Friday, April 9, 2010
A trip to the farmers' market is not only an opportunity to stock up on homegrown produce and handmade goodies, but it's also a teaching tool, especially for parents of young children.
There's no reason any parent should spend a trip to the farmers' market barking at their kids not to touch anything, or to be still and quiet the entire time. Kiddos don't need to be confined to a stroller, either. Know why? There's very little a child can hurt or break at a farmers' market, and no one at the farmers' market cares if your young'un feels like squealing like a banshee or dancing around like a possessed weirdo. Really, s/he will seem like just a member of the club.
What I'm trying to say here is, the farmers' market is one of the most kid-friendly places in town. As long as you're aware of your children's whereabouts at all times and as long as they're not trying to sneak heirloom tomatoes home in their diaper covers, feel free to cut loose.
There's a saddening and growing amount of evidence out there that tells us our children's generation is losing touch with real, whole foods. This is dangerous because it's these types of foods that keep us healthy and grow young bodies, not the processed junk they find on their trays at school or at the drive-thru. The more familiar your child is with actual food, not composite chicken nuggets, frozen french fries or boxed mashed potatoes, and the earlier you make the effort to get the message about good foods across, the more like s/he will lead a long, healthy, flavor-rich life.
But that still leaves the question of how exactly to get small kids actively participating in a trip to the farmers' market. I have a few ideas on this, and I like to base them on our five senses for easy recall: Sight, hearing, touch, smell and, most exciting, taste.
Reel in the tips over at my blog on Ttownmoms.com.