My main advice is to go right now to this site to apply for a Target Field Trip Grant. Just think, some of the money you've been spending at the Dollar Spot can go towards taking your kiddos on a field trip! The application process is fairly simple, but you only have 40 days left to apply!
Last year my school had ZERO dollars for field trips - especially for kindergarten! Luckily I received a Target grant for $600 and took my kiddos to the Science Museum Oklahoma. They LOVED it! We watched a Science Live! show and two of my students got to be volunteers! We spent the whole day, even watching a show at the Omniplex. The best part was watching them with all of the hands on experiments and materials. I took lots of pictures and then made a bulletin board with them when we got back. Each child wrote about their favorite part of the trip and drew a picture - it was some of the best writing of the year :)
My other resource for field trips is Donorchoose. The only catch to this one is that you have to pay for some expenses up front and then get reimbursed. We went to the OKC Zoo and had a fabulous time. My school paid for the bus driver and gas in advance and got reimbursed. I paid for our lunches and then submitted receipts for reimbursement.
My best idea for long bus rides is to bring dry erase boards and markers. We practiced writing numbers, letters and sight words and then drew math story problems. When they got tired of that they just drew pictures of what they thought they would see when we got there.
I try to make sure there is 1 adult for every 4-5 children. I do NOT split my group - we all go from exhibit to exhibit together. Another good idea is to try to get at least one Daddy to go along - it makes taking the boys to the bathroom much easier when an adult can go in with them. I also have rule that if you go on one field trip you go to the bottom of the volunteer list for the next one so that all parents can have a chance to chaperon. Also, remember to mention if there will be a lot of walking so that if a parent has a mobility issue they know that this trip may not be the right one for them.
Here are a few pictures from my zoo field trip:
Look how wide an eagle's wingspan is!
The kids love the petting zoo!
Our whole group in front of the lion exhibit
my favorite part is feeding the lorikeets
Cooling off in the spray
I will probably do the Zoo again this year, but I'm thinking of a pumpkin patch field trip in the Fall too! Since OKC is over an hour a way from us, I usually do my field trips on Saturdays so that we can stay the whole day without having to worry about getting the bus back for end of day (our district is short drivers and buses, so there are no field trips allowed during bus route hours). So don't rule out a great place just because it's a little bit of a drive, ask about your district's policy on weekend field trips. I usually leave at 9am and bring the kiddos back at 6pm. Then I still have Sunday to recover lol.
I can't wait for everyone to link up and share their great ideas for field trip destinations!
By the way, there's still tiem to enter my giveaway, just click here!