3 Ways to Take Field Trip Lessons Home

Going on a field trip can be a new adventure that leaves a lasting impression on students of all ages. While a special trip outside of the classroom only lasts for a few hours, the lessons it teaches can be implemented back at school and at home in a variety of different ways. It’s Field Trip Factory’s goal to incorporate new ideas and lesson extensions that continue to bring field trip lessons to life long after the experience wraps up. 

Field Trip Factory reaches communities through a variety of trips, focusing on nutrition and making healthy choices. We rounded up a few simple ways to make field trips lessons last beyond the day of the event.

1. Take Time for Reflection

May-Newsletter-ReflectionsOne of the easiest ways to extend the lessons of a field trip is to set aside some time for reflection. It’s a quick way incorporate a variety of skills…writing, group work, creative and critical thinking…and more. 

For example, make time for a short game. Each child names their favorite fruit or vegetable, accompanied by a fun gesture – their favorite “exercise”. Involving everyone and adding a special twist to what they just learned doesn’t need to be complicated.

It could be a five minute exercise, a trip to the library to discover new books about the field trip topic, anything goes. But taking a little time to think about the lessons learned outside of the field trip environment will reinforce the lessons for even greater retention.

2. Let Students Demonstrate New Skills Outside of School

May-Newsletter-Grocery-StoreIf you’re a teacher or group leader, perhaps sent a quick note home describing the general skills taken away from the field trip. If your kids went on a nutrition scavenger hunt, one of the best ways to extend understanding is a trip with their parents to the grocery store.

Being able to return to the lessons in a new context is a fun way to test student’s knowledge. Who knows, maybe they will teach their parents a thing or two! 

3. Keep it Hands-On at Home

May-Newsletter-Hands-On-at-HomeEspecially with lessons on health, wellness and nutrition, there is a wide variety of ways to extend field trip lessons. One we love? We think hands-on snacking is a great way to reinforce healthy habits while having fun at home with parents and siblings.

Parents, indulge your creative side with a myriad of at-home activities that bring experiential learning to life. Step outside of the box with “Kitchen Table Science“, simple ideas that turn your home into a top-secret science lab. In this way, “health and nutrition” extend beyond what foods to eat, but to the larger idea of food and nature as science concepts. 

Tell us, do you have a special activity that is helpful in extending field trip lessons? Be sure to let us know in the comments!

14 Spring-Into-Summer Activities for Kids

It’s easy to see that we’re advocates of fun and educational activities that get kids up and out of the classroom and into the community. Whether you’re a teacher, parent or group leader, there’s always need for a little activity inspiration to get outside as the season starts to heat up.

We’ve gathered together some easy, fun and educational activities sure to add something special to your “spring into summer” routine. What recommendations do you have for other teachers, group leaders, parents, friends for keeping kids engaged when the weather starts to heat up? Be sure to let us know in the comments!

Go on a Spring & Summer Nature Scavenger Hunt!

Spring-Nature-Scavenger-Hunt

Image via the Swedish Bushcrafter

Give these 10 Simple Weather Activities a try. 

10 Simple Weather Activities

Teach the values of sustainability and recycling with these Soda Bottle Watering Cans. Get outside and garden!

Soda-Bottle-Watering-Can

Image via Mess for Less

 
Inspire kids to create a true work of art while learning about the environment with this Flower and Grass Sensory Bin!

GrassFlowerSenoryplay

Image via the Good Long Road

It’s one of the best parts of school…bring recess home for the summer!

RECESS

We hope this short list provides you with some fresh ideas for your classroom, group or home!

Again, please sure to let us know your favorite activities by leaving a note in the comments.

Hands-On Healthy Snacking

Today’s guest post comes to us from Jessi Boehme, RDN at Tasty Table Topics

For fun, educational, nutrition field trips in your area, click here

Do you ever find that you’re running out of healthy options for kid’s school snacks? Maybe they’re a picky eater but you want to make sure they’re still getting adequate nutrition?

Play with Your FoodI’m happy to tell you that there are ways around it because let’s face it, kids love to play with their food! By giving them snacks that are interactive helps eliminate mindless eating and ensures that they are getting healthy nutritious foods. What do I mean? Try these “snack-ativities” with your kids:

Try mashing blueberries with low fat cream cheese. It’s a source of calcium and antioxidants for the kids, which they need for strong bones! Put whole grain goldfish crackers mixed into the cream cheese and have them “go fishing” using small stalks of celery!

