Most Bible classes for children don’t include any sort of field trip. There are a lot of reasons why volunteers hesitate to plan a field trip for their Bible class students. Adding field trips, though, can enhance your Bible class and give students extra chances to learn and experience things God wants them to know and understand.
There are five basic types of field trips that are great for children.
- Field trips to experience part of God’s Creation. These can be trips in nature or in more urban venues like zoos, aquariums and parks.
- Field trips to museums where students can see the actual objects they read about in the Bible. Many museums have artifacts from Bible times and cultures. Often these items are mentioned in the Bible and are unfamiliar to your students.
- Field trips to develop student empathy for others. There are experiences like Dialog in the Dark developed for you. You can also create your own experience for your students. Be careful to be respectful of those with whom your students will interact. You may wish to ask others of respectful ways they have developed empathy for others. Service projects often work well, depending upon whether or not proper preparation is done before the project and reflection after it. At other times exhibits or story telling situations work better.
- Field trips giving students opportunities for gift discovery and development. Many places like Home Depot and Michaels offer low cost classes for children. You will have to help connect the dots from the gift they tried to how to use it to serve God. The classes often provide the materials as well as the instruction.
- Field trips focused on building relationships and a sense of community. These are the field trips most often offered and also the ones that are the least effective. Running around Six Flags for a day does not necessarily facilitate relationship building. They can even make things worse for some kids. If you want to use a field trip for this purpose, you must be extremely intentional and plan carefully.
Field trips take extra time and effort, but they can greatly enhance the long term impact of your class. Some field trips are so memorable, your students will still be talking about them decades later. (Just ask some of my former students about the Ramses mummy field trip!) It’s a fun way to extend learning and understanding of the biblical concepts you are teaching in class. It really is worth your time and effort.