Spring has come, and farmers markets are open for business! Finally, you can enjoy high-quality fresh produce made by your local farmers and growers. And if you’re a health nut with tiny tykes, the nearest farmers market is going to be a treat for you and for your kids. After all, one of the main benefits of farmers markets is that they’re the perfect places for socializing with your neighbors and for bonding with your loved ones. Good food tends to do that.
However, as a parent, you know that kids and shopping areas don’t really go together. They can’t stand still and get bored within seconds. With your rambunctious child’s ceaseless energy and the busy atmosphere of a regular farmers market, it might seem like a catastrophe waiting to happen. There’s a lot of stimuli at such a colorful and bustling place like the market, so kids are bound to get excited.
Forcing kids to be still and behave the entire shopping trip is impossible and, more to the point, goes against their nature. But leaving them at home would either be impractical or a missed opportunity. So what can you do?
Well since you can’t – and shouldn’t – try to suppress your kid’s frantic energy, why not channel their energy to something productive and fun? If you give your kids something to do, they’ll not only be entertained at the farmers market, and they’ll stay out of trouble so you can do your own shopping in relative peace.
In this article, we’ve collected a few fun activities you can try out on your kids the next time you head to the farmers market. With these ideas, your kid will have a blast at the market and maybe even learn a thing or two about food and farming. Plus you’ll be able to spend more quality time with your precious children.
First Things First: Preparation
Before you even head out to the nearest farmers market, you need to do a little bit of prep work to make sure that everything will go swimmingly. When it comes to kids, you can never be too prepared.
Research. Most if not all farmers markets have their own social media page somewhere. Check their page for basic information like their opening and closing times, and also if they have some exclusive kids’ activities organized (which some markets tend to do) and if the bathroom is nearby. You can even look at photos of the market to see what you’ll be dealing with.
Gear up. Chances are you will be spending a lot of time at the market, so you need to bring the essentials. Make sure that your child wears something cute and comfortable. Your kid is probably going to spend the entire trip running around, maybe even dancing to the music at the market, so be sure they’ll wear comfortable standing shoes. Then you’ll need to pack sunblock, water bottles, a change of clothes, wet wipes, hand sanitizer, snacks – basically the kind of things you would typically bring to an outing. It might seem unnecessary, but when you’re out at the market with your kids running around and exploring, no matter how careful you are, your child is going to come back a mess.
Give your kid their own basket. Farmers markets don’t offer patrons with pushcarts and baskets like in commercial stores. You need to bring your own while you’re shopping. This is an excellent opportunity to teach your child some responsibility. Giving them their own basket to carry around produce with will give them a sense of obligation and trust. They’ll know how it feels to be responsible for something and will learn to be more careful.
Carry some change. Speaking of teaching kids responsibility, you can also give them a small purse of change which they can use to purchase their selection of produce. They won’t be carrying with them a lot of money, of course, but just enough to buy a pear or an apple. Not only will they feel grown up, but they will also learn firsthand what it’s like to budget one’s money. Plus, if they buy a fruit or a vegetable on their own, they’re more likely to eat it.
Go with a full stomach. You know what they say, never shop for groceries on an empty stomach. If your kids are feeling peckish while at the farmers market, they might buy things on impulse with no real intention of eating their selected food. It’s best you go to the market after a meal or a hearty snack.
Games and Activities
The Shopping Game
A classic and effective game is the “shopping game” where you’ll have your little ones look for produce that matches the colors of the rainbow or, better yet, fruits and vegetables that start with the letters of the alphabet. To make it more fun, you can even challenge your child to find food that starts with the letters that spell their name. If your kids are competitive, you can also reward the first one to finish first. They’ll be having a blast and might even get to know some new fruits and vegetables.
Play with Your Food
Another funny game is this original food finding game. The gist of this one is that you tell your children to find a fruit or a vegetable they can make a fun character off. They can even get smaller food to serve as facial features or limbs. At the end of the trip, your kids can put together their character, using toothpicks to stick on the parts. Make sure they’re well supervised though.
In this modern era, kids know how to use tech almost better than some adults. If your kid is obsessed with a smartphone, you can suggest this activity. You challenge your child to take photos of specific fruits and veggies. You can even write a list of the types of photos they need to take like close-ups of the produce, profile shots, etc. Who knows? You might ignite your child’s creativity with this game idea.
At most farmers markets, stalls would often offer samples of their produce or product. This is an excellent chance for your kids to try new and healthier food. You can challenge them to try as many new foods as they can. If your child is a picky eater, now’s a great time to encourage them to overcome their fussiness and expand their palate.
Now this game is going to take a little prep work beforehand. You can either list the items your kids need to find or print photos of the produce. This will be fun for kids looking for an adventure.