learning through play
guided field trips
Playful learning is at the core of the Museum and extends to our field trips and group visits.
offered for preK through 5th grade
60 minutes for preK – 2nd grade + 90 minutes for grades 3-5
differentiated by grade level and tailored to student needs
aligned with relevant standards and District of Columbia Public School Cornerstones
include a facilitated tour and hands-on learning lab led by a Museum educator
preK – grade 2
head in the clouds
topics: clouds, weather, observations, measurement and data
learning lab: Students create an artistic representation of a cloud using scientific observations to promote further observation and identification of the natural world. Lesson extensions include NASA GLOBE Clouds citizen science project.
We imagine how clouds form, move, and impact our environment. Students learn about different types of clouds and their characteristics, altitude, and weather implications.
make it fly
topics: aerodynamics, observations, engineering, measurement and data
learning lab: Students rapidly prototype, experiment, and record results revealing the complexities of aerodynamics. By focusing on the weight and shape of a design, children work to make an object fly in a wind tube.
Explore exhibits that investigate how objects can travel in the air using the four forces of flight.
numbers numbers everywhere
topics: counting and cardinality, patterns, math, measurement and data
learning lab: Students discover how numbers can be a language by creating a bracelet, key chain, or zipper-pull with ASCII code.
Numbers are all around us! Students practice unpacking numerical, categorical, and ordinal data embedded and highlighted within the physical surrounding environment.
building better communities
topics: social and emotional learning, community, and visual arts
learning lab: Students sculpt a small-scale city with clay and recycled materials that reflect different ideals and roles.
What does a community need to thrive? How can we improve ourselves and our actions? What can we do to make our community stronger and better? Students explore exhibits that champion different parts of the community.
grades 3 – 5
topics: engineering, design process, physics, measurement and data
learning lab: Students design a vehicle that moves on a race track, and then record the results of each race.
Discover the dynamic relationship between weight, friction, and speed. Students investigate how objects within the Museum are designed with gravity, propulsion, and drag in mind.
topics: critical thinking, observations, measurement and data, statistics and probability
learning lab: Students analyze a data set and construct compelling infographics relating to climate and the environment.
How does data connect to our everyday lives? Students investigate the types of data and collection methods hidden in plain sight within the Museum and identify design and analytical decisions the Museum made to communicate information in a visual form (e.g. infographics). What inferences are made and how are statistical biases identified?
mindfulness + me
topics: social and emotional learning, visual arts and performing arts, design process
learning lab: Students design a marionette puppet that demonstrates the connection between the mind, feelings, and actions. Afterward, they practice being their best selves with self-regulation strategies and perform stories about choice and change.
Designed to help students build strong self-awareness and management skills, this activity maximizes capacity for personal and academic growth.
self-guided field trips
Explore our interactive exhibits at your own pace! Group rates available. Please note that a Museum educator will not be present during self-guided tours.
Groups of 10 children or more are eligible for our group rate. Due to limited capacity, all groups must reserve their experience at least four weeks in advance.
The Museum offers two types of field trips. Both include free admission for 1 chaperone, teacher, or field trip leader for every 5 students. Chaperones that exceed the 1:5 ratio will be charged $10 for each additional chaperone.
guided field trips
$10 per student, up to 30 students (maximum) per time slot (10:00am, 11:00am, 12:00pm)
self-guided field trips
$9 per student, up to 120 students (maximum)
field trip faqs
What do guided field trips include?
Guided field trips include a content-specific tour of the Museum and a facilitated hands-on activity related to the program topic. A dedicated Museum Educator will lead the tour and the hands-on activity, but field trips still require active involvement of chaperones to ensure a successful experience. Due to Museum capacity and staff availability, guided field trips are offered on specific days and times.
What do self-guided visits include?
Self-guided visits are an opportunity to explore National Children’s Museum at your own pace and ideal for larger groups that want to visit together. Your group will receive a specific entry time and a dedicated group entry area. You can book a self-guided visit during the Museum’s regular opening hours.
Can students take materials from learning lab activities home?
The following guided field trips include learning labs with make-and-take projects: Head in the Clouds, Numbers Numbers Everywhere, Data Detectives, and Mindfulness and Me. Learning labs for all other field trips must stay in the Museum.
How many chaperones do we need?
We recommend one chaperone for every five students (teachers included) and require one chaperone for every 10 students. Chaperones within these ratios are free. Any chaperones beyond the 1:5 ratio will incur an additional cost of $10/adult.
How many students can you accommodate for a guided field trip
Guided field trips can accommodate up to 30 students or one classroom per time slot. If you have more than 30 students, please indicate this on the request form. If you plan to bring more than one classroom, please sign up for multiple time slots on the same day or email email@example.com for guidance.
How many students can you accommodate for a self-guided visit?
Self-guided visits can accommodate up to 120 people. If you have a larger group, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.