Field Trip Friends | Keiki Activities on Oahu

Last summer I discovered Field Trip Friends. At the time Mila was brand new and Micah was an antsy 2-year-old. My kids have always been the happiest and easiest to manage when we get outside. Seriously, if I get them out in the morning, they are mellow for the rest of the day. It’s like magic.

But between unpredictable naps, potty training, packing the diaper bag and deciding on the best time and location … it just wasn’t happening. Things were getting ugly.

Then a friend told me about Field Trip Friends. It is actually really cool – an educational eco-venture for the wee ones and their parents. There are four 4 or 8-week sessions a year, each with a different theme and educational focus. You might visit a farm, pound some poi, voyage on sailing a canoe and you will definitely discover Oahu destinations you never knew existed. It gave us the push we needed to get back outside. My son loved it, I really enjoyed it (huge bonus) we all got outside, and I swear, we all slept a little bit better. Ahhhh.

Because I heart Field Trip Friends in a big way, I wanted to interview Cindy – creator, owner, educator and mom-extraordinaire to get the inside scoop on Field Trip Friends. I caught up with her following a field trip to learn more (check out the photos below).

You can tell Cindy was an educator for 16 years. She has a lot of heart, endless enthusiasm, and speaks passionately about teaching and the environment. She taught at exclusive schools like Punahou and Mid-Pacific and was drawn to any opportunity to bring the classroom outdoors.

During one of her class trips she was leading a group of kids on a hike when they stopped at a scenic point to have lunch. Three boys refused to sit on the ground. They didn’t want to get dirty. It was an epiphany of sorts. She realized that kids and families just don’t get outside enough to explore and play in the dirt.

The feeling was reinforced a year later when Cindy was fortunate to be chosen as a teacher-at-sea aboard the Hokulea, the Polynesian voyaging canoe. They sailed past the main island chain all the way to Nihoa Island, a place of pristine beauty where nature still dominates. The stark contrast to the main islands was evident upon their return. The closer they got to Oahu, the more garbage they would see in the water. Cindy was horrified and it sealed her decision to dedicate her life to reconnecting families to nature. “You can’t appreciate something if you don’t know it” she says.

After her son was born, Cindy stopped working and joined a baby hui. The group originally took turns planning a fun event for the kids each week. Cindy found herself planning educational, outdoor activities when it was her turn. A nature lover from the start, she had grown up exploring Oahu and had over a decade of experience teaching kids about Hawaii’s unique environment and culture. When moms from outside the group began to approach her for suggestions, she realized that she had a unique skill set to offer and the idea of Field Trip Friends was born.

She soon found out that this was something families wanted. Just a year after launching her business, she had 100 families signed up and they kept coming back for more. One family has been with her since the beginning. This will be their fifth year in Field Trip Friends and their not unusual. She has a fiercely loyal following with 75% of her families returning to sign up for a second, third or fourth session. Cindy’s favorite part is watching the kids and families grow. She loves watching them explore, get dirty and learn as a family.

 

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Head over to Field Trip Friends and check them out!!

I’d love to hear about your adventures! What are your favorite family activities?

40 comments
  • Cindy Macfarlane-Flores - Thanks for that WONDERFUL write-up about Field Trip Friends, Heather!
    Besides the secret places we visit with Field Trip Friends (of course), my family loves to play together @ Kailua Beach!ReplyCancel

  • Cindy Macfarlane-Flores - Oh, I just thought of one more…we love to spend quality family fun time together at the Putt-Putt Golf at Bay View Mini-Putt in Kaneohe! And there’s even a zip line there!ReplyCancel

    • Heather - We live right by it, but haven’t checked it out yet. The zip line sounds like fun!ReplyCancel

  • Kristina - my favorite activity with the kids is making our own pizza’s at Boston’s Pizza in Kapolei! The kids make a huge mess, the staff is really fun and then we get to enjoy a great mini pizza. Best part, we leave and the mess stays there!ReplyCancel

    • Heather - I didn’t know you can make your own pizza! Is it just the Boston’s in Kapolei that does that?ReplyCancel

  • amy baker - we love field trip friends :)ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer Leoiki-Drino - We love Field Trip Friends. We started with my son when he was 3 (now 6) and my daughter has been loving it since last year. All of the trips have been great. Going to the Taro patch was a favorite and my daughter thought being in the mud was the icing on the cake. Another thing we love to do as a family is go to the tide pools by Sandy Beach.ReplyCancel

    • Heather - We loved the taro patch trip too! and the tide pools! One of these days, i’m going to explore them when it’s dark.ReplyCancel

  • Renata Matcheva - Both my 1 and a half year old boy and my 2 and half year old girl love going to the Toddler Time at Kahala Mall every Wednesday. They always offer something fun and educational for the kids. Last time there was a clown who read stories about different animals and at the same time created the animals out of balloons. In the end all the kids got a ballon in the shape of their favorite animal. My kids were happy and so was I.ReplyCancel

  • Alina Middleton - We love going to Lanikai beach, MyGym and of course Field Trip Friends!!ReplyCancel

  • Christen Mitchell - We love field trip friends, my son still talks about the helicopter visit! And we love HI Little Bird photography, my mom wants heather to do our christmas card photo this year. :). our favorite outside break is feeding the koi and then running around at moanalua gardens. Cheers!ReplyCancel

    • Heather - Thanks Christen! I haven’t been to Moanalua gardens in years. I forgot all about it!ReplyCancel

  • Kristina - I liked Little Bird Photography on Facebook and I already like Field Trip Friends!ReplyCancel

