As parents we spend a lot of time curating our kids’ time, making sure they’re well-rounded kids exposed to the right things.
The thing is, whether you’re 8 or 88, the best stuff happens when you’re bored, or at least not trying so hard.
The good news is you can make both things happen. Living a Field Trip Life means choosing the canvas, but letting your children be the artists. Choose a location, stand back, and let your kids lead the way.
And the more you do it, the better you’ll get at living life as a field trip. Here are a few ways to get in the field trip mindset.
- Field trips don’t have to come with a ticket or an admission price. Field trips can, and do, happen while waiting for prescriptions in the pharmacy, talking to someone on the bus, cooking new foods, or riding down an old dirt road. Field trips to museums, parks, and exotic locales are fantastic, but don’t limit yourself. Embrace the unexpected.
- Train yourself to find the adventure in every experience. So what if your tire went flat, you missed an important meeting, it rained on your picnic? What did happen that was interesting? What happened that wouldn’t have happened if things had gone the way you planned?
- Look for the story. A co-worker once told me she lived life so she’d have great stories to tell in the nursing home. What better way to find nursing home stories than to go on dozens of field trips?
- Don’t pay attention to the weatherman. If you’re going to worry about rain or snow, wind or sleet, you need to go back to Life as a Field trip basic training. See #2.
- Talk to people. Some of the best field trips are conversations with people you wouldn’t normally talk to. Jump in and introduce yourself. Or if you have a talkative child like mine, they’ll probably initiate conversations.
- Let your children lead the way. Or if you find you’re on a field trip by yourself, let your inner child lead the way.
- Think basics: rocks, water, sticks, dirt, cardboard. What do all kids (and a lot of adults, to be honest) enjoy? Skipping stones, floating sticks down streams, digging in the sand or dirt, playing in water. Food, music, and art are good too.
- Be ready. Field trips are everywhere! You might find you’ll be out longer than you planned for. I always carry a camera, a small notebook, pens, chap-stick, nail clippers, hand sanitizer, a fully charged phone, something to read, snacks, a bottle of water, an extra bag or two for fun things we might pick up, and a handful of change.
There’s really no wrong way to “field trip.” Living the field trip life is all in your attitude.