There is something so wonderful about seeing the world through the eyes of a child. One place I love watching my children’s faces light up with excitement is at local Farmers Markets. The fresh produce, the livestock, the homemade pastries, the fresh iced tea, the little wooden toys made and sold by the same hands, and so much more! There is nothing like it! But did you know that in addition to being a fun weekend morning out, there is amazing value in the time you and your children spend at a farmer’s market?! Here are 5 of the ways that your child can benefit from spending time exploring a Farmers Market.
- Senses. Farmer’s Markets are a beautiful place for your child to experience all their senses! They can see bright red, yellow, orange, and green fruits and vegetables while they smell freshly baked bread, recently picked berries, and bouquets of lavender. They can taste juicy cherry tomatoes while listening to farmers talk about planting and picking the tomatoes they are enjoying. They can touch different varieties of kale while they cool off with a cold iced tea. Their senses can come alive as they take it all in.
- Exposure. It can take 20 exposures (or more) for a child to decide if they truly like or do not like a food. While some of these exposures will involve licking or biting into the food, initial exposure may be seeing it or touching it at a time that the food is not on their plate. The Farmer’s Market is a perfect place for these types of exposure! A child may touch a piece of kale and feel intrigued to taste it. They may see a food they have never seen before and ask to know its name and what it tastes like. Many farmers will offer children a small taste which adds to the fun! A way to maximize the beautiful exposure offered at the market is to let your child pick out one new food that they want to take home. Perhaps they just will ask to help cook it once home for the day and maybe even want to try tasting it too!
- Seasonality. If you visit Farmer’s Markets in various locations and throughout different seasons your child will gain a great understanding of the concept of “in season”. They will see that some during certain times of the year strawberries are plentiful and other times blueberries are more abundant. And depending on what climate you live in, they may see that there is very little or no produce during certain seasons.
- Farmers. Another unique and incredible experience of being at a Farmer’s Market is getting to speak with the farmers! Many times, the individuals who take part in planting, caring for, and harvesting the crops are the ones selling it at the market. If your child can ask questions about the size or colour of the seed and the length of time it takes for the crop to grow, this can add to their knowledge and understanding of where food comes from and the vast differences between different types of grains, fruits, and vegetables.
- Appreciation and Motivation. With exposure and knowledge comes appreciation. When a child is given the opportunity to learn about food they will come to appreciate it more. They are less likely to be a picky/fussy eater, but rather become an adventurous eater to try all the foods they have learned about and explored. And there is a strong potential that they will also be more motivated to plant their own vegetable gardens and strawberry patches once they learn what a wonderful impact growing and buying local can have!
So whether you have an adventurous eater or a picky eater, the Farmer’s Market is the place to be on a weekend morning to see, smell, hear, taste, touch, and enjoy while you gather your nourishment for the week ahead!
Noelle is a mom of 6 year old twin boys and a 3 year old son. She is a Registered Dietitian with a passion for nutrition, fitness, and all things related to motherhood. Almost three years ago Noelle started her Instagram feed to give moms ideas of ways to make healthy choices for themselves and their little ones. Now in addition to sharing delicious and healthy recipes she talks about aspects of motherhood. From the early days of breastfeeding to grocery shopping with toddlers to making school lunches and everything in between! motherhoodandmeals.com
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