Farm to Smart! 5 Berry Cute Ideas for Family Fun at the Market
Spring is here and, along with the buds and blossoms, abundant farmers markets seem to be blooming on practically every corner. Exploring these pop-up produce paradises makes for some fabulous—and tasty—weekend family fun.
There’s so much to see, smell, touch, taste, and, yup, learn. Check out these five easy ways to help your child harvest a little extra from her farm-to-table adventure:
1. Have a scavenger hunt.
Ask your little sprout to seek out fruits and vegetables in all the colors of the rainbow. Younger children can find yellow fruits or five veggies, while older children might search for foods that begin with specific letters, such as the letters in their name. You can also try looking for produce that comes in silly shapes (check out How Are You Peeling? for some edible inspiration).
2. Play with numbers.
Younger tots can help you count out items as you put them in your bag: one pepper, two peppers, three peppers. (She’ll also delight in plopping those peppers into the bag herself). If the vendor is willing, you could also let children of all ages weigh different items on the scale, and read the numbers displayed there: Which is heavier, a carrot or a cucumber?
3. Let her purchase something small.
Little ones love to play grocery store but aren’t often included in the process when we’re shopping in a crowded, busy supermarket. Let him get a taste of the real thing by letting him pick out an item, weigh and/or bag it if needed, hand over the money, and get back any change. It’s a sweet and simple introduction to the basics of commerce.
4. Ask big questions—and connect with your community.
Farms are fascinating for kids—there are tractors and animals, and they grow things we eat! Encourage your child to start a conversation with a local vendor by asking questions: Do you get to ride on a big tractor? Are there any goats or pigs at your farm? Do your chickens do any funny things? When did you plant these seeds? What do you wear so that you can stay safe near your bees? Can you see lots of stars at night?
5. Try a taste of something new!
A toddler who turns up her nose at veggies or fruit may be more open-minded if you let her be in charge: Have her pick one new garden-good she’s never tried and agree that she will at least taste it when you get home. The produce at your market was probably picked at the peak of freshness, making that brave first bite extra yummy. Many vendors also offer free samples, so you could also try challenging more adventurous eaters to taste-test three new things each visit. That’s a great goal for you, too, Mom and Dad!