Family Field Trip Ideas

Today I’m excited to have my friend Rachel guest posting and talking about field trips and homeschooling. 

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When we first began to consider homeschooling, one of the things that really appealed to me was the opportunity we would have for family field trips. I looked forward to the memories we would make and the learning that would occur simultaneously. Now that I look back over the past few years, I have to say that it is challenging trying to decide which field trips were our favorites. I’ll share a few just to give you an idea of the variety that we try to include.

Family Field Trip Ideas

Most recently we really enjoyed our trip to COSI in Columbus, OH. It seems almost cliché to say it, but there truly was something for everyone. We enjoyed many of the exhibits together, and when the time came for the older ones to enjoy a movie in the Extreme Screen Theater, Daddy went with them. I took the little ones to the Little Kidspace. Let me just say, it was fabulous. Even I wanted to get down and play with them. They had a great time with a great deal of imaginative play, and this area even provided some inspiration as my husband and I planned a play room Christmas surprise.

Another trip to Columbus found us at the beautiful Ohio Statehouse. If you ever have an opportunity to tour your own statehouse, you really should do it. We’re really blessed to know our state representative and were able to get a “behind the scenes” tour with him which greatly added to our experience. We enjoyed being able to sit in on part of a session to see how that part of government works.

Zoos are obviously a favorite field trip destination for many, and with us it’s no exception. We’ve visited several, and the Toledo Zoo has easily been our favorite. It was quite crowded the day we were there, and we still very much enjoyed the variety of animals and the lovely exhibits. The interactive Nature’s Neighborhood was a real hit with the kids, and they would have loved to have had more time to spend there.

The Historic Zoar Village has been a repeat field trip location for us. Each year they host a very hands-on spring and fall Homeschool Day. My cousin is the educational director there, and she has done a fantastic job coordinating these events. The children have enjoyed activities such as weaving, tin punching, washing clothes the old-fashioned way, etc. This past fall we attended their Civil War School Day event which was also an exciting day.

I’ve mentioned in the past how important nature study is to us. We visit zoos and nature centers and even our own woods, but we can’t go to the Arctic or to Africa. We go to Cabela’s instead. Have you ever thought of Cabela’s as a field trip location? I realize that it’s mainly a store, but it is so much more. It is truly a wildlife museum. We’ve been there quite a few times, and we never get tired of it. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that there is a Books-a-Million right next door!

I don’t know if we can really count the county fair unless it is a week-long field trip. Because our children show animals we spend a great deal of time there. It’s exhausting but so much fun, and there really is so much to learn both by visiting the exhibits and by participating in some way!

Sometimes coming up with field trip ideas can be daunting as well as expensive. We’ve tried to keep our costs down. Many of the activities we choose are either free or low cost. We’ve also received museum family memberships as gifts which have been great blessings. I would encourage you to look close to home for ideas. Often there are things just around the corner that we don’t even know are there. There are many places on my “to do before they graduate” list that are within an hour from our home. Some will happen, others probably won’t, but I’m all for making educational and fun memories!

RachelRachel is married to her best friend, Eric, and homeschooling mama to their 8 amazing children. Life is a daily adventure in their home and provides lots of love and laughter! They live on a dairy farm in Ohio and their children are self-proclaimed “country kids” and quite proud of it! It is their family’s goal to seek and honor God in all that they do and to be a blessing to those around them. Aside from being a homemaker Rachel enjoys reading, writing and dreaming about the day she’ll actually make some of those Pinterest crafts!

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7 Simple Sanity Savers (for Busy Moms)

Today’s guest is Anna from Feminine Adventures. 

Many of us dreamt of being mothers from our earliest girlhoods and would not trade the joy and responsibility of shaping souls for any career.

That fact doesn’t make mothering multiple little ones easy.

There are plenty of days that six o’clock rolls around and I haven’t thought of dinner once and the stacks of folded laundry form a maze on the living room floor. But these seven simple sanity savers have helped calm the chaos considerably during this full season of life.

(Photo credit)

1.) Keep your to-do list short: making a mile long to-do list might seem productive, but usually it’s just a set up for failure. Instead, prioritize a handful of things you really want to accomplish and focus on completing them.

2.) If it isn’t dirty, don’t wash it. It’s pretty obvious, but a huge sanity saver. When you’re busy caring for multiple little ones sometimes there isn’t time to clean things that ought to be cleaned. Don’t waste it washing things that don’t.

The two main don’t-wash-it-if-it-isn’t-dirty items in our house are cups and clothes.

  • Cups: Each of the older kids has their own sturdy colored cup. They use them for water all day long and I wash them each night. We drink water 90% of the time, so it saves a drastic amount of cup washing. (Alternately, you can mark cups with rubber bands.) My mom did this when I was little and I’m pretty sure it saved washing 17,354 cups. Maybe more.
  • Clothes: From my limited experience, if children are left to their own they take it upon themselves to make sure you’re never, ever bored by producing a constant stream of laundry. Tossing clothes that were barely worn into the laundry hamper may seem like a time-saving device to a four-year-old, but it’s not. If clothes are dirty or sweaty, they belong in the wash. If they’re clean, there’s no need to wash and dry them before putting them away. Training children (and us adults too) to glance at clothes before tossing them in the laundry basket at least puts a tiny check in the flow of laundry.

3.) Embrace help: If your husband, mother, or a friend offers to help out, don’t feel guilty saying “that would be lovely!” We’re called to be faithful moms, not “Super Moms”.

Sometimes embracing helps also means using the tools we have at our disposal. For example, one of the ways that I rest on Sunday is by using disposable plates and utensils as much as possible. It is not the greenest option, but it does offer a welcome break from the stream of dishes.

4.) Learn to say “no”: every time we say “yes” to something, we are inherently saying “no” to something else, whether it’s sleep or exercise or one-on-one time with our husband or time to focus on a goal. Say “no” to the things that simply busy your schedule without a purpose. If you, like me, hate saying “no”, learn to say “let me check with my husband [or the calendar] first.” Discussing the commitment before plunging in headlong makes choosing the best answer easier.

5.) If it won’t perish, keep it well stocked: Diapers (if you use disposable), toilet paper, cleaning supplies, and paper products have a terribly long shelf life. So do condiments, canned goods, and more. (Here’s a list of 10 foods that last practically forever to keep on hand.) Not only is a well-stocked pantry and supply closet a good buffer against natural or economic disaster, it saves many unnecessary trips to the store.

I’ve also found that it’s really helpful to have things like diapers well-stocked in ALL the areas I generally use them (bedroom, each bathroom, diaper bag, van, etc.)

6.) De-clutter regularly: Clutter is the stuff that crowds our homes and minds without enriching it. It seems to sneak in unbidden. Get rid of it ruthlessly. Every couple of months I set a simple goal for myself, like get rid of twenty items. Regular purging keeps the clutter in check.

7.) Look to Jesus: He is the Author and Finisher of our faith and our Guide through the journey of life and motherhood. Even in the midst of chaos, when we look to Him our faces our lightened and our burdens are lifted. (Heb. 12:1; Ps. 34:5)

Anna believes building a home for God’s glory is a high and noble calling. She seeks to capture the daily adventure of this calling on her blog, Feminine Adventures. There she writes about her passions: Christian womanhood, mothering little ones and homemaking. Visit her blog or join her on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.

 

Affiliate links might be included in this post, please visit my disclosures page to learn more.