The Ultimate Field Trip Bag

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School field trips are the best!  And it’s the time of year when classes are planning trips to pumpkin patches and Christmas tree farms.  Invariably, chaperones will be needed and you may find yourself following a big, yellow school bus full of screaming kids, headed to some remote location.

If you are going on a field trip with your child’s class, there are certain things you can bring with you that will make the teacher so glad you’re there!  I mean, there are basic items that you just normally keep in your purse all the time and then there are field trip essentials. Someone will say, “Oh, I wish I had brought…” And you’ll pull it out and say, “Here you go!”

The teacher will thank you.

The kids will think you’re a rock star.

The other parents will marvel at your foresight.

Or talk about you behind your back.  Whatever.

As a teacher, I know about lots of incidentals that are needed when you’re miles from school with a busload of kids. I pack this same bag when I’m in charge of the field trip and when I’m just a mom who’s along for the ride.

It’s going to sound like a ton of stuff. Total overkill. But trust me. You want these items – and I’m going to show you how to fit it all into a relatively small tote bag or backpack.


Okay, here’s the list and an explanation for the items that make you think, “What?“:



  • 1 roll of paper towels
  • 1 box of Kleenex
  • 1 bottle of sanitizer
  • 1 box of baby wipes (Can be the squishy container instead of the rigid one.)
  • 1 container of Clorox or Lysol wipes
  • 1 or 2 garbage bags


First Aid:

Depending on your school’s medical restrictions, you may or may not be able to share some of these.  I always take them because I can certainly use them for my child and for myself – especially the Ibuprofen!  I put all of these materials in an empty Crystal Light container.

  • 1 box of assorted latex-free bandaids
  • 2 pairs of latex-free gloves
  • Wound-cleansing spray
  • Antibacterial cream or spray
  • Ibuprofen
  • Aloe Vera gel (I once had a child touch the hot muffler of the tractor that had pulled the trailer for our hayride. I used aloe to soothe his little fingers from the slight burn he got.)
  • 1 roll of duct tape (Duct tape should really be in every first aid kit. From splints to slings to using it with gauze to cover a wound.  The duct tape doesn’t go in the Crystal Light container!)


Odd, But Entirely Useful Items:

  • Safety pins
  • Bobby pins
  • Ponytail elastics
  • Sharpie marker (Sharpies are invaluable!  Write kids’ initials or class numbers on the lids of water bottles. Label souvenirs. Write their names on their pumpkins.  You name it!)
  • Small pad of paper (You never know when you’ll need to write something down!)
  • Roll of quarters (This is really just for you in case there’s a vending machine!  At our zoo, there’s a “gumball” machine that takes quarters and contains food for the giant koi.  The kids love feeding them!)

(I don’t have a picture of the above items, but I usually put them in their own Crystal Light container.)

  • 2 or 3 ZipLocs with a frozen sponge in each (If there is an ice chest, ask to put these in the ice.  They are great ice packs if someone gets hurt! Just wet them, squeeze them out, put each one into a sandwich bag and freeze.)
  • Sunscreen (At most schools, sunscreen is considered a medication.  Elizabeth and I are VERY fair-skinned, so I always bring it for us, but you should not apply sunscreen to any child other than your own.)



  • 2 or three bottles of water (Yes, you need hydration, but these can also come in handy for washing cuts and scrapes.)
  • Granola or Nutrigrain bars, crackers  (These things are for you and your child.  There are far too many allergies out there to risk getting a child sick, so you should keep all food items to yourself.  Granola or Nutrigrain bars because they won’t melt. I always put them in empty Crystal Light containers so they don’t get squished in the bottom of the bag!)

Your cell phone:

Be sure you have the teacher’s number in your contacts. If you’re with a small group away from the rest of the class, you may need to call or text the teacher with questions. Also, be sure to have the school’s number in your contacts. If you are asked to call with a question or emergency, you don’t want to have to waste time searching for the number.  Of course, most cell phones double as cameras, too.  Be sure to take some pictures. Most importantly, take plenty of selfies of you and your child!  They’re only young once.  Make memories together!


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