Monday, October 14, 2013

7 Fabulous Field Trips in Massachusetts!

Field Trips!  They are one of our favorite parts of homeschooling. Nothing else compares to the fun and learning that we experience when out exploring new destinations and old favorites alike.

On Our Favorite Apple Picking Hill
Experiential learning, exercise, social time, family time, academic connections... Field trips offer us all of these and so much more. So, today, as a part of a link-up I was invited to participate in at Hip Homeschool Moms, I thought I would spotlight seven field trip locations that we thoroughly enjoy in Massachusetts – ones we have returned to again and again or ones we plan to do so now that we have experienced them once.

Enjoy Free Fun and Learning

Luke and Nina become official Junior Rangers outside the Cape Cod Canal Visitor Center.
The Cape Cod Canal Visitor Center is open early May through late October and features exhibits that appeal to all ages. Some of my children’s favorite activities there are climbing in the 40-foot patrol boat that is permanently on display and “fishing” for magnetized fish. They also absolutely loved the free Canal Kids program that the Cape Cod Canal rangers run weekly each summer and, of course, hanging out at the beach that’s just a short walk from the center.

Academic tie-ins at the center are many – science and nature study, history, engineering, literacy, etc.

Luke and Nina doctor a seal in the dramatic play area at the National Marine Life Center.
The National Marine Life Center is open daily, Memorial Day through Labor Day and, then, on weekends through Columbus Day. Though relatively small, it is worth a trip, especially for younger children. Hands-on displays and dramatic play areas at the visitor center always engage our children in fun and learning about sea life and the environment. Behind-the-scenes tours to see where seals are brought back to good health capture my children's attention, too – especially before seal releases, which are open to the public, usually at the nearby Scusset Beach. Truly, the National Marine Life Center is a little known gem, which as enriched intentional days processed through play for our kiddoes!

Academic Tie-Ins include marine biology and environmental studies.

Nina and Jack get caught in a bubble at the Discovery Museums.
The Discovery Museums in Acton, north of Boston and just south of New Hampshire, offers Free Friday Nights, usually once a month, and reasonable admissions at other times. With a multi-story Children’s Discovery Museum targeted at young children and a newer Science Discovery Museum aimed at children who a bit older, plus outdoor exhibits, the place is a huge hit with our children! We’ve been several times, and, I have often said that if I lived closer to the museums I would buy a membership and center our entire elementary science curriculum around the fabulous hands-on exhibits there.  (More pictures of our trips there can be found at this Signature Moms post.)

Academic tie-ins include literacy, science, engineering, art, woodworking, practical life and more.

Look for Library Passes or Reciprocal Museum Membership Discounts or Just Pay Full Price for Full Days of Fun and Learning

Nina sketches at the MFA on her first official day of kindergarten last year.
The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston offers a Family Art Cart, Art Connections Cards, Family Activity Totes and more to make visiting the museum an engaging experience for families with children. They also offer a popular Homeschool Artful Adventures program on Fridays throughout the school year, which anyone can register for once, or week in and week out.  Either way you go, expect a full day of art, walking, drawing and inspiration.

Academic tie-ins, of course, include art, history and design.

The kids check out a dinosaur foot print at the Museum of Science.
The Museum of Science in Boston was so well-loved by our children that we bought a family membership there. With an amazing Imax theater, planetarium, live science shows, room after room of hands-on exhibits, drop-in activities and more, there is always too little day to experience everything the kids are interested in.

Academic tie-ins, of course, include science, technology, history and engineering.

Budget for a So-Worth-It a Seasonal Trip

Jack mastered climbing, picking and eating at the same time this year at Honeypot Hill.
Honeypot Hill in Stow is hands down one of the best places I have ever picked apples. Every year, our family goes there to enjoy climbing ladders to pick delicious local apples, enjoying fresh-pressed apple cider and cider donuts and feeding the farm animals. Some years, we’ve also enjoyed the hayride and hedge mazes at the farm.  (For the record, there are dwarf trees for those who don't like to climb ladders.  Our family, however, finds the wooden ladders one of our favorite parts!)

Academic tie-ins for this field trip, of course, include anything apple and agriculture.

Nina, my unofficial sensory seeker, loved making angles in the corn bun at Sauchek Farm
Saucheck Farm in Plympton hosts hundreds of local homeschoolers for an annual outing to their corn maze each year. We went for the first time this year and will go again without question. What a day we had – complete with bouncing on the jumping pillow, pumping water for duck races, riding cow trains and pedal cars, taking a hat ride out to pick pumpkins at the pumpkin patch, burying ourselves in a huge corn sensory bin, navigating the giant corn maze and reading our way through the kiddie corn maze... And, that was not even all that the place had to offer!

Academic tie-ins for this field trip include corn, literacy, sensory input.

Of course, there are plenty of other places that we have enjoyed fabulous field trips to in and around Massachusetts. In fact, as I flip through photos of the past year, I marvel at just how many events and destinations we’ve been blessed to enjoy – many for free, or at minimal cost. I also shake my head at myself, realizing that while I have been proactive about finding great locations to explore with the kids, I have not been equally good at sharing about our excursions here at Training Happy Hearts. So, I have a questions:

Would you like to hear more about things to do and places to go for fun and learning in and around Massachusetts? 

If so, please leave a comment on this post or at the THH Facebook page. Let me know what types of places you’d most like to hear about or which of the places spotlighted above you’d like more details about. If you have specific questions about the area or would like a particular detail about a location we may have been to, just ask.  I'm  happy to share our experiences to help enrich yours!

I'm also honored to be a part of the Hip Homeschool Moms link up, where you can find round ups, reviews and more about field trips everywhere.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Great post! Looks like you've got a lot of wonderful places to go in the area!


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