Homeschool, Kids in School

Best Ways to Incorporate Field Trips into Your School Year and Beyond

Best Ways to Incorporate Field Trips into Your School Year and Beyond

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Experiential learning is more impactful for learners because they can be active, engaged, emotionally involved, and reflective throughout their learning experience.

Anything Academic offers over 11,000 Field Trip suggestions nationally. Our search engine finds the best ones near you or wherever you are visiting! With access to the location’s field trips, special homeschool trips, and summer camps, there is something for everyone.

One of the benefits of homeschooling is being able to take your classroom into the real world. Children learn better when they can experience learning in real-world settings. Field trips are a great way to apply knowledge with hands-on experiences.

Experiential learning is one of the best ways to maximize learning, application, and reflection in your student. Reading about something is one thing. Experiencing it in person and being there leads to rich learning experiences that are not quickly forgotten.

In this article, I will share what experiential learning is, how to incorporate it into your homeschooling program, and how to create an enduring learning experience for your students.

What is Experiential Learning?

Simply put, experiential learning is the process of learning by doing. Students will engage in hands-on, active learning experiences that encourage real-world application. Experiential learning is designed to increase engagement, student initiative, and reflection. While on a trip, museum, or other location, active learning can be highly memorable and retained far beyond normal “class” activity. Experiential learning is not limited only to fixed field trips. While this may be more limited in brick and mortar field trip experiences, lifelong learning from travel, mentorship, and more should be highly encouraged.

How Does Experiential Learning Work?

Experiential learning begins with formal concept lessons. While this sounds complex, it isn’t! This means you can study or learn what the field trip will cover before the event. Why? Because being informed will lead to deeper enrichment and more profound questions. Students may begin by reading and learning about a topic of interest. The student starts by exploring the subject, learning to apply the content with hands-on experiences, and then analyzing and synthesizing what they learned. The adage “see one, do one, teach one” is a prime example of how this works.

Often, experiential learning involves taking a field trip where students can apply what they have learned in the classroom or homeschool environment. Field trips are meant to be intentional, engaging, active, and reflective. Not all experiences require pre-study. Often the experience itself includes the educational content as part of the overall tour or trip.

How does Experiential Learning Benefit Children?

There are many benefits to using field trips and experiential learning in your homeschooling program.

  1. Apply Knowledge: Experiential learning and field trips allow students to apply what they learn in the classroom with real-world, hands-on experiences.

  2. Real-World Applications: Experiential field trips give your students insight into how their content learning can be applied through experiences outside of an academic setting.

  3. Creativity: Experiential learning requires your student to be creative when applying knowledge and critical thinking skills with hands-on learning. Children learn that there are many solutions to problems and are encouraged to explore different ways to solve issues.

  4. Become Emotionally Invested: When students are engaged in the experience of learning, they become emotionally invested in problem-solving and actively become involved.

  5. Freedom to Make Mistakes: Experiential learning allows students to make mistakes and persevere in solving real-world problems.

  6. Reflection: Experiential learning gives students opportunities for reflection. They can reflect on what they learned, how they applied what they learned, and how they can use their knowledge for future careers.

  7. Accelerate Learning: When students are given the freedom to experience what they learned outside of the classroom, learning is accelerated.

Alternative Learning Styles encouraged– Many learners do better outside of books/didactic education. Experiencing a trip, play, museum, or other learning forms may involve various learning styles such as Auditory, Visual, and Kinesthetic (Tactile). In plain terms, seeing, hearing, and touching things makes it much more real to the learner.

Examples of Experiential Learning

Field Trips are a great way to apply real-world experiences to any lesson. Students can witness skills in practice, discuss ideas, and engage in activities while being guided by professionals in the field.

Here are just a few field trips that you can use to apply content from the classroom to enhance learning for your student.

  1. Zoos: If your student is learning about animal habitats, animal behavior, or conservation, they can apply their learning at your local zoo. Professionals at your local zoo are available to share their knowledge with your student and even provide hands-on learning experiences. Many zoos offer educational field trips, homeschool learning experiences, and even personalized tours.

  2. Art Museums: There are many ways to deepen art experiences at your local art museum. Students can learn about style, art history, sculpting, and architecture as they engage in hands-on art projects.

  3. Natural History Museums: Natural history museums are a great way to give your students engaging learning experiences through adventures in science, technology, nature, and human culture.

  4. Nature Preserves: Students engage in activities to apply knowledge of earth and natural science. Students can observe nature, learn about the importance of conservation, and learn and practice ways to positively impact the planet.

  5. Farms: Farms are an excellent way for students to learn more about how their food is made. Students can plant seeds or feed animals. Students can learn how they can start urban farming or sustainable gardening.

Things to Consider to Enhance Learning Before and After the Field Trip

  1. Selecting a Site: Determine what you want your students to experience. How have your current lessons prepared them for the field trip? Did you know that many locations offer teaching guides and lesson plans? Many also offer specific educational field trips and even homeschool plans/guides for academic enrichment. (These can be found on the resource page for the field trip in Anything Academic. )What activities will be offered at the site that will enhance your students’ learning?

  2. Prepare Students for the Learning Experience: Create or provide your student with a map, checklist, or notebook to record their observations while on the trip. Tell your students what they will be learning and what is expected of them as active participants of their experiential learning field trip. Have older children/students help plan the trip to engage their passion for their experience.

  3. Engage Students While on the Field Trip: While on the field trip, continually challenge your student to be engaged and apply their newly learned skills to their experience. Ask questions. Discuss what they are seeing and learning. Let your student be the “tour guide” and teach what they see to you or other students.

  4. Take Experience Further After the Field Trip: When the field trip is over, model how to reflect on the experience. Ask your students to record their thoughts. Have them write a journal article or a paper about it. If they learned a new skill, let them show it at home. What did they learn before the trip that helped them understand more about their experiences? What knowledge did they gain while they were there? How can they apply their new knowledge to their real lives?

How to Make Experiential Learning More Impactful for Your Student

After the experience is over, students can now reflect, assess, and determine how they will apply their learning to further experiences. How can you make the experience more impactful for your student?

  1. Discuss how learning can be applied to real-life: Ask your student how they can use their experiences in their future careers.

  2. Make room for mistakes: Students need to learn how to make small-stakes mistakes. Allow them to learn from their mistakes in a controlled, safe experiential learning activity.

  3. Make feedback useful and encouraging: Give your students helpful feedback that they can apply right away. If they see the benefit of immediate feedback, they learn the importance of reflection and input without feeling shame.


Experiential learning is more impactful for learners because they can be active, engaged, emotionally involved, and reflective throughout their learning experience. Students will learn real-life skills that they can apply long after they leave the classroom. These educational experiences will impact your student for a lifetime. 


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