Like many leaders of ovenight class trips, my level of alertness goes up when the sun goes
down. The kids often have had their fill of amazingly well-planned, educational experiences during the day and they are ready to let loose. And, while they won’t admit it, most are usually tired, emotional, and running on fumes - not the best combo for making “wise choices.”
Planning well-supervised nighttime activities that allow the kids to blow off steam and enjoy time with their friends will help you make the most of the evening hours of your tour.
- Witness the Friday evening parade at Marine Barracks on Capitol Hill (May - August).
- Enjoy a dinner and/or entertainment cruise on the Potomac River.
- See a show at the National Air and Space Museum Einstein Planetarium.
- Laugh the night away at Shear Madness at the Kennedy Center.
- Tour the Monuments by moonlight.
- Watch a baseball game at Nationals Park or drive out to see the Orioles in Baltimore.
- See a show at one of the Smithsonian IMAX Theaters.
- Cheer on D.C. United at a soccer game at RFK Stadium.
- Watch a Washington Wizards Basketball game at the Verizon Center.
- Tremble with fear on a guided Ghost and Graveyard Tour of Alexandria.
Work closely with your student travel consultant early in the planning stages to secure reservations. Some of the options, like Shear Madness, book up well in advance.
In addition to fun, many of these activities can be tied to the curricular goals of your tour, or even extend them.
Visit PBS.org to find a resource called History Detectives: Special Investigations that will give you ways to help students use cemetery information for historical research. So many teachable moments!
Once you pick the activity, you can kick up the fun in a few ways. These may sound hokey, but kids of all ages love getting a bit of flare. You can order any of these inexpensively through Oriental Trading or a party supply store.
- Handout glow necklaces for outdoor tours.
- Allow the kids to “dress for the occasion” by bringing bow ties on elastic bands and beaded necklaces if you’re going to the theater.
- Buy pennants in advance for sporting events and bring them into the park to cheer on the team.
One, last piece of advice: Switch it up every, few years. It’s easy to stick with what you know, but if you lead a tour each year or you have a group of veteran chaperones, you’ll have more fun if you try a new adventures once in awhile.
If you want help with building curriculum connections for your class tour of Washington, D.C., here is a link to a free, printable planner that will help you define your goals and relate them to the activities of your student trip.