Thursday, May 31, 2012

Free {or almost} Field Trips and Activities

As a child, my parents taught me to seek out deals and sales.  If there was a coupon or discount for a product, we used it.  When something we needed, or used regularly, went on sale, we bought it. 

There are many ways to apply this mindset to homeschooling as well, especially with field trips and activities.  A few ideas or ways to find free, or almost free, field trips and activities include... 


Field Trips -
  • Attend open house days at various places - Near us, a group of ten museums open their doors to the public free of charge one day in February.  Though the crowds are plentiful, it is a great way to visit a museum and determine if your children are interested in a second visit or not.
  • Check schedules for customer appreciation days, these are sometimes sponsored by the place itself or a nearby business.  In our area, the art museum is free on Sundays.
  • Ask businesses for a tour - We took a free tour of a bakery.  Post offices, donut shops, and stores offer free tours in our area.
  • Visit county, state, or national parks - These are often free, but check their websites first.  Many parks have historical information centers or nature centers that can be toured. 

Activities -
  • Ask the librarian - our library invites area businesses and companies to sponsor free programs for the public.  We have listened to a classical music concert, complete with a discussion about the instruments and have participated in a hands on history lesson about pioneer life at our local public library.
  • Consider church activities - area churches can put on some great free programs.  Close to our community area churches, including our home church, have hosted art camps, VBS, and family fun days.  Our church has a theatrical group who perform plays for the community for free.
  • Community days - small cities often have community days which bring the community together in a variety of festivities.  Parades, fairs, agriculture days, festivals, and fireworks are some of the activities families can participate in at local community days.
  • Park programs - local parks often offer visitors a variety of activities for free.  During the warm months, our parks offer free musical festivals, concerts, hawk watches, nature hikes, and butterfly counts for the monarchs migration.

Almost Free...

Field Trips -
  • Dollar Days are popular during the summer months.  An industrial museum, natural history museum, and a zoo all offer admission for one dollar on special days during the summer.  It is typically a weekday when admission would normally be low.  However, generally, dollar days are very popular.  Websites often have the dollar days listed in the schedules or calendars. 
  • Homeschool Days are gaining popularity in our area.  A few places of historical interest even include additional programing for homeschoolers during homeschool days.  We have visited a farm, learned about farm animals, and made butter during one homeschool day.

Activities -
  • Consider bartering or trading - one time my daughter wanted to learn ballet.  We could not find a short (six week) class to try ballet before we signed, and payed, for an entire year.  A family friend offered to teach her ballet for six weeks in exchange for a six week Spanish class for her children. 
  • Volunteer your time to teach, lead, or help with the activity - often children of teachers, leaders, or helpers can take the class or participate in the activity for a very small price or even free.  It will cost you time in preparations and actual teaching time. 


Field Trips -
  • Get a group together and take advantage of group rates.  Many places offer group rates, and sometimes the grown up chaperones can get free admission, which cuts the overall cost even more. 
  • Consider visiting during off times - sometimes places discount admission rates during evening hours or off days.  Always check the website for discounts and coupons before your visit. 
  • Homeschool days aren't always free, but are often discounted greatly.  Be sure to check under educational opportunities on websites.  This is where I have often found out about homeschool days.

Activities -
  • Places that have activities and sports for school aged children are typically deserted during the weekdays.  Consider getting a group of interested participants together and approach the businesses for a discounted time during these times.  In our area, an ice skating rink, skating rink, bowling alleys, and gymnastic centers offer daytime hours to homeschoolers for a discounted price.

These ideas are all ones my family has used in our homeschool journey.
I am quite confident there are even more ways to find free,
or almost free, field trips and activities.

What are some other ideas you have for finding free or almost free field trips and activities?


Dorie enjoys being outside, photography, art, writing, a strong cup of coffee, and good conversations seasoned with much laughter. She and her drummer husband, Jerry, share a life built on faith in Jesus, love, and grace. They have been blessed with four active children. Each day, whether easy or trying, is a wondrous part of this grace filled journey, and Dorie blogs about them all at These Grace Filled Days. Their homeschooling adventures can be found at Homeschooling Just Next Door.

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