Over the weekend, I had the chance to take a bike ride with my husband and two daughters to a local farmer's market. The outing, although hot, turned out to be a wonderfully simple way to enjoy some time as a family. It got me thinking about how a trip to a farmer's market is such a simple teaching opportunity for parents of young children. By setting aside a morning to explore the different fruits and vegetables at the market, you are able to convey so many important and over looked messages in our fast paced world.
First of all, it is a great opportunity to teach kids to connect the dots when it comes to food that they eat. All food comes from somewhere. Often times, children don't give any thought to what food they eat other than how it tastes to them. In their minds, food comes from out of a box, or out of the refrigerator, or through a car window in a bag. By exposing them to tables of colorful produce, you are able to stimulate their senses and get them excited about trying some new things.
Secondly, buying fresh produce opens up the discussion of how to use the produce. Fresh strawberries could mean strawberry shortcake or smoothies or muffins or pie. You get the idea. Taking the produce home and transforming it in to something delicious to eat, is another simple yet powerful learning experience for children.
And finally, taking your children somewhere that you are exploring together, creates a connection or strengthens the bond that you share with them. Parents sometimes fall into the habit of believing everything is easier without the kids in tow. And from a practical sense this is true. But taking children with you and exploring a place from a new perspective can make it all the more special. So grab your bike helmets and pedal off to your local market, and later in the day you will be able to enjoy the "fruits" of your labor!