Field trips aren't just for big kids or preschool groups. Parents can plan a group outing for their toddlers that is fun and educational. Toddlers learn best by doing, and a well-planned field trip provides first-hand experience with the world that they might hear about from you or see in their picture books. When planning a field for this 1 to 3 year-old age group, consider nap and meal time, bring snacks and changes of clothing, and put safety first.
A field trip can provide toddlers with the opportunity to see some of the animals that populate their picture books and nursery songs. Toddlers are often fascinated by the sights and sounds of live animals. Consider spending an afternoon at a petting zoo where the little ones can pet farm animals, such as goats, sheep and ponies. Take a trip to the aquarium to view marine life, such as seals and colorful fish. An insectaurium can be fun for toddlers who like looking at butterflies, ladybugs, spiders and other bugs. A nearby zoo might have a good representation of a variety of species.
Older toddlers are curious about how things are made or work. A field trip might involve calling ahead to arrange for the young children to watch a pastry or pizza chef in action. Many pizza parlors have window viewing areas, so you could view while waiting for your pizza, instead of arranging for a special viewing. Plan a tour of a fire station where toddlers can view the bright red or yellow trucks and watch a firefighter slide down the pole.
The change of the seasons will be an ideal time for toddlers to learn about seasonal plants, fruits and vegetables. In autumn, consider taking them to a local pumpkin patch or apple orchard to learn about fruit and vegetable farming. They will also enjoy picking their own pumpkins or apples, going through a walk-through maze with you, and depending on minimum age requirements and safety, taking a hayride. For springtime, plan a trip to a flower garden for toddlers to view and smell the assortment of flowers. Familiarize them with each type of flower by pointing at it and stating its name.
Toddlers are already using their budding artistic skills to create all kinds of things. A field trip to an artsy venue will provide inspiration.Take a trip to a pottery studio for them to watch an artist make household items such as vases on his pottery wheel. He may even give away some leftover clay for them to play with. Ensure it is child-safe. Check with local theaters for toddler-friendly events, such as a puppet show or a play based on a favorite picture book.