Hands-On-SnackingHave the kids make the rainbow using a variety of fresh fruit! Each piece could be dipped into low fat regular or Greek yogurt. This will keep the kids busy and full on important vitamins and minerals.

Cut up lots of veggies, hand them a slice of whole wheat bread or two, spread hummus or low-fat cream cheese across the top and have them make goofy, fun faces out of the vegetables! Make sure to take pictures of them mimicking their sandwich face!

Spread peanut butter in the crook of celery and have your kids put the “ants” on the “log” and eat up this high protein, healthy fat (peanut butter has essential fatty acids in it like omega-3’s) delicious snack!

You can also try these fun “Dip It” snack time foods!

Graham Crackers in applesauce, animal crackers in low-fat sugar free pudding, granola bars in low-fat yogurt, pretzels in mustard, vegetables like carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers or celery in hummus, raisins in peanut butter, or fruit in low-fat cottage cheese.

There are loads of options out there! Get kids interacting with their food and they’ll be more engaged in its benefits. Their minds are like sponges, make sure they’re absorbing all of the right information about their health and the important role nutrition plays in it.

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Thanks again to Jessi for the guest post!

Do you have a favorite recipe that your kids or students love? Be sure to let us know in the comments. 

You Told Us: Easy Tips for Staying Healthy All Year Round

During National Nutrition Month this past March, we asked you the simple question: how you stay healthy all year round? National nutrition month is over, but we’ve brought together some of your top tips for staying on top of healthy eating, plus some delicious healthy recipe collections to make enjoying healthy meals even easier.

So, how do you stay healthy?

Healthy Tip

Healthy Eating Little KidsCutting out processed foods can initially be a challenge for the whole family, but worth it. The key to getting started on a diet that favors natural foods over their processed counterparts starts small, by consulting your grocery store, friends, family and online resources for tips. Think Global. Eat Local. is a brand new Field Trip focused on giving students the skills to identify natural and organic foods when making healthy meal and snack choices. Mrs. Green’s offers a wealth of information about eating naturally.

Below are great resources to jump start healthy eating habits. 

100 Days of Real Food – Real Food Tips
Deliciously Organic 
Eating Rules
Whole Family Fare
Smitten Kitchen 

Healthy Idea

Kids and Parents Exercising TogetherWhat a great idea! Staying active is such an important component of keeping kids and adults healthy. A great way for families to incorporate fitness into their daily routine is to exercise together. Now, it doesn’t have to be anything difficult. When the weather is warm, take a half hour walk around the block. Like the teacher in the quote above, carve out small portions of the day where activity takes priority. Do you have a favorite exercise routine or healthy habit? Be sure to let us know in the comments. 

Below are some ideas to get everybody moving! 

15 Easy Exercise Ideas for Parents & Kids
10 Ways to Exercise as a Family
Get Active – Let’s Move
Raising Fit Kids
7 Family Games to Play Anywhere

Healthy Tip

Meal PlanningMeal-planning is one of the easiest ways to stay on top of a crazy-busy schedule. Devoting a half hour or less to the week’s fare takes all the guesswork out of that famous “what’s for dinner?” question. Another huge plus of meal planning is using the process to introduce new fruits, vegetables and other healthy choices into the rotation each week. Meal planning resources are all over the web, which makes this healthy tip easy to practice. Getting organized also saves you time and money at the grocery store. Take a look at some healthy meal plan resources below.

Healthy Meal Plans for Kids
Meal Planning Made Simple
Healthy Meal Plans on Pinterest
5 Tips for Creating Healthy School Lunch Meal Plans
Healthy Eating Planner: 31 Days of Superfoods
Check out nutrition Field Trips in your area here

What’s your go-to healthy tip? Be sure to let us know in the comments. 

Fun Ways to Get Outside the Classroom for Earth Month

Did you know…April is Earth Month!? A time to celebrate new blooms after a long and cold winter. After a season of staying cooped up, we’ve gathered together some fun ideas to get outside the classroom this April. We have some environmentally-themed Field Trips we can’t to share with you, plus great activities that are sure to add a little bit of extra outdoor fun to your routine. Spring is here…let’s celebrate! 

