One of my biggest fears when I started homeschooling was that it was going to cost me a fortune. I have two kids and the idea of having to purchase all their curriculum, supplies, and even field trips was scary. We really don’t have the extra room in our budget to be able to purchase a lot so I have had to be resourceful and find ways to get materials at a discounted price and find ways to get field trips for free or even discounted.
I’ve put together a list of some of the Free or nearly Free field trips that are available to take your kids to. At our home we LOVE to go on field trips because it allows us to get out of the house and learn more on a subject. What I like to do is figure out a lesson that we will be learning and then somehow incorporate a field trip into that. For example, if we have been studying about Monkeys and doing projects with that I really like to take the kids to the zoo one day on a field trip so that they can spend some time with the real thing. It’s pretty easy to do this with most every subject and I know that my kids love this. As a former public school teacher, this was one of the things that bothered me was that there was never enough money or resources to take kids on any sort of “hands on” learning with subjects. We were lucky to get one field trip at the end of the year to a local zoo for the day! 🙁
But now onto the list…
- Local Zoos. Check with your local zoo but many of the zoos around the country offer special “Homeschool” days that allow homeschoolers and their families to get in free! Some examples of zoos I’ve found that offer this are the Houston Zoo, North Carolina Zoo, and Kansas City Zoo just to name a few. I’ve found that many others offer special Homeschool days where they will offer discounts on tickets and special learning events for kids too.
- Local Government Offices. I know that in my small town I can bring my children up to the village office to meet with some people like the Village President, Fire Department, and Police Officers to learn more about what they do. This is nice if you are learning about Government in your homeschool. You can also get tours of your state capital (sometimes free) during their designated days and hours.
- National/State Parks. There are a ton of National and State Parks throughout the country. One of my favorite things to do is to take my kids to parks as we travel or just around our house. Here is Michigan we have a TON of State Parks and for $11.00 a year we can get a pass to get us in to all of them in the state. Other states also offer this deal to be able to visit any of their state parks. We like to go on hikes, learn about plants or animals, and even spend the day on a beach. National Parks also offer FREE Entry on certain days of the year. I know that this year they are offering 16 FREE entry days to any of the National Parks. My family would really like to go visit the Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, and Redwood Trees in California someday but right now it is too far to travel having to go across the country to do this!
- Bowling. I know that this isn’t very educational but sometimes its nice just to get out and do something fun! If you sign up with Kids Bowl Free all children under 12 can bowl 2 games for free each day from May 1- September at participating bowling alleys. You just type in your zipcode and it will tell you what bowling centers around you offer this deal!
- Local Swimming Pools. You can get into local town swimming pools for less than $5.00 per person and can spend the whole day there! Check with local pools in your area to get a great price for a whole day of fun. We also have a lot of hotels in the area that offer swimming in their indoor pools for this same price so you can swim year round!
- Local Factories/Businesses. Something that is neat to do with your children who are interested in a certain career is to go visit and let them speak with people who do it for a living. For example if your child is interested in being an Engineer take them to a local factory or business that has engineers and let them “shadow” for a day to find out more what the job is like.