With many areas returning to school activities amidst COVID-19, it’s time to start thinking about kids and socially distanced field trips. Even if field trips aren’t on the books for your class yet, it’s important to plan now for when they are added to the calendar. Determining what to do during a pandemic is difficult for most people, but especially for teachers. Here are some socially distanced field trip ideas.
Important: before you plan an outing for your class, it’s best to consult the latest health and safety regulations that are in place in your area.
Socially Distanced Field Trip Ideas
Zoo or Wildlife Refuge
Taking students to a zoo or wildlife refuge is an ideal field trip idea that allows for kids to be socially distanced from each other. Also, many of the exhibits are outdoors. As we all know, COVID-19 can be circulated by air systems inside of buildings, and so outdoor events that bypass this concern are ideal, especially with children!
If your school has chosen to utilize pods as a means of reducing COVID-19 exposure points, then you may even already have mini-groups built for exploring the zoo. Chaperones can be either teachers or parents of the students in the pods. Meandering through a zoo or wildlife refuge, examining the pandas and the giraffes, the elephants and the tigers, is an educational opportunity that can still be enjoyable, even with masks.
Even before COVID-19, it was wise to make appointments if you were planning a field trip for kids. However, now it’s even more crucial that you schedule an appointment if you want to plan a trip to a museum.
Museums have long been educational standbys, whether the museum was a history museum, and art museum, or a hands-on learning center museum. Often, museums have programs that are designed to easily complement the Common Core standards and the local standards where they’re located. Some museums even offer worksheets to educators and teachers prior to the field trip and after the field trip for review. Although it might seem more challenging than in the past, a trip to a museum, where your students can travel in small pods, is ideal.
Hiking is one of the best science field trips for kids to take, especially if you’re concerned about social distancing. Some field trip locations may have other groups present while you are there with your students, however this is less likely to occur if you are hiking.
While hiking does require some forethought (you want to ensure that the trail isn’t too difficult), it can be perfect for older children who are studying vegetation or ecosystems. For younger children, there are flat hiking trails at local parks, both county and state.
Many of these smaller trails provide signage to help identify trees, ferns, and other forest-life. Like the zoo, hiking allows your students to have a field trip outside, thus reducing their risk of COVID-19. The beauty of hiking may also distract them from the masks, and the breeze might lessen the discomfort.
For a bit of a hands on approach to your lesson, you might consider taking your students on a field trip to a local ranch or farm. Many of these are actual working farms or ranches, complete with animal menageries. What students don’t love goats, calves, rabbits, chickens, and horses?
If you choose a farm for your field trip, there are lots of options for the kids that involve social distancing. Some pods could look at fruit trees in an orchard, while others visit the barn with the milking cows or the chickens roosting.
Ranches, on the other hand, will focus more likely on horses and or cattle. With their spacious properties and the variety of jobs around, field trip accessible ranches will have plenty of activities to educate students about what life on a ranch looks like.
Ghost Town/Historical Town
Ghost towns or historical towns are a great way to provide your students with school activities that are history-based and fun! What student doesn’t love exploring a town full of pioneers or revolutionaries? Although the actors may be wearing masks, everything else is historically accurate.
Students can roam around in small groups and enjoy chatting with Paul Revere or folks along the Oregon Trail. Many historical reenactment towns have programs designed to specifically meet Common Core requirements and whatever the local state standards are, making it easy to incorporate socially distanced field trips into the curriculum. Often there are a variety of basic programs and additional programs that teachers can choose from, depending on the grade level and the section of the curriculum that is being studied.
Although many of these reenactment towns and locations were closed during the initial days of COVID-19, many of them, such as Latta Plantation have reopened.
If you work near a coast, another great option for your students is to take them to the beach. A beach is a perfect field trip for marine biology studies or even for basic ocean studies. Some beaches, like Assateague Island even have wild horses!
Many beaches are also home to marshes and maritime forests, making them rich places of biodiversity. Students can learn through hands-on interaction with the surrounding flora and fauna. Beach field trips can also be topic-specific. Maybe the beach nearest to your school has sea turtles who come ashore to make their nests and hatch their eggs. Depending on your students’ age, they could assist or learn from observation. It’s a great supplemental student activity.
Whatever type of school activities you’re looking for with your field trip, there is a perfect charter bus for your group! Bus.com has everything from coach buses with bathrooms on board to shuttle buses for your small pods.