Go Green with the Think Global. Eat Local. Field Trip

MG-facebookad-V3Mrs. Green’s Natural Markets across the country are opening their doors to teach lessons on healthy choices and helping the Earth. The trip revolves around students discovering healthy, sustainable choices…naturally. More details here

Extend Sustainability Lessons at with Guiding Stars Store Tours

HF-facebookad-v1You can “follow the stars” to new healthy lessons with your kids at Hannaford stores. This field trip has a special focus on sustainability, which is a perfect tie in to Earth Month. “Going Green” is easy with the 3 Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. More details
here

Don’t Miss This Trip!

Ralphs Free Field TripIt’s your last chance to book a “Speak Out. It’s YOUR Earth!” Field Trip at Ralphs stores. This Earth-Day themed adventure is available April 2014 Only. More details here!

 

Photo via No Time for Flashcards

Photo via No Time for Flashcards

 

There are so many fun, easy activities classrooms and families can do together outside. We’ve rounded up a collection we hope everyone will enjoy! Do you have a great activity to share? Be sure to let us know in the comments.  

50 Earth Day Activities for Kids
15 Nature Activities for Kids 
20 Simple Recycled Crafts for Kids

New For You: Fresh Field Trips Launching this Spring!

Field Trip Factory is proud to announce new Field Trip opportunities both in the US and Canada. Featuring lessons ranging from digital media literacy to the importance of natural, sustainable, green choices, we look forward to rolling out trips that inspire new levels of hands-on learning. For a list of all the programs in your area, click here

Piggly-Wiggly-Logo_110_78In addition to brand-new programs, we are launching the latest Explore the Store Field Trip at Piggly Wiggly in Kinston, North Carolina. In the area? Learn more details about this fun, engaging trip


Take a look at what’s new.
 

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Microsoft Tech TalksMedia Literacy lessons come to life when students are given a rare opportunity to explore the latest digital technology in a playful, creative way. The program also highlights important lessons of online safety and privacy in a relatable and engaging setting. 

Students are given the freedom to explore interactive storytelling with the aid of Microsoft’s in-store theatre, various technologies and interactive stations. It’s high-speed learning in a world where educational technology is constantly evolving. 

Brought to you by the Microsoft team, this field trip currently takes place only in Canada

Digital literacy is set to make an impact in a big way in the next few years. This past February, it was announced that Adobe and Prezi are set to donate $400 million dollars to the effort of improving technology education in America.

If you would like to see this program in your area, contact us and let’s get the conversation started! Email or give us a call at 800.987.6409.

Think Globally, Eat Locally Field Trip at
Mrs. Greens

Starting this April, Mrs. Green’s Natural Market is excited to provide free guided field trips at select locations in Chicago, New York, Virginia and Connecticut. 

Fresh Veggies Mrs. Green's

Photo via Mrs. Green’s

The mission of the Think Global. Eat Local. field trip is sharing with students just how their actions and food choices shape their world for the better. Simple steps for “going green” and what exactly that means are the (whole-grain) bread and butter of this simply nutritious hands-on adventure.

“Green” living is all about eating well, but it’s also about giving back. Exploring recycling, sourcing from local farmers and organic food jump starts a connection between students and the impact they have on their community. 

For more information on this field trip, sign up here.

Now that we’ve shared what’s coming this spring, we turn to you for inspiration. What sort of field trip would inspire your students? Teachers, community members — we want to know how we can create new programs benefiting you.

Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments.

5 Easy Ways to Celebrate National Nutrition Month Plus A Great Giveaway

March is National Nutrition Month, an annual recognition of the importance of eating healthy to our everyday lives. Field Trip Factory is committed to nutrition education and orchestrates thousands of tours each year around the US and Canada focused on student health & wellness. 

Giant-Eagle-Kid-FT-1Enter this Month’s Giveaway: The Giant Eagle Health & Wellness School Giveaway celebrates Giant Eagle’s 20 years of commitment to nutrition education, plus 1/2 million students taking part in the ‘Be a Smart Shopper!’ Field Trip! Enter now to win $500 for your school. Spread the word to teachers, administrators, family and friends

This giveaway is open to residents of Columbus, Cleveland and Pittsburgh and surrounding metropolitan areas. Not from the area? Enter to win $50 Gift Card in our Nutrition Month Giveaway

Take a look below for 5 satisfyingly simple ways to take part in National Nutrition Month. 

Fruits and Vegetables in a Rainbow1. Take the Challenge – Eat a Rainbow of Produce

One of the easiest ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle is to make sure all colors are accounted for. Eating a rainbow of produce each day is a crazy-easy way to ensure that you’re receiving necessary vitamins and minerals to keep you going.

