Friday, August 6, 2010

Why Field Trips?

Field Trips with students can be a lot of work, but for most kids in after-school programs, these field trips are a highlight of the program. Kids enjoy getting out of the classroom and learning more about the world around them. There are several key values of Field Trips, beginning with hands-on experiential learning. For many students, field trips give them the opportunity to see things that they would not get to see without the field trip. Although students can absolutely learn from text books, the internet, and other activities that can be done inside the school day and the after-school program, a field trip moves studying to a new level. Field trips give students an opportunity to see and experience things first hand.

Field trips also give students an opportunity to interact with classmates and others that they meet during the field trip, and will as a result, help the students develop social skills. Students learn what others expect when they are on a field trip and learn to behave accordingly. Students will learn more about the curriculum as well on a field trip. Curriculum that is grounded in simulations and reading can be fleshed out on a field trip. Seeing pictures of Niagara Falls can not measure up to actually seeing the falls and hearing the roar of the water as it falls over the cliff. Once you are there, it makes sense when someone says, “If the faces on Mt. Rushmore were proportionately real people, they would act as a dam to the river preventing Niagara Falls altogether.

More than anything else, Field Trips are fun. The Trip is truly one of those opportunities that the child will never have without us.

Not so usual celebrations…
August 6th is Wiggle Your Toes Day. Although tracking down the creator of this special celebration has been futile, the thought of wiggling your toes, outside of shoes, is pretty terrific. If you remember when you were a child, you can probably remember the game with your toes that begins—“This little piggy…” Now that you’re all grown up, giving your piggies some exercise is probably not even in your mind. Toes, like the rest of your feet, do not even enter your mind unless they are hurt or tired. Think about it—you are wearing closed toed shoes because we all know that these are the safest to wear in an after-school program. Your toes are cramped inside those sneakers all day long, sweating and ultimately stinking. So, at the end of the day, you free those toes and let them wiggle and enjoy the fresh air. And if the air is not your first choice, try wiggling them in the swimming pool as you cool off altogether? Toes like fingers are different on all people. Some are long, some short, some fat, some thin, and the list could go on and on. So take time today to celebrate your toes and set them free—being careful not to stub them on the door jamb.

Activity for kids…
Get out a large sheet of butcher paper. If kids are wearing long pants, have them roll up the bottom of the pant legs so they can step into a pie tin of paint and then walk on the paper, creating a great design of footprints. Have a selection of colors for students to choose from. At the end, have them step in a bucket of water and clean the paint from their toes. At the end, have students write a story entitled—These Feet Are Made For Walking! Have students share the story with classmates.

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