Farmers markets make the perfect family activity whether you’re exploring your hometown or visiting a new one, but sometimes kids don’t love the actual ‘shopping for veggies’ part or dealing with the crowds. To avoid a mid-market meltdown, it’s a good idea to have a few strategies for navigating your visit with kids. Here’s my favorite ways to make sure we all enjoy our Saturday morning trips.
Tips for Taking Kids to the Farmers Market
1. Let Your Kids Pick Something
Letting the boys help pick out some favorite produce is always helpful. As a teacher, I just can’t let a good teaching moment pass, so we make sure to talk about the nutrition of different kinds of food and how to tell if it’s ripe. If it’s not busy, we often let the kids help pay for the items so they can practice the social interaction of a transaction. If they’re excited about picking out a squash, they might be more likely to give it a try at dinner…maybe.
2. Stop and Take a Break
Many of the farmers market, including ours, have a rotating stage of musicians and some simple seating. Ours has these adorable kid-sized picnic tables which make for a nice stopping point. It also keeps them still for a few minutes while my husband or I run back to grab something at a stand with a longer line.
3. Make a New Friend
Meeting a new (furry) friend is always a highlight at the farmers market. We usually run into a few dogs (always ask before you approach a new animal) that my kids can pet. You might even luck out like us and get to meet a baby goat at one of the stalls! Another great social interaction we can practice as we ask owners if we can pet their dogs and then thank them when we’re done. These distractions keep my boys entertained while one of us runs off to pick up some carrots.
4. Avoid the Crowds
Farmers markets can get crowded during prime time on Saturday mornings. For little ones, who are pushed against a sea of straw baskets and grown-up kneecaps, it can be overwhelming. Aim for an early or later visit to avoid the peak rush and give your kids a bit more breathing space as you wander the stalls. Bonus: Your kids get more attention and might snag some more samples from the various booths if it’s not wall-to-wall shoppers.
5. Grab a Treat
And finally, I would argue, the best thing about the farmers market is the delicious food items. Our market has everything from tacos and cookies to breakfast sandwiches and fresh-roasted coffee. We can’t leave the market without trying at least one or two things and we take turns picking out treats. I like to save this for a special
bribe reward to ensure that everyone’s listening ears are working extra hard. I’m always on the lookout for activities for our family that everyone can enjoy (I’m looking at you Bounce Castle Universe!) and a Saturday morning trip to the farmers market is one of our favorites.
What’s your favorite thing about the farmers market? Any great tips for surviving a trip with your kids? Leave a comment below!