Sunday, June 8, 2014

Farmer's Market Day

In keeping up with our themed days this summer, Friday's theme was Farmer's Market Day. My kids love going to farmer's markets: picking out fresh fruits and veggies, listening to bands play, and treats along the way. The idea for a farmer's market day theme came as we were walking through the downtown farmer's market one Saturday morning. When I ran the idea by my kids they got super excited, mostly because they pictured having an actual farmer's market in our backyard complete with a train ride (one of their favorite parts of going to the downtown Des Moines Farmer's Market).

This activity took quite a bit of planning, lots of prepping, and buying items.

We had extra wooden shelves in the basement (which means I had to wait for a day I was guaranteed there was no rain in the forecast). Going through our basement I also found plastic baskets, woven baskets, and some containers for the fruits.
I bought this market from Lakeshore Learning (it came with the veggies). It's small, but the kids loved it! Once they were done playing Farmer's Market, I cleaned it off and rotated this in the toy mix (the little kitchen is taking a break in the basement toy storage area).
I ordered new plastic fruits and vegetables from Amazon (bag of each $9). I grabbed this basket (we use it for apples) and filled it with plastic veggies.

The fruit area. In the clear containers and plastic baskets, I put mostly the plastic fruits and veggies the kids have had for years.

The kids loved playing Farmer's Market, although it was more like Market than anything. Their favorite part of playing was the McDonald's cash register: shopping for their fruits, veggies, and cupcakes, putting it all in their basket, and then taking it to the register to "check out." The kids did a pretty good job of taking turns being the "check out person." 

The kids added to the play when they found the pennies from our Digging for "Gold" game (see post for details: They immediately handed out the pennies so everyone could pay for their fruits and veggies.
Elizabeth had to eat her late breakfast outside (she woke up in the morning and walked right onto the patio to start her day playing).

To go along with our Farmer's Market we did sensory snacks of the fruits and veggies they were playing with. Morning snack was our fruit sensory that contained blueberries, mango chunks, canelope, and blueberries. I was quite surprised that the kids weren't fond of much on their plates (the mangos were their favorite).
Afternoon snack was our veggie sensory snack, complete with corn on the cob, snap peas, cucumbers, carrots and lettuce. The kids loved this snack the most and did a great job of at least trying everything on the plates (although most kids at it all). I definitely need to do more of these sensory snacks (or sampler platter snacks) because the kids do a great job at trying new foods.

The kids absolutely love these themed days we have been doing! I've been really pleased to see their responses with everything and their eagerness to learn and include everyone in the activities. I was very impressed with how well they listened to the rules. Before they started playing, I had them line up on the patio and gave them their rules for playing: they had to share the baskets and the fruits and veggies (there were beyond plenty for all of them), no pushing or shoving, the Market toys couldn't go into the yard they had to stay on the patio, the yard toys had to stay in the yard, and no riding toys could be ridden through the market (cozy coupes, trikes, bikes, scooters, etc.). Every child I had (ages 2 to 6) followed the rules exactly and I never had to remind them once, although it did help that they didn't even want to play with the other toys in the yard. They played Farmer's Market all day long and had some pretty great scenarios happening. In one, the older two kids were married and shopping and in another, one daycare kid was Harrison's child whom he was taking grocery shopping.

I love activities like this that keeps the kids entertained, imagining, laughing, sharing, and play together all day long. Some of our next themed days include: painting day (Kool Aid patio painting, balloon painting, and another shot at squirt gun painting will round out that day) and bubbles day (blowing bubbles, painting with bubbles, and a bubble filled swimming pool).