Field Trip!!!!

This is my life unfolding…

The oldest 3 kids and I took a tour of one of the Toyota factories. One of the leaders in my son’s Boy Scout troop set up the tour. She is seriously amazing and I totally admire her passion to make sure the boys experience everything. In fact, all the leaders of the troop are pretty fantastic. I really could gush about them all day, but I am here to write about our trip. When the prospect of a tour was offered I jumped on it because it would be a duel experience for us; a scout outing AND a field trip! Score!

A friend and I switched kids; she took my younger 2 and I took her 2 older boys to the factory tour. It was a lot of fun and everyone was well behaved.


Elf and 2 of the extra kids I had.

We were the first to arrive to the factory and had the chance to look around the Visitor Center. It was a lot of fun. There was plenty of hands-on stuff to occupy the kids. Once the rest of the troop was there we headed into a room to watch a brief video and then we headed to the tram.


What was the first thing the kids noticed? They had a blast pretending to race each other.
Here is C-Dog


Can I just say Toyota is impressive! Did you know they have a zero landfill policy? They recycle everything! Their facility is amazingly clean. I don’t know about you but when I think “car factory” I think grease, oil, dust, etc.


The Toyoda Type-G Automatic Loom invented by Sakichi Toyoda, the father of Toyota Motor Corp.

We learned that the plant used to produce the Tundra, but now makes the Sienna, the Highlander and the Highlander Hybrid. Most are already bought by individuals or dealerships.



C-Dog and his buddy having fun int he Visitor’s Center


During the tram tour we got to see the manufacturing process of the Sienna first hand. No pictures were allowed though. I can tell you they make excellent use of all their space and we often had vehicles passing over our heads on conveyor belts! We also learned that Toyota takes their workers’ ideas seriously. When a team member has an idea that will make their job easier and/or more efficient Toyota listens and implements the idea. We actually saw at least one such idea being used. How fantastic to work for a company that actually listens! We also learned that the use of robots does NOT replace the worker. Robots are used to help and not replace. That is reassuring since jobs are hard enough to come by; trust me I know!

An example of a robotic arm used to help workers

An example of a robotic arm used to help workers

Toyota has several cafeterias, vending machine areas, several work-out ares, an on site pharmacy, a day care center, and more. I was left with the impression that they take good care of their employees.


Bug checking out the plastics exhibit which uses a simulated process that demonstrates injection molding used to mold all the plastic vehicle parts in the plant.

The workers are efficient. They have an allotted time to complete their task on each vehicle; about 60-90 seconds per car! They have safety measures in place and each vehicle is examined and tested. I was amazed at the speed and efficiency in which they worked.


Elf is working hard to make a car door in the allotted time!

Toyota is involved in the community and encourages all of their employees to do volunteer work. I think all companies need to do this. I also noticed that on the grounds they have an A-forestation section were they are growing new trees. What a great way to counter the Carbon Footprint they are creating and a true inspiration to the rest of us.

Overall, this trip was fantastic. What I saw of Toyota was incredible. I really can’t say enough positives about them based on what we saw. If you ever have the chance to tour a car factory I recommend it. Maybe your experience won’t be as positive as ours, but it was a true learning experience and it is something my kids will never forget.


**This is not a Toyota review. This is simply a post about a field trip to one of their plants. We had a great experience. All the opinions are mine based on what I saw during the tour.

Impromptu Field Trip and What the Turtles Taught Us

The internet is out…again. Seriously, we have the worst service but it is cheap and no contract and considering we have to make every penny count and we are only in this house temporarily I am stuck with the crummy service.

The problem is I use the internet when I homeschool. Sure there are things we do that do not require the computer but that only gives us about a half a day and I need to make every second count. If I don’t keep the kids busy then, well let me just say it gets quite loud and crazy 🙂

So what to do, what to do? I opted to load them into the van and go to the local zoo. Normally when we go to the zoo I teach about classification, proper animal names, where they are found, if they endangered, etc. Today the tortoises decided the kids needed a refresher course in procreation 😉


The picture above is a seriously cute baby tortoise following his Mama ❤

My kids have been subjected to “the talk.” When I was pregnant with Zen we sat the kids down and were open and honest in an age appropriate manner. They know mom and dad have a special relationship with just each other. They understand how fertilization occurs. They understand how babies are born. In fact C-Dog very much wanted to help the midwife “catch” Zen when he was born. Zen was born at 3:30 am so C-Dog was asleep. He was disappointed.

I am not scared of discussing the intricacies of life with my kids. I have no issue discussing love, mating, death, and everything in between. I never tell them more than they need to know at that moment and I also never lie to them. It is a balancing act. The following is what happened….

“Hey! What are those tortoises doing?”
“Are they piggy backing?”
“They sure are noisy!”
Out of the corner of my eye I saw the zoo keeper lift his head in curiosity to how I was going to deal with this.
Game on!
Did I get embarrassed? Nope. I actually like that my kids don’t just ignore things. They are really observing nature around them! I think they notice more than I do. My reply was “They are mating. Procreating. Making babies.”
I noticed the zoo keeper smile and return to his job. Yes! I said something right! I wonder if it frustrates him that some parents laugh off the situation or shuttle their children away from the animals when they are being, well, animals!

My kids replied, “Oh OK” and that was that. Kind of. They did keep talking about babies and one of them mentioned how no matter who you love only a grown up man and grown up woman can actually make babies. The boys answered the girls’ questions. They all discussed how mammals don’t lay eggs, well except platypus. They took the conversation to a higher level and I got to witness them learning on their own. They never really needed more information, however if they had asked I would have answered. I only had to correct misinformation once or twice. Much of their speculation was right on target.

I love that my kids basically taught themselves and the older ones reminded the little ones what they already have been told. I was there to gently guide them and correct them as needed, but this was their moment.

To all the parents out there, this is my reminder to all of us that kids don’t always need books to learn. They don’t need the internet. They DO need to be allowed to explore and ask questions. They need experiences. It is easy to forget this. I know I for one often get distracted by how many pages are left in their math books or how much writing has taken, or not taken, place. I get distracted with looking things up on the internet for them because it is easy and fast. I need to remember that some things they can discover on their own.

We had a lot of fun. Learning was had and memories were made. Thank you tortoises for taking that moment to, um, meet your needs so my kids could take learning into their own hands.
We also watched a tiger pee. I had to stop the potty talk because although my kids are seriously amazing they are also kids. Potty talk makes them laugh. Yes, the tiger is peeing in this picture. I didn’t realize it until afterward. I thought about deleting it. I prefer it here though 😉