval or advanced notice, particularly if you are wanting to schedule a tour or interview.  Always call ahead to check their visitor policy, fees, hours and other important information.  Some places may not charge a fee, but may ask for a small donation, so please consider supporting your community.

Around Town
These are generally places you go every week, but sometimes spicing it up will make a kiddo less resistant to running errands with you or enrich a regular lesson by thinking outside the textbook!

Library - story hours, book clubs, classes, book signings and special events
Grocery Store - Health and/or Math lessons abound here!
Bank - Math, Personal Finances, History of banking and Federal Reserve
Post Office - learn how mail makes it from point A to point B when you mail a letter, get a pen pal, or research this history of the post office

Service Projects
These are places than can be a one-time field trip, or be turned into a service project, but be sure to call ahead to arrange anything.

Nursing Home - Befriend a resident that doesn't get visitors
Veteran's Home - Thank a Hero
Humane Society - walk and socialize the animals

Children's Programs
Many businesses offer classes, workshops or special programs for children.  It is great for their public relations and marketing, but it also offers opportunies for children to develop skills or just have fun!

Home Repair Stores- Home Depot and Lowes offer free projects once a month
Art/Craft Stores- check for free/inexpensive make-and-takes at your local art store
Museums - Ours offers a free weekly art class for kids - check around!
Movies - Many theaters have free or $1 admission during the summer
Bowling - Kids Bowl Free offers 2 free games/day all summer and parents can buy a discount family pass, so check their participating centers to see if a local bowling alley is participating

Making bird feeders at Home Depot's Kid's Workshop

Science & Nature Study
These are places that often offer hiking, biking, birding/nature trails, and of course things like fishing, canoeing and camping.  Larger places often offer maps of their walking trails and guides about the local wildlife, so enjoy a nature walk!  Parks a nice field trip on vacations too, because of their science and history value!

Orchards/Farms - Check with local farmers for a tour
City Parks - Go regularly to study the same spot for your nature observations then have free time on the basketball or tennis courts
State/National Parks - Many are free year round, or check Free Entrance Days at National Parks
Wildlife Refuge Centers - These tend to be free but "donations are welcome" which means you can still see native wildlife and rescue animals up close {and much cheaper than the zoo!}
Free park we visited while on vacation in Myrtle Beach 

Special Events
Don't forget your local fairs, festivals and parades!  There are usually local artisans and musicians, demonstrations and maybe even period costumes and reenactments.  Not all for free, but many are, and there's usually much to see, do, taste and experience!

Did I miss anything?  Can you think of any other field trips that are free/frugal that I should add?

This post is part of the Blogging through the Alphabet series, so remember to check out what other bloggers are talking about this week!

Blogging Through the Alphabet

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