Looking to take your young ones on some field trips this year but plan on sticking to a tight budget? Here are some inexpensive ideas that will help them learn more about your local community.
Kindergarten and first grade is generally when children learn about their community. The family unit and their place within that structure or usually established by this time in their young lives. They are now able to branch out and see that there is more to life than just me, my siblings, my dad and mom! We have the freedom in our schooling to take time out, as needed, to expose our children to the community and community helpers. If I go to the post office, the children are right there with me. Whether it’s the bank or the grocery store, it is good for them to see how real life works. Not only do they see their parents taking care of their own responsibilities but they are able to meet people within the community and see that they are real people too! They are able, at a young age, to learn that we are all a part of something bigger than ourselves and that everyone has a their own role and duties to fulfill.
Let them explore and meet the growers. You will have the chance meet many different creative and interesting people at a farmer’s market. Most sellers have a story to share, encourage your child to listen and learn!
Prior to your expedition, grab a pond themed picture book and prepare your child for her adventure. Brainstorm and discuss what critters you hope to find. If you are visiting a pond in a public park discuss how rangers and volunteers keep the area clean and safe for all the animals that are native to that particular habitat.
Let your child feed the animals and partake in a hands-on experience with the zookeepers. Take a tour and learn from the ones who have a passion for caring for animals. Find out which animals are at this particular zoo and read simple picture books before your visit.
Call and ask for a tour. This is particularly entertaining with a group of friends. Try on fire hats, explore the fire engine and learn how your local fire station runs. Most importantly, ask a firefighter to dress up in their gear so your child can learn to not be afraid in case they were to ever run into a firefighter in an emergency situation.
Visit during storytime or simply go on your own and enjoy a book or two while you are there. Allow your child to choose a few books to check out. I would recommend waiting until they are a bit older before getting their own card, once they can handle the responsibility, but let them know it is something they can look forward to.
Keep it simple, sweet and make memories! You don’t have to break the bank. Just getting out of the house and switching your routine up once in awhile can go a long way!