The best healthy recipes start with simple ingredients. Use the “Rainbow” rule of thumb to get creative while planning delicious meals. 

2. Try Something New – Spice It Up With Superfood

Superfoods are nutrition choices packed with antioxidants and other health benefits to keep your and your family in tip-top shape, like omega-3 acids and cancer-fighting lycopene. 

Acai BerryMost of these food items are readily available at any supermarket, like blueberries, tea, black beans, strawberries…the list goes on and on. Why not take a walk on the “wild” side and try a superfood that’s new to you, like Acai berries (pictured) or quinoa, for example?

For a little guidance, check out this list of 52 superfoods to try

3. Create a Healthy Plate – MyPlate Meals

My-Plate-Giant-EagleWhether you are creating meals for one or a family of 5, one of the most essential parts of day-to-day health is choosing what to eat. There are plenty of variables that factor into food decisions…not enough time to cook, picky eaters, availability of items, and so on.

Take it from us…anything you can do to make this process easier, the better! Field Trip Factory’s nutrition trips offer an explanation of MyPlate, the revamped, easier-to-understand version of the Food Pyramid. 

Not only is MyPlate a very helpful tool in guiding kids in the right direction when it comes to making healthy food choices, it makes meal planning a complete no-brainer. All it requires is a little planning before heading out to the grocery store. 

Click here for MyPlate healthy choice inspiration!

4. Make Informed Choices – Learn More About the New Nutrition Labels

New Nutrition LabelBig changes are on the way for nutrition labels. At the end of February, the FDA announced that for the first time in 20 years, the traditional nutrition label is proposed to get a makeover, making healthy choices easier than ever.

What will it mean if the new nutrition labels go into effect? Easy to determine serving sizes, more visible calorie counts, info on added sugars, and more. For an in-depth look at the new nutrition label proposal, click here

5. Get Active – Make Time for Physical Activity Every Day

Kids-ActiveHealthy eating and good ol’ fashioned exercise go hand in hand. It’s so important for everyone of all ages to get a little exercise in each and every day, but goal-setting makes it easier. 

As you know, with exercise, it’s best to choose what works for you and make room in your schedule. Run around with your kids. Take a walk in your neighborhood. Make it a part of your work day. Whatever works for you, write it down. Journal, communicate with friends…it may seem tough, but committing to a goal makes everything a lot easier to start. 

For helpful hints for getting kids, families and communities active, click here

What are your tips for staying healthy? Be sure to let us know in the comments.

 

Teacher Perspective: Finding the Right Field Trip

This guest post comes to us from Amanda Pauley, the teacher and voice behind the blog Mrs. Pauley’s Kindergarten

Field Trip Kids

Finding the Right Field Trip

I am a kindergarten teacher in Illinois.  I have been teaching for seven years.  Each year I planned at least one field trip for both my grade level partner and myself. 

I know from experience that sometimes teachers choose field trips based on nothing other than convenience.  You see a flyer in the teacher’s lounge and think, “Hmmm……we haven’t been on a field trip yet this year.  This looks good!”  I don’t know about you, but I like to choose meaningful, fun, and educational field trips for my students.  Doing this though can sometimes seem like a daunting and challenging task.  I am here to give you some pointers to make this task a little easier for you. 

Field Trip Fun!
Field Trip Picture

1.  Choose a field trip that enhances your students’ learning on a topic.

I always look at the units of study that I teach each year and see if there is a field trip I can take that will enhance their learning.  For example, if you cover farm animals within your curriculum, you may want to take a field trip to a farm.  

I know this seems like a simple idea, but sometimes it can be hard to do.  Field Trip Factory has made this task easier for you.  When you access their site, you will see the first question they ask is “What do you want to teach?”  There is a simple pull down menu of topics for you to choose from. 

Field Trips Provide Hands-On Experiences
Free Field Trips

2.  Plan ahead.

Some teachers only have the opportunity to go on field trips at certain times of the year.  If this pertains to you, then you will need to plan ahead to see what field trips are available for the time of year.  For example, we always take a field trip in May.  Unfortunately, not every field trip we want to take is available that month.  We plan all of this ahead of time.  Sometimes, we even plan for this at the beginning of the year as we create our timeline for the year.  (Granted, this is a loose timeline as things can easily change).

