Growing up on a farm means learning about equipment, weather and the cycle of life is just part of the everyday conversation. However, farm kids are not the only ones who need the chance to learn about life on the farm!
It is easy to find touch-and-feel board books of farm animals and there are even puzzles that make the farm animal sounds as you place the piece in the correct place. But, as kids get older, how do we help kids to know what farming is about? When in doubt, start with food. A documentary called Before The Plate (Dylan Sher) is expected out this year and is based on the notion that food has a story that begins long before it gets to the plate. Although the documentary is intended for adults, the same idea works with kids.
On our farm we produce a variety of cereal grains and oil seeds. Kids always love a great scavenger hunt, so here is a framework of ideas for them to hunt down and connect to the crops we grow on our farm. Of course, you can change the level of difficulty depending on the age of your kids, but a digital camera and a little challenge can open an opportunity for a lot of conversation.
Oats: oatmeal, cookies, cereal
Wheat: bread, cookies, pasta, pancake mix
Flax: bread, crackers, oatmeal
Canola: margarine, canola oil
Sunflowers: sunflower oil, whole shell-on sunflowers, salads
Corn: cereal, corn bread, tortillas, corn syrup, whole kernel corn
Our last family scavenger hunt involved bonus points for pictures that included all team members with the item, so remember to have fun with the idea. Kids will continue to surprise us with their insights and questions if we take time to engage them in the conversation.
Stay tuned tomorrow for kids and cows!