Field trips for special education students take a lot of planning, but they are so worth the effort.
We have a lot of options, however, finding field trip locations that work (ie. are accessible, open during school hours, accommodating, inexpensive) can throw our plans for a loop.
We asked veteran special education teachers what some of their favorite field trips have been with their students, and here are the top 10 field trip ideas suggested by special education teachers for special education teachers.
Top 10 Field Trips for Special Ed
1. Trampoline Park
Head to the trampoline park to work on physical skills. It gives students a chance to build and practice those gross motor skills in a controlled environment. Some trampoline parks will also coordinate games for students during the field trip, so be sure to inquire about that option. Bring your camera as there are sure to be plenty of laughs and smiles!
2. Go to See a Movie
If your students have sensory issues, call the theater ahead of time and arrange to have the theater turn down the volume of the movie. Explain the need for more lighting as well so that they don’t dim the lights completely.
Arrange a Zumba class at the local community center or gym and take your students for a fun hour of dancing. They will have the opportunity to work on their gross motor skills while trying something new and different. Be prepared with water bottles as students will need to hydrate!
Head to the bowling alley for a fun day of bowling. Students can practice their math skills, tying shoes, social skills when ordering their shoes, and even sequencing by keeping track of whose turn it is to bowl. For some, this may be the first time bowling, so be sure to prepare them ahead of time for the noise of the lanes and the slickness of the bowling floor.
5. Grocery Store
The grocery store makes for a wonderful field trip as it allows students to plan a meal out ahead of time and then shop for the ingredients they need. We do this field trip around Thanksgiving to plan for our classroom meal.
They get to work on budgeting, portion requirements and working together. For students who need visual cues, get their ingredients list ahead of time and snap pictures at the store of the items they should look for. When they get back to school with their items, cook the recipes they wanted to prepare, and then host a classroom feast!
This field trip also serves as the perfect Curriculum Based Instruction trip. If you have a snack cart or coffee cart business, you can have students use the money earned to stock their cart with supplies.
6. Out to Eat
Learning how to behave in a restaurant is a social skill that kids need to learn. Arrange with a restaurant to bring your students in for a tour and a meal. It exposes them to different vocations while giving them a chance to practice sitting in a restaurant to eat.
Not only will you be able to practice behavior expectations within the community, but add ordering a meal, using manners, paying for a service, and appropriate eating habits to the list of skills your students will get first hand experience practicing.
7. Go Fishing
Partner with a local fishing club to take your students out for a day of fishing and a picnic lunch. Many students have never been fishing, so this first-time experience will be a big hit.
Be sure to have volunteers to assist!
8. Pick-Your-Own Farms/Orchards
Teaching students where their food comes from takes on a whole new meaning when they go to a pick-your-own farm or orchard.
They can choose the items that they want to pick, and then when they return to school, can use them to create a dish or eat the fruits and veggies they picked.
9. Have a Dollar Store Adventure
Head to the dollar store to shop for gifts for friends and family members or an “adopted family” for the holidays. It teaches students about budgeting, as well as improving social skills as they select and pay for their items.
Students are never too old for the zoo! Plan a field trip to visit the animals you have been studying in science class. This field trip works on gross motor skills, social skills, budgeting, and more!
What are some of your favorite field trips for special education students? Share them with us in the comments below!