Local farms are a vital part of our society, economy, and food chain. Even city dwellers are never too far from a farm, orchard, vineyard, or other agricultural site.
For children, learning about farming can provide them with a wide range of knowledge and skills.
Local farms are also great spots for family activities, birthday parties, and educational opportunities.
Getting kids involved in local farms may be easier than you think. Keep reading for some practical tips to get your kids interested in farming.
Why Should Kids Learn About Farming?
Many kids do not spend time thinking about where their food comes from. The same is probably true for many adults.
However, learning about the life cycle of the food we eat and how local farms operate can provide a sense of appreciation when it comes to food.
Getting involved with local farms can also build respect for local farms and laborers who carry out valuable roles in agriculture.
Below are some reasons why kids should learn about farming.
Learn The Cycle of Food
If you asked your child where pork comes from, would they know?
What about hamburgers, corn on the cob, or apple slices?
While some children may be too young to learn about where exactly meat products come from, older children can begin to understand how food is made.
For younger children, the focus can start with fruits, vegetables, grains, and other plant-based foods.
Understanding the process of growing and raising plants and animals can provide a deeper appreciation for the food they eat every day.
The farmer and his team are responsible for every aspect of a farm, from caring for animals to planting crops.
On a farm, there are no days off.
Farmers are responsible for the care of many types of animals and plants, as well as the people that depend on food from their labor.
A local farm is a great way for children to see the weight and importance of responsibility up close.
Learn Animal Care
Quality food only comes from the proper care of animals.
Farmers tend to a wide range of animals, providing the right shelter, food, and care each one needs to live.
Observing the needs of others, including animals, is an important skill children can learn at a young age.
From caring for pets to simply having respect and compassion for the creatures around them, farming teaches children a great deal about animals.
Learn Valuable Life Skills
Hard work is at the core of farming.
From tending the land to cleaning out pens, almost every job on the farm requires some kind of manual labor.
Kids can learn valuable life skills, including cleaning, gardening, communication, and more, just by spending time on a local farm. They can also learn the satisfaction of a job well done after a day of hard work.
Learn Safety Skills
Working with animals and farming equipment requires a great deal of safety.
Kids can learn the value of safety skills and being aware of their surroundings on a local farm.
Following the rules on a farm is also essential to safety. Paying attention to the guidelines for using equipment and how to care for each animal keeps the farm running smoothly.
Learn About Weather and Nature
The elements greatly impact the operation of a farm.
Learning about rain, heat, cold, and anything else related to nature can all be done on a farm.
Understanding nature and the power of weather changes can help kids stay safe and maintain an appreciation for nature.
Learn About Work and Rewards
Hard work pays off, and that is especially true on a farm.
From seeing new animals born to packaging food to be enjoyed by others, there are many rewards in farming.
Seeing hard work pay off can encourage children not to shy away from difficult endeavors. On a local farm, they get a chance to roll up their sleeves, get to work, and reap the rewards – literally.
How To Get You Kids Interested in Local Farming and Agriculture
Not all children are enticed by the idea of farming.
Some may be more interested in playing with the animals than learning about them, but there are many places you can start. If you want to get your kids interested in agriculture, try the following tips.
Visit A Local Farm
Local farms all over the country allow visitors to their property.
Some set up guided tours to learn more about farming, others invite families to pick berries or spend time caring for animals.
Spending time at a local farm can get kids out of their normal routine and open their eyes to a different way of life.
The men and women who run local farms are often excited to share their knowledge and spread awareness for their work.
Find Farm Toys
Introducing small children to farming can be done with different types of farm toys.
From stuffed animals of cows or goats to gardening tools to toy tractors, there is a wide variety of farm and barn toys available for all ages.
Playing with these toys can make kids interested in seeing the real thing up close.
From watching tractors till the land to visiting animals in person, toys can inspire a child’s interest in farming.
Have A Party
Encourage your child’s love of farming or interest in local farms by having a themed birthday party or get-together.
Some local farms will host birthday parties and others can help set up animal-friendly petting zoos.
If your child is just beginning their interest in farms, look for decorations of farm animals or farming equipment.
Plant A Garden
Kids can get a small taste of farming by planting their own garden at home.
From picking seeds to nurturing the growing plants, gardening teaches a lot of the same skills as farming on a smaller scale. Gardening instills routine, discipline, and an appreciation for nature.
Join FFA Or 4-H
Many schools and communities offer local chapters of the FFA (Future Farmers of America), or 4-H.
These programs are designed teach future generations about farming or teaching kids how to learn by doing.
Research the programs available in your area to see if your kids can get involved.
Plan A Trip To A Local Farm
If you are interested in visiting a local farm, there is some preparation involved.
Locating farms in your area is the first step.
Start by looking for farms that support the interest of your child, whether that is animals or crops.
From there, you can ensure that you and your children are ready for a visit.
Keep reading for tips on planning a trip to a local farm.
Check The Website
Many local farms that allow visitors have public websites. On the site, you can usually check their hours of operation, price of admission, and the activities available at the farm.
It is also common to find guidelines or rules for visiting that you and your kids will have to follow. The website is the best place to start when planning your visit.
In addition to any information you can find on the website, calling the farm directly can provide helpful insight.
In some cases, you may have to set up a reservation to visit or schedule a tour.
Local farms may also change their hours of operation for visitors by season, so confirming that information is always a great idea.
Prepare your kids
Make sure your kids understand any rules or guidelines the local farm has in place for visitors before you arrive.
It is also important to stress that they should listen to the instructions of the staff at the farm.
The rules are in place to ensure everyone is safe.
Pay attention on the tour
Kids often model their behavior after their parents.
If you are on your phone during the farm tour or talking to another adult, they may lose interest in the workings of the farm.
However, if you are paying attention, they will follow your lead.
Encourage them to ask any questions they may have at the appropriate time to get more information.
Take plenty of photos
Memories fade fast, especially for younger children.
You can help them stay interested in local farming by taking plenty of photos during your visit and going over them together later.
Photos can help keep the memories fresh and remind them of their joy at the farm.
Farming is an essential part of our way of life and there are many benefits kids can learn from visiting a local farm.
As you can see, there are many ways you can get your kids interested in local farms.
From visiting a local farm, to choosing them quality farm toys to play with, to planting a garden.
Visiting a farm will give them lots of great memories. The skills they can learn on a farm and the knowledge they can gain are things they can carry with them for a life time.