Beyond simply stopping by to view the animals at your local farm, there are many other hands-on and creative activities you can do with your family -- and spring is a great time to go. Visiting your local farm during the spring comes complete with baby animals, plus the weather is warming up and it's the perfect opportunity for outdoor learning time with your children. To get the most out of your springtime visit to the farm, you'll want to explore it with a different lens and look at your local farm as more than just a place that keeps animals and agriculture. Read on to learn seven creative ways to experience your local farm this spring with your family.
1. Meet n’ Greet
Many local farms, especially animal farms have special dates and times set aside for meet and greets. A meet and greet is the perfect time to really learn about the inside workings of your local farm. If you local farm has a focus on animals, a meet and greet will usually include a walking tour of the farm, introducing you to the different animals, showing you how the farm cares for them and in many cases allowing you to get much more up close and personal with the animals. Usually, you walk as a group through each section of the farm, while a volunteer gives a mini-presentation about each animal.
2. Make it a Party
Many kids have farm-themed birthday parties, and if a “farm” themed party is in your child’s future, consider hosting it at your local farm. Having a party at a farm is usually a more budget-friendly alternative, than say — a birthday entertainment spot and a farm is much more intimate too. Many farms have party packages that include a picnic area to enjoy lunch and birthday cake, pony rides and simple games such as horseshoes or a potato sack race. A farm is also a great place to plan a wedding, family reunion or even a baby shower.
3. Camp Farm
Many farms offer special spring break and summer camps for children. Parents drop the children off before they head to work in the morning and as part of the days activities children get to “work” on the farm. Usually, this means they will help milk the cows, brush the horses, collect eggs from the hen house and even feed, water and interact with the animals. This is a great idea for children who love to be outdoors and really enjoy time with animals. It’s also a great way to infuse spring and summer activities, while teaching responsibility and giving children a meaningful, yet fun way to spend those long days off from school.
4. Join a CSA
Joining a Community Sponsored Agriculture (CSA) group is an excellent way to support your local farms and farmers. Plus, you’ll get to bond with your local community and feed your family healthy whole foods straight directly from the source. As part of a CSA, families are encouraged to spend time volunteering at their local farm. This may include planting, harvesting and any other “chores” that the farm needs help with — making your family an integral part of the system.
5. Festival Time
Many farms have special festivities that they celebrate each spring. Whether, it’s a festival celebrating a special fruit, vegetable, animal or other part of the agricultural process, festivals are always a great way to spend a day with the family. For instance if the festival is to celebrate farming throughout history, your family may get to experience antique farm equipment, practices and learn how people from that time period lived. If the festival focuses on a particular food, such as strawberries — the festival will include special arts, crafts, demonstrations and foods that incorporate and celebrate strawberries.
6. Pick Your Own
A great way to spend the day with your family is by visiting your local “pick your own” farm. Whether, you spend the day picking your own strawberries in the strawberry patch, apples or oranges in the orchard or grapes directly from the vine, it’s a fun way to teach your children the importance of where our foods come from and how they are grown. Plus, a pick-your-own day is the perfect opportunity for a picnic at the farm — just plan your menu around the type of farm you are visiting.
7. Make it a Play Date
Many local farms that allow families to visit on a regular basis will also have a playground. This makes a quick trip to the farm after school a convenient and fun way to meet friends for a play date. Farm playgrounds are especially fun for smaller children who need somewhere to run around after a busy afternoon of visiting with the animals. It’s a fun place to stop by and have a picnic lunch on the weekends or after a busy day at school and work.