There are plenty of ways to incorporate lessons into a trip to the farmers market. We love to go once a week to our local farmers market so here are some of the ways we have built learning into our trips.
With all the wonderful fruits and vegetables at your disposal at the farm market, it is a great opportunity to teach children about healthy eating habits. I always ask Mr. G what he would like for dinner, and he looks around and chooses a veggie to prepare as a side. We talk about why these items are healthy and important choices for our bodies. We might discuss the health benefits of eating carrots or apples.
When we started going to our local Famer’s Market and Mr. G was old enough, around 3, I would give him five $1 bills. His grasp on money is very vague at 3 years old but to see five $1 bills, and watch them disappear in exchange for food gives him a basic concept of money. As he has gotten older he has gained a better grasp of money, and can now handle quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies, and can identify them when asked.
In walking around the farmers market we have plenty of opportunities for using our manners, from a simple “excuse me” when walking around someone, to saying “thank you” for a purchase. This is a great opportunity for that “social interaction” that everyone is always talking about! 😉
Meal Planning and Prep
Mr. G gets to see what goes into planning a meal and participate when we shop from the farm market. We can create a meal plan right then and there, depending on what catches our eye. One trip, in particular, he found an eggplant that looked interesting. We ended up making eggplant parmesan that night for dinner. I don’t know that I could have gotten him to each eggplant without him picking it out himself.
There are plenty of counting lessons to be had at the Farm Market. I may ask him to put 2 onions in our basket or 5 tomatoes. I may also ask him to hand 2 dollar bills to the vendor. Now that he is older he reads the price and can assess what something is going to cost. It’s really all about using any opportunity you can find.
All About Local Produce:
I encourage G to be curious and ask questions. He usually doesn’t have a bunch of questions for the farmers. I try to ask questions instead. I ask about what is growing well this year, or if there is a particular item that is at it’s prime at the moment. I ask about what crops may be coming into season soon, so we can meal plan accordingly.
Seasons and Weather
You can notice a lot of changes from season to season at the market. Identifying what crops grow in what type of weather is a great lesson as well. We can notice what flourishes in abundant rain or what still grows during the dry weather.
Identifying Fruits and Vegetables:
This is pretty self-explanatory. As we walk around we talk about the different type of fruits and vegetables we see. We can see the different colors and varieties that they come in. We talk about how each variety differs in taste and size. We can also talk about the difference between fruit and vegetables.
As we walk through the farmer’s market we can discuss how certain items grow, in the ground, from a tree, on a vine etc. We also discuss things like what time of the year they grow or what they need to grow. We even stop and ask our local farmers for tips on how to grow our favorite foods in our garden! We get to see the diversity of produce and plant life in our area.
Community & Local Economy:
We support our local community when we go to the farm market. He gets to meet the local farmers. He learns where his food is coming from. We also have bakers, butchers, and artisans at our market. He gets the opportunity to see the people that help feed our community.
Letting G pick out food has led him to willing try new things! I never expected that from my picky eater!
Here are some books to go along with the lesson:
For Younger Children