We just got back from a fantastic field trip with our homeschooling group. It was at Layman farms, which is a family farm about 45 minutes from us. It was a homeschool day, meaning a bunch of different homeschool groups were out there, and we all got to try the various activities they had to offer.
First on the list was a hay-ride. We all rode on a trailer towed by a tractor (“Mama, it’s a John Deere tractor!”) around the farm to a mini-corn-maze. We made our way through the maze to a pumpkin patch, where each kid got to pick out a pumpkin. The Baby tried to pick one that was bigger than his head, but I directed him to one that was more his size (mostly because he got in for free, so I figured getting a huge pumpkin for him would be a little unfair. Plus, I was the one who had to carry these things around, and I was already carrying him!).
After that, we got back on the wagon and rode the rest of the way around the farm back to where we started. Next on the adventure list was to ride the cow-train! This was a cute little train of cars painted to look like Holsteins, driven around by another tractor. Both big kids rode in that one, and had lots of fun being driven around in circles. The Little Kid wanted to ride again, but alas, there was only one ride allowed for each group.
They did get some time on the swings, though, which were really cool because they were made out of tires, but shaped like carousel horses. The Baby swung while his big brothers were riding the cow-train, and he loved it. The Little Kid also swung a little after done with his train ride, and he looked so content on there I thought he might fall asleep!
He didn’t get to swing for too long, though, because it was time for the slide. This was a long tunnel-type slide made to look (a little bit) like the entrance to a mine shaft. The kids sat on little sacks to slide down a plastic slide. One of the kids from our group bumped his head on the top – Ouch! He got a bump on his head, and had to ice it. That was the only injury, though. The other kids had a great time, including my big 2. The Baby expressed a little bit of interest in going down the slide, but changed his mind when we got near the platform. He’ll be ready for it next year, I’m sure :)
Next it was down to the Jumping Pillow. This was a huge air-inflated bouncing platform, but not the usual enclosed castle-type structure. Rather this was a bouncy half-pipe. All the kids loved this one, and they had to make each group stop when their time was up so the next group could have a turn. I even got to try this one, because The Little Kid and The Baby both wanted to try it, but couldn’t make it up the sides while everyone was bouncing on it, so I had to help them get up there. It was really bouncy! I even had trouble keeping my feet. although the kids probably had an easier time of that with their lower centers of gravity. Thankfully for me, The Baby decided he didn’t like this very much after all and wanted to get off, so I didn’t have to stay on it very long. Twas fun, though.
The last thing we did was wander over to the pens to see the animals. There were chickens, goats and pigs. We paid a quarter to get a handful of food and fed the goats, and petted them and the pigs. Well, mostly, the little kids did this, while The Big Kid and I were trying to figure out the logistics of lunch and post-lunch plans.
Turns out this was decided for us by the storm that was threatening to move in, and by the fact that it was getting to be closing time. We sat at picnic tables and ate our packed lunch of bananas and apples. The big kids had one more turn on the Jumping Pillow, and then it started to rain, which meant they came running back to me in a hurry as though worried they might melt. Luckily, this was only a short quick shower, and it was soon over. Still, by this time it was almost 2 and time for them to close up. So, we packed ourselves up, walked back to our car and headed home.
And, the ultimate sign that this was a successful trip – all three kids fell asleep in the car on our way home, and the little two even stayed asleep once we got home and I carried them to their beds!
There were a couple of things we didn’t get to try this time. There is a real corn-maze, which someone who had been through it last year said was pretty difficult to get through. I might have been willing to try it if the whole group was going to, but there wasn’t time once we were done with lunch. So that’s one to try on our next trip. There was also a corn cannon (or maybe a pumpkin cannon, I didn’t really check), but that wasn’t included in the field trip activities. And they said that in a couple of years, they are hoping to offer a pick-your-own orchard as well.
This was a really nice field trip; all the kids loved it, and it was time and money well-spent. Also, I have to say how much I love our homeschooling group, especially the kids (but obviously, their parents are huge contributors to their being great kids). Everyone is so polite and helpful, with the bigger kids looking out for the little ones and helping them when they need it. I’m hopeful that my children learn from this example, and help take care of the little ones when they’re the big kids.