A trip to the local farmer’s market offers exciting, hands-on opportunities for students to learn about healthy foods and develop healthy eating habits. They get to explore a range of fruits and vegetables, talk to local farmers, and learn more environmentally-friendly methods of farming.
And whether they’re picking fruit to make their own smoothies or learning the ins and outs of gardening, students will have fun experiencing the sights, sounds, and smells of the farmer’s market.
Heading to the farmer’s market in the near future? Here are three activities you can do to make the most of your visit:
Rainbow Scavenger Hunt
The phrase “eat the rainbow” is often used to encourage children to eat a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables. Why is this important? Each color contains its own set of unique, disease-fighting chemicals called phytochemicals. These phytochemicals give fruits and vegetables their color, flavor, and some of their healthy properties.
At the farmer’s market, challenge students to find a fruit or vegetable for each color of the rainbow. Print out a checklist of fruits and vegetables by color and give one to each student. Add as many fruits and vegetables as possible, but keep in mind that some items may not be available due to the season. Then, hand them a clipboard and a pen and let them explore. Happy hunting!
Studies show that children are more likely to eat fruits and vegetables if they help grow them. And who better to teach them about gardening than farmers who grow produce for a living?
Contact your local farmer’s market to organize a gardening lesson with one of their vendors. The lesson will likely cover garden size and location, soil type, watering, and planting times. Then, have students use what they learn to build their own fruit or vegetable garden! We have a variety of gardening tools and resources to help them get started, like this raised garden kit, organic vegetable seeds, and child-size hand tools.
Drinking smoothies makes it easy for children to include fruits and vegetables in their diet. And hosting a smoothie party is a fun way for them to experiment with different combinations to create refreshing and nutritious drinks that they can also make at home.
To begin, make a list of the fruits and vegetables students would like to add to their smoothies. Then, head to the farmer’s market and have students shop for their items. Remind students to pick fresh, ripe produce by observing its color, smell, texture, and firmness. If needed, encourage them to ask for help to determine whether or not an item is ripe. Once you’ve returned from picking the items on the list, grab the blender and other ingredients that students can add to their smoothies, like ice cubes, orange juice, milk, and honey. Now, let the party begin!
You can take this activity a step further and have students write down their recipes to make the smoothies for their family and friends. Encourage students to conduct taste tests to see if their “tasters” can guess which fruits or vegetables are included in the smoothie.
Visiting the farmer’s market is a fun and engaging way to teach students healthy eating habits. Use these activities to make the trip an exciting learning experience that your students will never forget!