If you do not plan ahead, you might miss out on an exciting educational experience for your students.  As a young teacher, I have made that mistake and waited to plan a field trip.  Then I sadly realized that there was no more space available for my class to take the field trip.  It left me feeling defeated.  Don’t let this happen to you.  Think about what field trips you want to take and plan ahead for them! 

Explore Behind-the-Scenes
Free Field Trips

3.  Check with your administration.

Every school and district has different requirements for scheduling field trips, but it is important that you check with your administration before scheduling your field trip.  I like to research which field trips I would like to take my class on and then present the information to my principal.  He has to approve the field trip as well as someone from our central office.  Sometimes this can take awhile so I always make sure I plan ahead!

4.  What is the cost?

Does your school pay for the entire field trip?  Will your students have to pay for a portion of the field trip?  Can you only go on free field trips?

These are very important questions to think about.  My school does not pay for field trips so either my students have to pay for their field trip or we go on free field trips.  In my district, we cannot ask students to pay more than $5.00 per field trip.  This can restrict our options greatly, but I don’t let that get me down.  I have many conversations with the field trip coordinators to see if they would be willing to lower their rates so my students could attend their field trip. 

Many times, we are able to work out something manageable for all involved.  It never hurts to ask especially if you are under monetary restrictions like myself.  In cases that I have not been able to work out something, I have gone to our parent teacher organization and asked them to donate the amount over the $5.00 so our students can go on a field trip.  They are usually gladly willing to help us out.

Create Something New!
Free Field Trips

I hope I have given you some food for thought on field trip planning.  I am a planner by nature so I enjoy working out all the details of field trips, but I know many people dread it.  If that describes you, just follow my four simple tips and your field trip planning should be a snap!

What are your tips for finding the right field trip? Be sure to let us know in the comments.  

What’s New at FTF: Two New Features to Help Teachers, Group Leaders and More

This past year, the Field Trip Factory website debuted a bold new look and feel. Along with a little light site construction, the team at FTF is continually working on features that make booking great field trips simply a breeze.
Field Trip

Take a look at some of our newest features that help accomplish field trip bookings as easy as 1-2-3.

Free Programs Page

Did you know: Field Trip Factory programs are delivered all across the country and Canada? In addition to offering a zip code/postal code search, take a look at our free programs page. Along with giving a short description of the program, this page gives a helpful overview of the geographic location of all available trips.

As our trip catalog expands both nationwide and internationally, be sure to check back and see the variety of our programs in your neighborhood and beyond. 

Field Trip Special Exception Requests

Free Field TripWe are committed to continually upgrading our Field Trip scheduling system to make it more intuitive for teachers, group leaders and community members.

The “typical” field trip can often be anything but typical…if you’re looking to schedule more than one class, if you are looking for a particular date that isn’t on the specified calendar, let FTF help you out when you submit a quick exception request: 

1. When you go to schedule a trip and you receive the prompt below, that is how you know to submit a request. 

Exception Request

2. While Field Trip Factory works with sponsors to maintain the most up-to-date availability calendars possible, our relationship with our community partners extends to working on scheduling solutions. The Exception Request Form helps to make this process more seamless…and it also cuts down on effort on your part! 

3. A Field Trip Factory representative will follow up with you after you’ve made your request. We will connect with you, the educator and our community sponsor to determine the best options for your Field Trip.

While not every special request can be accommodated, we will try our very best to work out a date, time, group size, you-name-it need that works for your group. 

Little by little, Field Trip Factory will continue to make the booking process as quick and flexible as possible. Please contact us with any questions! Send an email to info@fieldtripfactory.com or give us a call at 800.987.6409.

To do that, we need your feedback! Let us know what you think of our bold new look and features in the comments. 

You Told Us: Favorite Field Trip Ideas

This past December, Field Trip Factory conducted a simple survey asking what you, our community, is looking for when it comes to Field Trips. Thank you so much to everyone who responded. If you didn’t take our December survey, don’t worry…there will be plenty of chances in the future to share your opinions to help make our field trip program even better than ever.

The feedback below is a fun, revealing snapshot of what the FTF community is looking for. Do you have a great field trip idea? Be sure to let us know in the comments, send us an email, drop us a line on Facebook; whatever works best for you!

Also, we strive to be a resource for all great field trips, experiential learning and innovative learning experiences. We look forward to hearing from you about what hands-on learning experiences that have made an impact on your role as teacher, student group leader, parent or community member. 

You Told Us: Quotes from FTF Field Trip Survey

Field Trip Quote

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Be sure to leave your favorite field trip idea in the comments.