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Inexpensive Fieldtrips for You and Your Child

Created by: Dr. Felecia Nace, Office of Family and Community Relations, New Jersey Department of Education

There is no need to wait for a school field trip for your child to enjoy educational experiences outside the classroom.  You can provide your child with quality field trips for free.  Start by thinking about neighborhood places of interest that you can visit.  For example, if you live near a canal, that’s a good opportunity to teach children about different bodies of water like the difference between a canal, a lake, a river, and an ocean.  You can also research facts about the canal to share with your child – like the fact the body of water they pass by each day was once used as a way to transport goods from city to city and from state to state, much like highways are used today.

Once children know the history of the places that surround them, they will begin to look at their neighborhood as a place filled with opportunities to learn.  Families need only to be aware of the opportunities to teach children something new.  Do you live in a major city?  It is always intriguing for children to see old photos of what a city looked like 100 years ago and then later walk around a neighborhood and discuss the progress in roadways and modern buildings that now stand.

Wherever you live, there are opportunities to teach your child what makes your neighborhood unique, and at the same time, your child will gain knowledge that he/she can put to use in the classroom.  The more experiences children have that deliberately set out to teach them a lesson, the better they will connect with new information in school.

Families can begin taking field trips in their immediate surroundings, then venture out to other areas.  Even a simple train ride can be educational if you and your child research facts ahead of time.  For example, you can research the age of the railroad in your town and surrounding cities, and how many years it took to complete the railroad project. It is also interesting to research people who helped build railways.  Much of this information can be found online and at local libraries.

Researching places before you visit can make any field trip memorable and a superb educational experience.  This increases the possibility that students will remember what they learn, and helps them make connections to what was learned in the classroom.

There are so many educational opportunities around us.  Think about those things we pass by everyday like old apartment buildings, houses, churches, cobble stone roads, old bridges, statues, museums, and places where famous events took place or where famous people were born.  These are just a few of the many things you can enjoy researching and exploring with your child.  These learning experiences will be meaningful and will leave lasting impressions.

Here’s one professional opinion about how people learn best:

By:  William Glasser—

How We Learn

10% of what we READ

20% of what we HEAR

30% of what we SEE

50% of what we SEE and HEAR

70% of what is DISCUSSED with OTHERS

80% of what is EXPERIENCED PERSONALLY

95% of what we TEACH TO SOMEONE ELSE