10 Ways To Prepare Kids For A School Field Trip
The last couple months of school are usually full of excitement and activity. The weather is getting warmer, and the countdown to summer vacation is on! My Grade 2 son's school schedule is pretty full... from Fundraisers to Freezie Fridays! Yesterday his class went on a full day hiking/nature field trip. From what I hear, they all had a great time!
Prior to the trip, the school sent home some information, such as lunch and clothing requirements for trip day. I've decided to add to that list, and share it with you, since a lot of the extra steps that we took ended up coming in pretty handy!
1. Extra Sleep
Kids will need all the energy they can get on trip day, so start by getting them to bed a little earlier than normal the night before. A nice calming bedtime routine would also help since the kid's excitement level is probably higher than usual the night before a big day.
2. Hearty Breakfast and Vitamins
Start trip day with an extra boost of nutrients and energy. I know a lot of mornings are rushed, and the breakfast menu (and time!) is usually limited, but on this day try to add a little extra to the mix, to give your child that boost that would go a long way in terms of energy and hunger. Also, vitamins are a good idea for every morning, but even more so on this day!
3. Dress in Layers
Of course, this would depend on where you live and where the field trip is taking place, but in most cases, you can't go wrong with layering clothes. In this way, the child can remove or put on as needed. Yesterday was a chilly 13°C (55°F) in Toronto and it was an outdoor trip, so he kept his layers on all day. Extra layers can also come in handy for trips that are in air-conditioned buildings, or involve water activities etc.
4. Proper shoes
Again, this depends on where the trip will be, but regardless, appropriate and comfortable footwear is a must. The last thing the kid needs is to be on his feet all day in uncomfortable shoes! Since Ryan's trip involved hiking, I made sure that he wore his waterproof, super rubber grip, extra durable shoes.
*Side note: I recently bought these shoes from Amazon for both my son and daughter. They aren't a "big brand", but they sure have been surviving the test! My son wears out sneakers rather quickly, and these ones are holding up better than I thought!
5. Mosquito Repellant/Sunscreen
Outdoor field trips require special attention to skin protection. Apply sunscreen to exposed areas before leaving the house, and in the case of a forest hike, DEFINITELY apply a generous amount of mosquito repellent. Some of the information that came home regarding this trip was about ticks and lyme disease. It is applicable in our area, and prevention is key!
6. Litterless Lunch and "Power" Water
Sandwiches and fruit are easy winners for lunch and snacks. Avoid snacks that come in wrappers, because there isn't always somewhere to dispose of them. I gave Ryan a banana as one of his fruits, and wrote a message on it to him and his friends, telling them to enjoy their field trip. His teacher actually messaged me last night saying the "banana message" made them all smile :)
I gave him a larger than usual water bottle, and added a little bit of Gatorade in his water. A good idea when they're burning more energy than usual.
7. Bandaids/First Aid Kits
This one really surprised me. While Ryan was getting dressed yesterday morning, I took a few bandaids and put them in a pocket on his shirt. I told him that I'm sure they would have first aid kits, but hey, you never know... it's always good to have one. Would you believe, when he came home he told me that a girl in his class got a cut during the hike, and nobody had a bandaid! Right away he announced that he had one, and everyone was so relieved and grateful. I found it very hard to believe that none of the hiking supervisors were prepared... they had 20+ kids hiking in a forest, after all! But now I will definitely make sure that my 2 kids have extras in their bags at all times.
8. Toilet Paper
After hearing about the bandaid incident, I started thinking about what other things may come in handy in these situations. And it occurred to me... toilet paper! Had I thought of it before, I would have folded up a few squares and stuck them in his pocket, too :)
The kids always have a ziplock in their backpacks with extra clothes, socks and a washcloth. Luckily, they took their backpacks on the trip, so they had access to their extras in case they needed it.
10. Safety - Phone Number and Address
Lastly, I will touch on a basic safety tip that all kids should know, field trip or not. In the case of getting lost, the child should memorize mom/dad's phone number and their home address. For younger kids, a good idea would be to create a bracelet with their phone number on it, or even just write in on their hand for the day. This tip works for any outing where children could wander off or get lost in a crowd. When it comes to our kids, it's always better to be safe, than sorry.
Do you have any more field trip tips? Comment and share!