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Making Food Fun For Kids at the Farmers Market

Making Food Fun For Kids at the Farmers Market

Getting your shopping done and having some fun with your kids at the same time don't have to be mutually exclusive activities. In fact, an outing to the Farmers Market can be both fun and educational... and you might even get your weekly produce shopping done, too!

Get inspired with our Top 6 Farmers Market kid activity ideas for having a great time at the market with your family.

1: Give Kids A Budget & A Bag

Set your kids loose at the Farmer's Market with money in their pocket and a shopping bag over their shoulder. Ask them questions like "So what are you planning to pack in your lunch this week?"  "Can you find out what fruits are in season right now?" "Do you know if those strawberries are organic? Can you find out?"

Think of the Farmer's Market as a real life scavenger hunt and your kids will be asking to go week after week.

2. Make New (Farmer) Friends

Ask the vendors questions about their produce and where it's grown. Ask about how they got started with farming, what's the difference between organic and conventional produce, can they help you pick the perfect melon, zucchini, etc....

Involve you child in the conversation by inviting questions, like "Honey, did you have any more questions we should be asking?" If your child is shy, don't put your child on the spot and insist they ask questions. Just let her listen in.


Photo by Patrick Kuhl

3. Play “I Spy” Fruits and Veggies 
I spy with my little eye, a rutabaga! Can you find it? I spy with my little eye 2 orange fruits. Can you find them?
For younger children, start with common produce such as cucumbers, corn, peaches, and plums. For older kids, make it challenging with less recognizable foods like ground cherries, okra, kohlrabi, Jerusalem artichoke, zucchini blossoms, rhubarb, eggplant or romanesco broccoli. Or what about searching for mutant veggies?

4. Plan Yummy Recipe

Another unique farmers market idea is to let your kids use their imaginations and come up with a fun recipe to make from your farmer's market bounty. Should you make a fritatta with free range eggs and zucchini? A stew with seasonal veggies and grassfed beef? Homemade organic ice cream topped with peaches and honey?

Eating new things gets easier for children if they've had a hand in shopping for the ingredients and then preparing the meal. They become invested in the outcome and more likely to eat outside their comfort zone.

5. Patterns & Colors

Invite your young artist or scientist to select an assortment of fruits and vegetables with amazing patterns when sliced. An okra? Pepper? These will be fabulous stamps for an art project.
Also select beets, spinach, carrots, onions, berries, and red cabbage to create colorful dyes, just like the pioneers did before the use of synthetic paints. 
Slow-cook each vegetable in a saucepan with a small amount of water until the water changes color. Watch your kids’ amazement as they create natural paint with veggies.
Make sure to remove the vegetables from the water and reserve for eating — a little salt or butter or Parmesan cheese will enrich the flavor.



6. Play With Your Veggies

How about creating with your children whimsical characters out of common fruits and vegetables, like pears, cherries, eggplant, or okra? Can you figure out together what to use for eyes, hair, clothes, legs?
Inspired by the book Play with your Food, this entertaining activity is an all-time favorite for kids (and adults). Once you’ve admired your fruit and vegetable creatures for a day or two, just chop them up for your favorite soup, stew or chili recipe.


Main image from the Portland Farmers Market, Photo taken by Amy Nieto

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