  • Lisa Maddock - Field Trip Friends has been one of the funnest things I’ve done with my 3-year old. We loved the farm we visited on the North Shore. My Gym and Aikahi Park are also some faves along with Kaimana Beach due to calm waters, close bathrooms and snack shop.ReplyCancel

  • Crystal Burdick - This is my first session with FTF and we love it! My son Curren has fun exploring places that we have never been to before like the taro patch, and flower gardens. Our favorite activity that we do together is going to the beach, any beach, and looking at tide pools, surfing, and looking for cool shells and creatures.ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer - This will be our 4th session with Field Trip Friends. I wish we knew about it since returning to Hawaii in 2010. I loved every activity that it is really hard to name just one. I have to thank my time in the military to help me realize that I have not explored my own backyard. Because of Cindy, my daughter and I are doing just that. We’re exploring places I did not know about growing up in the islands. I just love being able to do these fun activities with my daughter and allowing her to “get dirty.” Afterwards, I try to do some random exploring (like hiking around the Pali lookout or visiting the Temple in the Valley of the Temple) since we’re usually on a side of the island we normally don’t hang around. We loved the gardens we visited, learning aquaponics, seeing the smile on my kid’s face riding a horse or feeding chickens, or recently, making a terrarium. I’ve grown the plants we were given or the seeds I’ve picked up. The best experience is the friends that we’ve made.ReplyCancel

  • Misty Winter - My kids love going on our weekend family adventures all over the Island. We’ve lived here a year and a half and have done almost our entire bucket list. Field Trip Friends has introduced me to stuff we didn’t know about!!! This has been a really great experience for both Kelsey and I!!! Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Michelle - My 2.5 yr old and I have a weekly play date at the Honolulu Zoo! We’ve been going since she turned 1 and she looks forward to it every week. She really has a great appreciation for animals and loves the Keiki Zoo where she can pet the goats!ReplyCancel

    • Heather - We love the zoo too! My kids never get bored with the animals and we always see something new and interesting each trip!ReplyCancel

  • Michelle - Totally forgot to comment on my fave ftf activity! I should say my daughter’s fave! Honestly she has loved anything to do with water or animals, but I think something that I might have never tried without ftf, is pony rides! We look forward to it every season it’s available and Cindy is always introducing us to new places!ReplyCancel

  • Kristina - I just posted a link to the Summer enrollment for Field Trip Friends on my facebook page!ReplyCancel

  • Dari - We’ve been with Field Trip Friends since my son was 18 months old. (He’ll be 4 this month.) We love all the field trips but his favorites are sledding and bubbles. My favorites are the corn patch and taro patch.ReplyCancel

  • Alison Swigart - My family loves to go to lanikai beach. We have two dogs that live for ball throwing and swimming so it’s perfect for all of us. My 2.5 year old plays with sand and waves, the dogs get their exercise, and we all enjoy the sun together. We love field trip friends because we discover parts of Hawaii that we never had the opportunity to explore….and I grew up here!!ReplyCancel

  • Natalie F - We love Field Trip Friends! This is our first session after grabbing a Living Social deal last year. My son’s favorite trip so far was to the dairy farm.ReplyCancel

  • Lara Robinson - Our favorite activities are: Children’s Discovery Museum cooking events, My Gym, Wee Play, Hiking to Makapuu lighthouse and going to Kahala Mall Barnes and Noble story time. We love all the field trip friends activities also!!!ReplyCancel

  • Lara Robinson - I like field trip friends on Facebook.ReplyCancel

  • Lara Robinson - I liked Little Bird Photography on Facebook. :)ReplyCancel

  • Lara Robinson - Posted link to Little Bird photography on Facebook.ReplyCancel

  • Lara Robinson - Posted link to Field Trip Friends on Facebook.ReplyCancel

  • Cynthia Pien - Joined Field Trip Friends when I move back to Honolulu 5 yrs again, with my first child. Now, I am back for another round of FTF with my second child. We love FTF! Cindy makes every trip so much fun!ReplyCancel

  • Whitney Sweet - We are really enjoying this spring session of FTF! Thank you, Heather for this outstanding chance to win a photo session with you…what an amazing opportunity! Let’s see…Some of our favorite outdoor activities include–camping on the North Shore, biking on our beach cruisers with little ones in tow, body surfing and boogie boarding (in the hopes of surfing when older), gardening together, hiking, tidepooling with magnifying glasses–such wonders in HI… Thank you again!ReplyCancel

    • Heather - ooh, Whitney, where do you camp on the north shore? We’ve been to Camp Mokuleia, but would love another option!ReplyCancel

  • Rachel - We love Field Trip Friends. My son is also asking when I’d field trip day. We love that it is geared toward outside, getting dirty, and enjoying nature. He also loves the Honolulu Zoo and all the beachs. He is truly and outdoors boy.ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - We have enjoyed all of our field trip friends equally, my daughter has loved having the opportunity to touch and see all of the plants that we have seen on the past 4 trips. Our family enjoys going out to the beach to play in the sand, usually it’s white plains or koolina since its close by.ReplyCancel

  • Kellie Daniel - We feel so blessed to have discovered “Field Trip Friends”. Our secret trips are my daughters favorite part of the weekend. On top of learning, laughing, tasting, and exploring with Field trip friends, we as a family enjoy Oahu’s beautiful beaches and for a little excitement…. Dave N Buster’s :)ReplyCancel

  • Sunny - Wow!! This is one of my favorites!!! I would love to join!!! Can you please tell me where I can get more info!!ReplyCancel

  • Sunny - Thanks!!! I’m definitely checking it out :)ReplyCancel

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