One of the school highlights for elementary (and sometimes older) kids is a field trip. You get to leave school, go somewhere different, and learn something new. You might have a picnic lunch at the field trip location as well.
A change of pace is good for all of us, even your toddler.
Field trips can be just as fun and exciting for toddlers as they can be for bigger, school-aged kids. Just keep your toddler in mind when picking the destination. If your little one is rowdy and loud, visiting an art museum might not be the right destination. If loud noises scare her, you probably won’t want to visit the fire station.
Also, keep in mind your toddler’s attention span. If she goes down for a nap at 12:30, don’t plan to go on the field trip at 11 a.m. Go early in the morning, while she’s fresh and has time to enjoy the sights.
If you’re wondering where to take your child on a field trip, there are endless possibilities. Here are some of our favorites:
Petting Zoo—Let the kids see the animals up close and feed them.
Zoo—A trip to the zoo is a must for toddlers. Before going, read them books about the zoo and the animals they will see there.
Aquarium—A great aquarium can be impressive for most adults. Imagine how your toddler will feel! If a dolphin show is available, make sure to see it. Your toddler will be amazed. Also, make sure to plan time for breaks and play as there is so much to do at an aquarium.
Fish Hatchery—Here, you can buy feed and feed the fish and watch them swimming right below the surface.
Nature Center—Charlotte Mason, a British educator in the late 1800s, said that all children should spend several hours outdoors each day, and when they’re older, creating a nature study journal. A day at a local nature center can help your child see all that nature has to offer, especially if she lives in the city.
Farm—Many local farms are open to visitors. Call one and set up an appointment. Your child will likely enjoy seeing the animals up close and seeing how a farm runs. Again, reading books beforehand about farms such as Margaret Wise Brown’s Big Red Barn is helpful.
Fruit Farm—Take your child blueberry or apple picking. Make sure to dress appropriately with a hat, sunscreen and long sleeves and pants. While children like this activity, they may bore quickly, so don’t make this a long outing.
Pumpkin Patch—Take a hay ride, pick a pumpkin, see the scarecrow.
Planetarium—An older toddler will likely enjoy this as long as the show is strictly G rated and doesn’t have any scary parts. Call before you go.
Fire Station—Kids love loud, big things, and you can’t get much louder or bigger than a fire truck. Most fire stations are happy to have young visitors, so call to make an appointment. Your child may even leave with a souvenir or two.
Construction Site—This can be an impromptu trip. If there is construction going on somewhere nearby, simply take a walk past the construction site. My son as a toddler was rooted to the sidewalk for over 40 minutes while we watched construction work on the street.
Pizza Station—Go to Costco and watch them make pizza through the viewing window. Your toddler will be fascinated.
Hands on Museum—Every child should go to this kind of museum at least once.
Book Store—Go to a child-friendly book store, get cozy in a chair, and read some books. Buy your favorites. There may even be toys there for your toddler to play with.
What are your favorite field trips for toddlers?