1 Consider the Timing. Keep initial trips short so children won't tire easily. Try to go places mid-week-Monday trips don't allow for a previous day of preparation and Fridays don't leave time to discuss "memories" of the visit.
2 Prepare Carefully. Discuss children's interests, ideas, and expectations about the planned trip and list them on a chart. Give an overview to relieve anxieties and review safety issues. Use artifacts, books, photos, and pamphlets to build excitement.
3 Make Safety a Priority. Have a list of families' phone numbers and a cell phone. Think of ways to identify your group-colored tee shirts or logo caps-but for security reasons, do not use children's names. Prepare a knotted rope for toddlers to hold onto to stay together.
4 Communicate With Parents. Let parents know the reasons for trips and suggest ways to extend the experience at home. Invite them to become involved as chaperones. Have permission forms on hand that parents can sign in advance for spontaneous "walking" trips as well as slips for planned trips.
5 Create a Trip Kit. Organize handy supplies in an "always available" backpack, including first-aid materials, wet wipes, and an extra change of clothes.
6 Note Neighborhood Happenings. Take toddlers on short walks to look for blooming flowers. Threes and fours enjoy visiting the library or a pizza parlor. Fives are ready for half-day outings. A trip to the supermarket can enhance a food theme.
7 Plan Return Trips. Don't be afraid to revisit places that piqued children's interest. Children will be excited to see what's new and what continues to bloom in local gardens or what's changed at a construction site.
8 Document Children's Experiences. Provide paper so children can sketch maps and write their observations. Collect leaves and soil samples on sticky masking tape "bracelets." Help children use cameras and tape recorders. Take along magnifying glasses and binoculars for close-up and distant views.
9 Share Children's Impressions. Write a class thank-you note to the trip hosts. Create a booklet with photos taken on the trip to share with families.
10 Keep the Trip Alive! Put collected items on a discovery table for further investigation. With trip-inspired props, create interactive learning centers. After a post office visit, provide stamps, envelopes, and mailing tape for dramatic play. M