Her eyes are gleaming as she steps up and grabs the fire hose. The fire fighter shows her how to turn it on and a gush of water swooshes out in front of her. She beams.
A field trip to the Fire Station never stops being cool.
The uniforms. The hoses and levers. The bright shiny red trucks.
We have been lucky enough to go on several Fire Station trips in the different state we have lived and every time it is an awesome experience for my kids.
You can absolutely just walk up to a station with a kid or two. If the fire fighters aren't busy they are usually happy to show you their trucks. However, if you plan ahead and call the fire station to set up a time the experience is definitely more in depth and fun. Fire Fighters are more than happy to have kids come for an educational field trip.
Read a book or two about fire fighters and fire trucks before you go. Looking at pictures of fire fighters in their gear might be helpful. Some of the children in our group were frightened by all of the gear, especially the face mask. Preparing your child beforehand by introducing them to what a firefighter wears and why might be helpful.
Bring a camera and take pictures. We spent a lot of time referring to the pictures of our trip in the weeks to follow.
If you have a child more recent to toileting, make sure to go to the bathroom beforehand. The bathroom at the firehouse is not usually set up for outside use, plus your kid is not likely going to be thrilled with a toilet break during the field trip excitment.
Talk to your child beforehand about some of the things you might see. The fire trucks, the fire fighters. Older kids could also brainstorm questions that they want to ask the firefighters on your trip.
I think this is a good idea anytime you go anywhere. Having clear behavior expectations and communicating them to your child improves the odds that you'll get good behavior. My expectations at the fire station where that they would follow the fire fighters' directions, use walking feet, and stay near me.
Like I said above, we've done this several times. We've gone with moms groups in each of the cities we have lived, taken advantage of fire trucks at festivals, and visited fire stations without a group. Kids need to be exposed to things more than once. Even though I typically only share each activity or place once, don't be fooled - we do most things many, many times.
The Bambini Travel Field Guide is filled with 12 mini-adventures of this nature.
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