Sunday, April 22, 2018

A year of field trips

Last Wednesday we went on a school trip to a Paws with a cause demonstration. I was so tired and a bit cranky and I was leaning heavily towards backing out of attending. I'm really glad I sucked it up though. Apart from the fact that I cried several times during the demonstration (I'm going to blame hormones) it was very heart warming and informative. The husband and wife who did the demonstration were so down to earth and friendly. They also really knew how to speak to younger children and join them on their level. The dog was gorgeous and so well behaved (obviously) and so were all the kids. I feel like I learned quite a bit about the organization and the helper dogs and I know that little Abe did as well.

He does not look thrilled
but that's the photographers fault.
He is a VERY active, imaginative, ACTIVE little boy. He's also very smart but when it comes to listening... hmm, no, that is not at the top of his best qualities list. His mind wanders (normal), and his attention gets drawn by the oddest of things (normal) like NOT the adult speaking at the front of the room but rather something out the window, or a child who is squirming, or maybe a fly on the wall. None the less I think he retained every single word he heard at this particular school outing and that certainly made my day. Now, I'm fully aware that cats and dogs are his favorite two things on the planet but I love it when his interest is peaked and he's able to learn without any effort what so ever. It was a wonderful trip.

With that said, I thought I'd take this opportunity to do a field trip rundown from the past year (since I've kind of not blogged at all...) Little Abe and I have attended an average of one school trip a month over the past year. One of the field trip's that I'm including in my list wasn't a school trip. It was last May when we visited the Ark Encounter as a family in Kentucky, but that was as close to a field trip as any other so I'm including it. And two of our school trips were volunteer opportunities not necessarily field trips but we've been trying to do one volunteer opportunity a month this year and they have been with his school group so I'm including those too.

The list
Chocolate factory tour
The Ark Encounter
Local historical village
Apple orchard and pumpkin patch
County Sheriff's department, with K9 demonstration
Recycling center tour
Love INC volunteer
Sleigh ride through a farm
School V-day party at playland
Laser tag (first time either of us had ever played)
Love INC volunteer
Paws with a cause demonstration

My favorites were the Sheriff's department, the recycling center, and the Paws with a cause trips. I was trying to figure out why those three stuck out to me the most. They certainly weren't the most fun. The apple orchard, laser tag, and sleigh ride trips were much more exciting. But I realized that those three are the ones that I learned the most at. I guess learning is entertaining for me (I should have known this though since my favorite genre of book is history).

In reality though those three trips are the ones that my son seemed to learn the most at as well. He LOVED the K9 demonstration/ interaction at the sheriff's department. The officer was really good with kids and the dog was really cool, the way it was trained and could do it's job so well. We also got to tour the 911 room. It felt like we shouldn't be in there, like we were trespassing but we were able to see operators answering the phones, look at the many computer screens in front of them, hear the phones ringing, and view live camera feeds from around the city. It was a very informative experience.

At the recycling center is was utterly fascinating to hear the incredibly loud, huge machinery doing it's job breaking down all the different categories of recycle materials. It was wild seeing the enormous mounds of different things, glass, plastics, cardboard. Absolutely fascinating. I know that it left an impression on little Abe because the trip was a few months ago and he still asks regularly if something should go into recycle or not if he's uncertain. The presentation and video we watched before the tour was very interesting to me and I honestly learned a lot about recycling that I had not known.

Another trip that stuck out was little Abe's Valentines day party this year. We spent about two weeks preparing for it. We started by making his card box. Once that was completed we began making cards for all the kids. The cards were fun but we petered out about half way. Too much arts and crafts becomes torture after so long. Half the kids received a homemade card from him and the other half received some cute little cards from the dollar store that came with a little pin.

These are the cards he made and gave out.

The historical village that we toured was neat but I don't think any of the kids listened to anything the man said. He was terrific with facts and presenting and he was very friendly but he could have easily been talking to high school or college age students and this was reflected in how well the entire group paid attention. The historical village we toured is a collection of old buildings, all taken from various places in the county and set up at the county fair. It's only open during the country fair run times and we actually toured it as a group before it officially opened for the season. It was neat but I couldn't help being fascinated by how each of the children were paying attention to what each other were doing or looking at, they were considerably more interested in picking tiny flowers they'd find along the way between buildings and other similar activities. At one point several of them gathered around a dying bumblebee and observed it for a lengthy bit of time while the man went into great detail about the building we were currently about to enter.

In review, It's been utterly fascinating to see how even when children aren't learning what the adults might want them to be, they're observing and learning and growing none the less.


  1. WHAT FUN!!!! It is a sad commentary to public school - we went on ONE....count em....ONE field trip this year and it was to the zoo that is 5 minutes away from school, so we walked. There is no money made available for "fun" things like field trips - I quote fun because not only do I believe field trips are fun, but they do learn a lot and for some reason our school district just doesn't seem to think that is important which makes me sad.

    1. I'm not sure how many the schools around here do actually go on but one field trip is REALLY low. I try really hard to schedule AT LEAST one a month. It's really sad that the kids in your school have only had one for the year! That's crazy.

  2. Sunds like good learning experiences for both of you.