Summer is upon us, and with it comes the very best time of year for buying fresh and local at the Farmers’ Markets in your area. In addition to filling the family’s plates with fresh produce, these markets also offer ample opportunities for filling little ones’ minds with new knowledge.
I’ve developed a weekly routine of visiting our neighborhood market with my son, Brad, and it’s an activity we both look forward to!
Here are some tips for making the most of the Farmers’ Market shopping experience with your kids:
- Sample new flavors – Farmers’ Markets are usually a sea of samples, which is great for exposure to novel foods. Brad loves tasting all the different foods and giving me his opinions about what we should buy. He’s learned which stalls have the sweetest peaches and the only way I can get him to eat eggs is by letting him pick out green eggs at our favorite egg stall.
- Ask the vendors questions – Not only are Farmers’ Markets a great place to be introduced to a wider variety of fruits and vegetables, kids also have the opportunity to meet some of the people responsible for growing them. Take time to engage in conversation with the vendors and farmers to find out more about how the produce is grown, the names of different foods, and how to tell when foods are ripe or ready to eat.
- Use another language – Depending on where you are located there may be other languages spoken at your Farmers’ Market. My son seizes the opportunity to practice speaking Spanish with the farmers, gaining valuable conversation experience in a non-native language. Often we return home armed with new vocabulary in addition to food!
- Practice counting change – For children who are old enough, this is a wonderful chance to work on money management and mental math. Brad loves when I give him the cash to pay for our groceries. After one (slightly traumatic) experience of being accidentally short-changed, he’s always been diligent to do the quick math to figure out how much change he should receive in return. For the younger ones in tow, you can practice simple numbers by counting the tomatoes, avocados, and apples as you select them.
While school is out for the summer, there are still ample learning opportunities to be found while strolling through the market!
About the Author
Nancy Yen is the founder of OmieLife, and developed the OmieBox after realizing there must be a better way to pack lunches for her young sons. She enjoys challenging conventional wisdom, and is always looking for a better way to do things.
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