Field Trip Bag - Prepare for the Unexpected

The difference between a GOOD field trip and a GREAT field trip can be as simple as being prepared. We usually plan for the expected, but we should prepare for the unexpected. Just like we pack a diaper bag for every possible scenario for our babies, it’s a good idea to pack a bag for field trips that we can grab at a moment’s notice for every outing we go on. We never know when a quick trip to the park will turn into a great learning experience and an investigation.

This is a picture of what we have packed in our field trip bag.

I asked my children to help me think of other items we could add to our field trip bag, and the youngest, being three, emphatically shared that we need to pack water, pajamas, a trampoline, a slide, floaties and oh, some snacks! While I like her suggestions, not all of them are very practical. We will, however, add water and snacks to our list of items for the field trip bag necessities.

Below are suggested items to pack so that you can be prepared for all the unexpected fun.

Field Trip Bag Pack List 

  • Medium-sized bag (zipper closure recommended)
  • Wipes
  • Tissues
  •  Hand sanitizer
  • Bug and tick spray
  • Magnifying glass
  • Waterproof bag and another bag/pouch
  • First aid supplies – rubbing alcohol/peroxide/wound wash/bandages
  • Glass cleaner and cloth
  • Herbal anti-itch spray
  • Nail clippers
  • Pocket knife
  • Sunblock
  • Lotion
  • Flashlight
  • Container
  • Poncho
  • Compass
  • Notebook
  • Pencil/pen
  • Water
  • Snacks

Have a bag packed and ready to grab or have a place it can be tucked away in your vehicle to be prepared for those unexpected field trip opportunities. Think of other items your family may find useful while you are out and about. Whether you go on a planned field trip or just happen to see a good park to explore, having a bag stocked with a few safety and protection items, along with some tools and toys, will make the experience all the more enjoyable.

Some random items that may appeal to some or all of your family could be:

  • Coloured pencils and sketch book (for the artist)
  • Insect and reptile observation container (for those with a curiosity for nature)
  • Frisbee or ball (for the spontaneous sport stops)
  • Field guides on trees, birds, insects, flowers, etc. (for nature investigation and identification)
  • Small containers for specimen samples (for responsible collection of scientific specimens)

Use this Field Trip Record with your children to have them write down facts and opinions about their experience. 

For Additional Field Trip Advice . . .

Don’t forget about the simple and free exploration you can have with your kids in your own hometown or the cities and towns nearby. The field trip experience is about exploring, but it doesn’t have to be a new area. You may be surprised what new discoveries you can make when you start looking at your regular play spots in a new way. What’s in that forest of trees near the park? What historical plaques are around the town that you can learn from? Can you identify the weeds and other plants growing wild along the roads or the cultivated plant life in maintained gardens and planters?

Read more about real life exploration and adventure in the magazine article Traveling Around - Your City, Your State, Your Country, & the World. (This is just as relatable to your province!)

Learn a few more field trip tips from the Homeschool Field Trips section of a past issue for hacks and useable ideas to save money on your outings.

This article has been written by homeschooling staff writers of The Canadian Schoolhouse (TCS). Enjoy more of our content from TCS contributors and staff writers by visiting our Front Door page that has content on our monthly theme and links to all our content sections.

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"Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6).