BY CINDY GORDON | www.VegetarianMamma.com
We teach our children about farms from a young age. We start with nursery rhymes and songs such as ‘Old McDonald Had a Farm.’ Visiting a farm can be a magical learning experience for your little one. Endless learning awaits at the farm. Farm visits can provide language development opportunities, sensory learning, increased appreciation of food, animals, nature and much more.
Visiting a farm can show children just where their food comes from. By seeing the food at the farm, your child can understand what local food is. Showing your children that their food comes from the farm gives the opportunity for them to make a great connection to selecting healthy foods. As a family, it can be a fun and educational time when you visit “U Pick” farms. Whether you are collecting berries from plants or selecting the most perfect apple from the tree, your child will be learning. Depending on the farm and the age of your child, you can even learn about different types of farming, whether it be conventional or organic farming.
Having hands on time or interaction with animals plays a huge part making a connection for the compassion of other living things. Touching the animals and even feeding the animals can teach your child so much. Many farms will provide an opportunity to feed their animals. Your child can learn the important of how to treat animals and what is required for their day-to-day care.
The seasons of food and animals is an important aspect of visiting a farm. Your child can learn what types of food are grown during the different seasons. For example, it is not typical to see strawberries growing on a farm in February. With animals, you typically see young animals in the spring.
Identifying food and animals is a huge learning piece while visiting a farm. Children can practice recognizing their favorite food being grown in a garden or field. While at the barn, children can practice identifying animals and the sounds that they make.
Just like you would talk with your child ahead of time to lay the foundational work for what they are going to view on the farm, you should be sure to talk with them after your visit. Your child may have questions about what they saw. This is a great opportunity to continue the farm learning process.
By visiting a farm with your child, you will help them to grow a deeper appreciation for where their food comes from and help to increase their understanding of the care of animals. Your child will see first-hand where their food comes from and also be hands on and interact with animals. In the end, your child may feel a deeper sense of pride when it comes to healthy foods and animals.
Seize the day and the opportunity to share a beautiful learning experience with your child. Visit a local food or animal farm and let the learning begin!