Summer Field Trip Ideas

This summer looks different to most of us. With COVID-19 cases still spreading and even surging in certain areas, many of our favorite summer activities are inaccessible. Summer camps, libraries, day camps, sports, summer classes, recreation centers, community pools, parks…these summertime favorites are canceled or only partially accessible. It’s been a long year so far and parents have been desperate for a few months. Now, even summer fun seems off-limits. How can we help our kids have a great summer while staying safe–and sane?

Thankfully, a variety of individuals, companies, and businesses have stepped up to help with this inevitable strain. Shows and locations that are typically expensive, even difficult to attain, or completely unavailable to the public are now helping us connect digitally. These businesses are streaming live videos on Facebook, offering virtual tours on their websites, discounting their prices, or uploading free recorded performances for audiences to enjoy.

Technology has made all the difference in what’s still available for the public and I am, personally, incredibly grateful for this digital age.

However, gratitude for technology doesn’t mean we aren’t feeling stir-crazy or frantic for new activities, especially now as the beautiful summer is upon us and we feel stuck inside. Field trip ideas can be a great solution to these problems, especially virtual educational field trips from the comfort of our homes.

The Benefits of Educational Field Trips

Learning about something on paper is one thing while experiencing it for yourself is entirely different. As Benjamin Franklin said, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” Educational field trips are the epitome of hands-on learning and they bring your children directly into the process! If your kids have a certain interest or skill, you may want to research summer field trip ideas for that topic.

There are several merits of educational field trips, but sometimes the process of booking a field trip and clearing the day can make you feel less likely to actively look for field trip possibilities. One of the best aspects of home education is that these real-world moments are learning opportunities for investing in your child’s homeschooling experience. Think of each learning opportunity like pennies in a piggy bank! Here are several reasons why field trips are good options for home education.

Educational field trips:

  • Work well with unit studies
  • Are helpful for delight-directed learning
  • Can be integral for STEM experiences
  • Complement project-based learning
  • Are effective for each learning style:
    • Real-world examples for visual learners
    • Hands-on opportunities for tactile learners
    • Immersive locations for auditory learners
  • Translate an idea from paper to a real-world option
  • Help students narrow their career choices

Exciting Field Trip Ideas for Homeschoolers

In our current climate with the COVID-19 pandemic, a virtual field trip is going to be your likeliest option, and in the end, probably the safest. While virtual summer field trip ideas may not feel as immersive as in-person field trips nor quite as exciting, they can be very entertaining and educational! It’s even possible that some of these options may open up toward the end of summer with modified hours or protocols for your children to enjoy! 

On another note, if you are new to home education or if you are researching how to start homeschooling, these virtual classes and tours are a good example of what can be accomplished with homeschooling! It’s all about thinking outside the box and companies have certainly shown what we can still do at home thanks to technology and lateral thinking.

Home education and cool field trips oftentimes coincide and support each other. Field trips can be the practical element added to a lesson for further application, or educational field trips can teach lessons all on their own. Either way, whether you’re just learning about why field trips are good for students or you’re fondly remembering your own days as a student, you can find several field trip ideas here.

  • Live National Geographic Photo Camp. If your kids are asking for cool field trips, then this is a great opportunity to consider! Your students can learn from National Geographic photographers while submitting photography throughout the summer with weekly assignments.
  • Virtual Field Trip to Ellis Island. Have your kids learned about Ellis Island yet? Now they will! This would be a great supplement to an existing unit study or as an introduction to your homeschoolers.
  • National Park Virtual Tours. Thanks to virtual reality, your students can learn alongside park rangers as they explore a few different National Parks. The visuals are amazing!
  • The Van Gogh Museum. Consider a Van Gogh unit study with this virtual museum tour.
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Met is offering virtual tours, which is perfect for learning more about the arts with your student.
  • The National Memorial for Peace and Justice. We would caution this learning experience for only mature students. This memorial takes a very real look at lynching in U.S. history to give these victims representation and justice.
  • Career Exploration with National Geographic. Top on our list of cool field trips, this opportunity will give your kids the chance to learn more about real National Geographic careers by getting the inside scoop from researchers, explorers, educators, and more.
  • Virtual Ocean Dives. Explore marine life with this virtual ocean dive!
  • Mount Vernon Virtual Tour. Mount Vernon is incredibly historical and now your kids can learn about it with a virtual tour from the comfort of your home.
  • Free Metropolitan Operas. If you are looking to add an art & culture experience to your homeschool, consider streaming these free Metropolitan operas. What a great opportunity for our children!
  • The Empire State Building. If you’ve always wanted to plan a trip to NYC, you can enjoy the view from the Empire State Building from here!
  • Amazing Space has lots of fun, interactive ways to explore the universe. From online exploration to STEM project ideas, there is something educational here for all of your children.
  • Crash Course is a YouTube-based video series that helps educate on a broad range of topics from astronomy to history and more.
  • Mystery Science offers easy to use science lessons to get your child learning. This isn’t technically a free resource, but they provide one free school year membership when you sign up.
  • Science Bob helps you add some random acts of science into your day with free homeschool activities, experiments, and project ideas to get your kids thinking.
  • The Smithsonian Science Education Center provides free science resources to help your homeschoolers start to think like a scientist.
  • Google Earth Education is a great resource to help show your children varying locations around the world.
  • KidNuz Podcast is a five-minute breakdown of today’s top stories, current events, politics, science, entertainment, sports, and more. It is age-appropriate and nonpartisan.
  • YouthXDesign Virtual Summer Camp for Teens. This is a free 3-day virtual camp for high schoolers this summer, from July 8-11. The summer camp is all about designing mobile apps so it’s perfect for your techie teens!
  • Discovery Education Virtual Field Trips. Discovery Education has a fantastic range of virtual field trips for students! These free experiences also come with companion guides and suggested hands-on activities.
  • Monterey Bay Aquariums Live Webcams. Enjoy the fun of the aquarium even while you’re stuck at home with these live webcams.
  • Atlanta Zoo Panda Webcam. Pandas are adorable and hilarious and now you can watch them with the webcams at the Atlanta Zoo.
  • The Great Wall of China Travel Guide. Explore the Great Wall of China! Many dream of visiting this location, so now your students can learn more about it like never before.
  • DIY Summer Day Camp– Kids at any skill level can use the DIY’s app to enjoy virtual classes like, “Photography,” Become a Music Star,” “Build Anything With Lego,” and “Drawing Bootcamp.” 
  • Met Opera Global Summer Camp– The new Met Opera Global Summer Camp is a free, eight-week online summer camp for kids to get the chance to explore music in a new way for kids in third through twelfth grade. 
  • The San Diego Zoo– is reaching millions of families around the world right now as part of SDZG’s #WereHereTogether campaign, which offers free online learning resources for kids and provides even more ways to learn about the world around us!
  • Chess NYC-These Special Camps are run by New York City’s #1 Provider of excellence in lessons, classes, games, gamesmanship, and Chess Mentorship. From beginners to highly advanced play (and everything in between), you may enjoy the same support and fun that Chess NYC students do in Schools, Parks, and our own local “brick and mortar.”
  • The Babysitting Company offers services that include everything from virtual field trips, yoga, dance, arts and crafts, online games, and more to keep kids occupied this summer.