Abha and her five-year-old daughter Seema were watching a show on Discovery channel, when Seema suddenly asked her mother, “What is the chicken doing, mamma?” Abha answered, “She is laying eggs. Chickens lay eggs, so you can have eggs every day at breakfast.”
Seema looked confused for a moment and then told her mother, “No, mamma. Chickens don’t give eggs, we get them at the market. We buy eggs in the market every time!” Abha was at a loss. She didn’t know how to convince her daughter. For Seema, it was natural to assume that eggs and milk were ‘made’ in the market because that’s where she got them from.
Children are quick learners and they learn from what they see and hear. Life in a city or even a town, doesn’t give your child the opportunity to experience nature in its true form. Children need to experience life in a natural set-up to learn basic things like where their food comes from and how they can grow their own food. Therefore, an experiential visit to the farm is necessary for your child. In fact, children learn more from field visits than from textbooks. And, when it comes to the farm, a visit there will challenge any stereotypical image or preconceived notion your child may have about farming or farmers.
Here are some other ways your child can specifically benefit from a visit to a farm:
Learns About the Source of Food
If your child does not know where cauliflowers grow or thinks that milk comes from bottles, do not feel disheartened because your child is not the only one. His knowledge about the source of everyday food may be limited because his concept of a farm is what he sees in his textbook or videos. A visit to a farm will teach him where his food comes from and how much hard work goes into growing fruits and vegetables. He will also come to appreciate the fact that sometimes you have to wait for the results of your hard work.
Learns About Teamwork
Farming is a people-intensive job. It takes a lot of people to run a successful farm and everyone has to help each other out. A farmer’s family is a unit that works together, stays together and grows together. Working on a farm is a great way to teach your child about teamwork. She will learn that everyone has to contribute and do their share of chores to help a unit run smoothly.
Understands the Cycle of Life
One of the most important things your child learns on the farm is how the cycle of life works. At a farm, humans, livestock and wild animals thrive together and look after each other’s needs. Where there is the joy of new life, there is also loss in terms of death or natural disasters. A visit to the farm will teach him to appreciate and accept the process of natural selection as well as inculcate in him a sense of responsibility toward his immediate environment.
Develops Sensory Skills
There’s so much to explore at a farm for your child in terms of sight, sound and smell. Different textures like the animal’s silky fur, the vegetable’s smooth surface or the wet grass help her develop her sensory skills. She will also see and hear a lot of new sights and sounds at the farm. Describe each texture, sight and sound to her to help her process the information.
There’s always a lot to be done at a farm. From feeding animals to watering the plants and plucking vegetables to building and fixing things. When your child is assigned a task or tasks, it teaches him to be responsible for his work as he understands that it is important to finish his task to keep everything in order.
With so much work and running around to do at a farm, your child is sure to get a lot of exercise. However, make sure that she doesn’t overdo it in her excitement as she may later become cranky when it’s time to go to bed.
Learns to Appreciate Food
When your child sees the amount of work that goes into growing vegetables and crops, he will automatically learn to appreciate food. It will also encourage him to eat healthy and organic food.
Develops Love for Animals
Children and animals both love unconditionally. When your child takes care of animals, she will learn to love and respect them. It will also teach her how to take care of different animals and their food habits.
What You Can Do
There are a lot of fun activities you can do with your child at the farm that will teach him a lot and give you an opportunity to bond with him and make memories that will last a lifetime.
Pick Fruits and Vegetables
Talk about the different fruits or vegetables and its properties while you do this activity.
Feed the Animals
This is a fun activity which will also teach your child what different animals eat.
Explain to your child that some plants are harmful and need to be taken out, so that the other useful plants can grow. This activity will also teach him that sometimes there’s good and bad in everything.
Tell A Story About the Farm
Have you read your child a story about the farm before? Telling a story about the farm with real animals and people will make for a great experience, when you are actually at a farm.
There are a lot of things that need fixing in the farm. Give her little tasks that she can do - build a fence or fix something together.
Help your child bond with nature and learn to respect and nurture it. These lessons will help your child grow into a more caring individual. It will also make for some great family time.
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