A quick trip to a market helps connect your child to the food they eat. With all the fun they have, they may even be asking for more veggies at dinner. Read these activity ideas to navigate the fun at the Farmer’s Market.
A Sense-ational experience
The Farmer’s Market can be a sensory overload, in the best way possible for kids. Before heading over, talk about shapes and colors, scents and tastes. Take turns looking for a certain shape or color. Explore the many different types of fruits and vegetables, asking if your child knows the shape or color. Many markets will let you “graze” a bit. Try smelling all the fresh herbs. Sample anything that is available. Talk about what interests your child the most and try to take home a new ingredient for dinner.
Hunt and gather
Create-your-own treasure hunt! Make a short challenge list to find common farmer’s market items, such as the ones listed below, and let your little ones go hunting. Great for a group of kids old enough to take $5 and visit vendor stands as a pair. Give each team this short list of tasks, $5, and 15 minutes. If the market is large or busy, take away the competition and make it a group activity so everyone can stay together while moving through the market.
- Buy one of your favorite fruits or vegetables
- Ask a farmer where they grow their plants, and how far that is from here (write in response)
- Find one item you do not know the name of, and ask about it! (write in the name, smell, taste, or ways to cook it)
- Find five fruits or vegetables for sale that are your favorite color
- Ask one of the vendors what their favorite item for sale is, then buy it.
Ask the farmer
Many of the vendors at Farmer’s Markets have a passion and principle driving them to work in local foods. They can be a wealth of information for your child. Chat with your kids before the adventure to see what interests them about the process. Depending on their age and knowledge, the questions could be simple or more complex. Maybe they want to know what it means to farm: How early does the farmer wake up? What do they grow? What makes it important? Maybe they want to know about food: What’s the difference between a fruit and a vegetable? Why do some of the produce varieties look different those seen in the grocery store?
Your favorites: From farm to table
This is a great chance to challenge yourselves as a family to buy fresh and healthy ingredients. Ask your kids what they would order if you went out to their favorite restaurant that night. See how many ingredients from that recipe you can find at the Farmer’s Market, chances are there are lots. Take home the materials and cook together for a very special meal.
- Bring some big and sturdy bags to carry your bounty
- For produce, buy only about what your family can consume in 7-10 days
- Many Farmer’s Markets have one weekend and one weekday session, call an organizer to see if there are different vendor stands available on different days—or when is a downtime to avoid a crowd
- Grab a set amount of cash you are OK spending, since vendors might not take credit
- Consider purchasing a small herb plant or flower at the market to give your child a chance to bring the market home for the season. Try planting together.
Find your market:
- Michigan Tourism guide to Farmer’s Markets
- Michigan Farmer’s Markets by county
- Search for Farmer’s Markets nationwide
Where is your family’s favorite Farmer’s Market? Share your recommendations with other parents in our comments section, below!
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