My son is about to turn 4 and I have to say I’m loving this age! We have actual conversations, he’s learning so much, and he’s pretty hilarious. I feel lucky we are able to attend a co-op preschool where parents participate regularly in the school day (providing the child to adult ratio/facilitating activities/maintaining the environment) and I see first hand the way he’s learning an amazing amount simply through play and exploration. With this age (and actually ALL of the ages leading up to this one, for us) often comes picky eating, refusing meals, weird drama over the shape/size/texture of the food… you name it! We are actively and consistently trying to encourage healthy eating habits through positive solutions, but we often hit a wall when it comes to veggies. My son is starting to ask more question about how things work and where things come from; having “ah-ha” moments like realizing the chicken nugget comes from the actual chicken “animal”. So why not approach healthy eating in the same playful, explorative and age-appropriate way we’ve approached his education? Seems like it’s a great time to head on out to the farm!
Admiring the beautiful rows of cabbage.
We have a farm near us in Orange County, CA, called Tanaka Farms, that offers “you pick” tours through out the year. The particular tour we went on today was free, with the only charge being for the veggies and fruits you picked along the way. We rode in open wagons pulled by a tractor with a guide to narrate our trip and a couple of employees to assist us. Overall it was an easy trip to take with a 4 year old. Our friends who joined us range from 3 to 8 years old and there were plenty of mamas wearing tiny tots and babies in slings and carriers who seemed to have little difficulty (if any at all) navigating the terrain and riding in the wagons. Today were were offered broccoli, cabbage, kale, romaine lettuce, spinach, carrots and strawberries.
Our romaine lettuce – chosen, cut, delivered!
We brought home broccoli, kale, romaine lettuce, and strawberries from our trip. The prices were good and after the fun we had I’m sure the added value of seeing food grown, touching plants and soil, and tasting fresh strawberries off the vine will prove to be priceless.
Broccoli stalk – chosen and chopped!
Our particular tour ended at the strawberry fields, where we were encouraged to eat our way along the rows of beautiful red berries! Our guide gave us a lesson on how to properly pick the berries and what to avoid in a way that was easy for children to remember and apply. We were given as many baskets as we wished to fill and enjoyed moseying down the rows in search of our perfect plump treats.
Best Strawberry EVER!
If healthy living and nutrition are on your mind I encourage you to take your family on a trip to a farm near you. This kind of hands on experience can go further than a lot of other techniques might, to encourage our children in making their own healthy and natural choices. I plan on making these kinds of trips more regular experiences for our family as well!
Yum. Just YUM!
Have a favorite farm to visit or an awesome experience learning about healthy eating with your family? Share it in the comments below!