Friday, September 21, 2012

Free Field Trips: Getting Creative

Where I'm from, there are months of cold weather which make me get stir crazy with kiddos inside for weeks on end.  In Texas, it's the opposite.  Weeks of heat.  When a walk to the park is impossible, here are some other 'field trip' ideas for getting out of the house and entertaining the troops:

*Local pet store: go walk around and learn about fish, hamsters, birds, and even mice & rats {seriously, who keeps those for pets?}.  Up close and personal with a great educational element!  Find one near you at or

*The library: most libraries offer a 'story time' one or two mornings a week for those with kids at home.  Sometimes these times are hard for me when it is too crowded, so I like to go right before the grade schools are getting out and that age group is busy so the library is pretty empty.  Make sure to take a stroller for the toddler age (like my 16 month old that just runs wild in that environment).  I can hand him a couple of board books while the olders read along on the computers and I can pick out some good books for the whole crew.  Then we go home and make a point to read as many books as we can get through.  It helps me to devote specific time to reading with my kids other than bedtime.

*A garden store or nursery: most have indoor greenhouses that are great to explore and learn about the plants at all stages.  And it's temperature regulated so a good place to explore during cold weather.

*Cabela's:  If you have one of these stores nearby, GO!  They are a great place to learn about animals.  Every one that I have been to (so I'm pretty sure it's standard) has a large fish tank with daily feedings you can go watch and a mountain with real {stuffed} animals that you can learn about.  My boys love going and you can buy some yummy fudge too- or take a picnic...:)  Click here to find a Cabela's near you!
*Goodwill/DI/Thrift Store: So I always enjoy a good scavenger hunt for great finds at the local thrift store (recently nabbed an unopened Hooked On Phonics dual pack for $8.:)).  But sometimes, those scavenger hunts end up turning into a game of hide and seek or search-and-destroy for my little circus.  So I buckle up the younger two in our double stroller and make the oldest stand holding onto the stroller handle and play Color Scavenger Hunt.  I ask them to find something yellow, then red, etc.  It keeps them entertained and then I let them look at the toy section after I have finished my shopping.

*Firestation:  A must-do for moms with little boys.  Call a couple of neighbors with little kids and drop by the local fire station.  They will gladly give you an impromptu tour of the station and some even have a set of plastic fire hats or badges to give your honorary fire fighters!:)  I am one that requires a little more planning as peace of mind, so I will drop by a few days before to give them a heads up that we'll be dropping by and set a time...

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