15 Fun Family Field Trips

As a homeschooling mothers, I’ve had the opportunity to coordinate weekly field trips for local homeschooling families, geared towards children ages 3-7. These field trips have been great for so many reasons- making friends, learning about our local area, and growing as a family. While I organized these trips for homeschooling families, many of our experiences would be great for any family, regardless of education choices. Here are 15 fun family field trips for you and your preschoolers and elementary-aged children:

1. Local Farmers Markets or Farms

Our family lives in a very rural area, so we’re surrounded by farms. Many of these farming families sell their produce at local farmers market, or else right on their own property. Visiting local farms is a great way to learn about the life cycles of both plants and animals. Even if you don’t live anywhere near a farm, many cities often have markets where farmers are invited to come and sell their crops or other materials. If you have one nearby, visit the vendors, ask them about their products, and perhaps buy a little goodie to take home.

2. Wildlife Preserves/Animal Hospitals

If you live near a wildlife preserve, contact them to find out if they offer tours. Many preserves will have “ambassador animals,” creatures that are too sick or injured to return to the wild. Alternatively, contact your local animal hospital or veterinarian clinic. Many vets would be happy to teach children how to properly care for their pets.

3. Arboretums

We are fortunate to live just fifteen minutes away from the State Arboretum of Virginia, so we visit at least twice a year- once in the fall and again in the spring. This year, we plan to give our kids nature journals where they’ll be able to draw what they see while we walk around the arboretum, as well as other parks in the area. If you don’t have an arboretum near by, considering visiting a nearby national park, or just a regular old park with nature trails or walking paths. Whether the leaves are changing colors or the flowers are blooming, there is always something beautiful to see.

4. Fire Stations

My father, and his father before him, is a firefighter. We grew up at our dad’s fire station, so I never blinked an eye when I saw the guys dressed in their full fire gear. I always knew who they were on the inside, so it never occurred to me to be scared of them. That’s just not the experience that most kids have. By taking your kids to a local fire station, not only will they get to see some awesome fire trucks, but they’ll also have the chance to see that under all the gear, firefighters are just normal people (and maybe even your friend’s dad). Also, many firefighters are more than happy to show kids all of their equipment, explaining what it’s all for and showing them how it all gets worn.

5. Police Stations

I don’t know about you, but as soon as I see a police car, I get nervous. I could be driving the speed limit, minding my own business, but I’ll still start to sweat if I see a cop car. Kids are often the same way. They might know that police officers “fight bad guys,” but many kids are afraid of them. By visiting a local police station, your kids could have the chance to talk to a police officer and hear some really awesome stories!

6. Local Restaurants

We are blessed to live in an area that has lots of privately-owned restaurants. Earlier this year, my kids and I visited an Italian restaurant with our homeschool group. All the kids got to learn how to make pizza, watched the workers make a handful of pies, and then got to eat what they’d watched cook. Pizzerias are great places to teach young children about proper sequences as they learn the process for making pizza pies- and then they can eat their hard-earned work!

7. Post Offices

My kids love when they’re outside when the mail arrives. They’ll drop whatever they’re doing so that they can get the mail from the mail lady. Our group hasn’t been able to do this trip yet because of Covid restrictions, but we’re looking forward to learning how our mail travels all over the country.

John Visiting Grandpa’s Fire Station

8. Local Churches

Since we belong to a Catholic homeschool group, one of our first field trips was to visit the church where we all worship. Our priest took us for the tour of the entire church, where the highlights were the choir loft and the bathroom in the sacristy, and then we gathered for our fifteen minutes of Eucharistic Adoration. Plenty of churches would be more than happy to give the youngest members of their congregation a tour of the church.

9. Regional Airports

When I was growing up, we lived about ten minutes away from a regional airport. I have very fond memories of driving over there and watching airplanes take off and land. I am very blessed to be able to do the same with my kids. We live about ten minutes away from a regional airport, and on a few occasions, we have packed picnic lunches and eaten them as we watched airplanes land and take off.

10. Butchers

Recently, our group got the chance to learn where our meat comes from. We visited the local butcher shop, where we learned about the different types of meat (chicken, pork, and beef) and how they’re prepared. Because the butchers had their slaughterhouse nearby, we also got to visit the animals before they get turned into meat (though we did not go into the slaughterhouse, which was both dangerous and probably a bit inappropriate for small children). It was a great way to see the connection between the meat we eat and the animals that provide that meat for us. And in case you’re wondering, no one came out of that field trip as a vegetarian.

11. Bakeries

One of our favorite field trips this year was visiting a local doughnut shop. After learning how to make doughnuts, the kids had the chance to create and eat their very own doughnuts. Many locally-owned doughnut shops or bakeries will be more than happy to teach children how to make doughnuts, bagels, breads, or any other type of baked good.

12. Ice Cream Parlors

We haven’t done this one yet, but it’s on our list of places to visit at the very beginning of the fall semester next year. Kids can have the chance to learn about the process of making ice cream, and then enjoy some of the treat themselves!

13. Supermarkets

After years of tagging along for trips to the grocery store, give your kids the opportunity to learn how supermarkets function. Find out where all the items come from, how they are stocked and stored, and more of the ins and outs of running a grocery store.

14. Art Studios

If you’re fortunate enough to live in an area where you can attend art shows, contact the owner to find out about scheduling a tour of their exhibits with the artists. If there are no such venues in your area, consider local shops or restaurants that sell local artists’ works and contact them directly. Some local artists might rent studio space nearby or else might welcome you into their home studios.

15. Libraries

My kids spend a ton of time at the local library, but we still plan on scheduling a tour some time soon. Children can learn how to search for and locate books, how to use the library computers, and what kinds of programs are offered for children. My kids are very excited to learn what happens to their books after they get returned through the slit in the wall.

Felicity Visiting Grandpa’s Fire Station

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