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Reading about Dragons and Princesses is a fun way for your child to use her imagination, but sometimes it's fun to read about things your child is already familiar with.  "Story of My Life" is an on-going series focusing on events and activities that children are likely to experience.  Each post is paired with a story to read with your child to spark conversation about their own lives.

 

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My daughter and I are big fans of the farmer's market.  She has been going to the market since before she could walk!  I would load her up in her little red wagon and pull her down to the park where the vendors set up.  There were lots of people to visit and lots of things to see.  We would pick up okra, zucchini, or spaghetti squash to take back home for dinner.

Because I grew up on a farm, I want to be sure my city kid understands just where it is her food comes from.  The farmer's market is a great place for me to do that.  At our market, everything has to be home grown or hand made.  That means if my daughter has any questions about where things come from, the people with the answers are right there in front of her!

The first thing you will notice when you arrive is the food of course!  Let your child look around and explore a little.  What foods does he recognize?  What foods are new to him?  Is there anything new he would like to try?

Green Beans          Salsa

Garlic          Onions

Or, if you're lucky, there may even be samples to try!  Encourage your child to try them, especially if it's something she hasn't had before!  One of our local Girl Scout troops was offering samples of gummie snacks they had made.  My daughter was a big fan of their trail mix!  On some Saturdays our local FACS Extension Agent comes out and cooks up dishes using foods that she buys that morning at the market!  This is a great way to have your family try out new things and pick up some recipes to add to your kitchen.

Samples of Gummie Snacks          Trail Mix & Gummie Snacks

Or maybe you want to sit down and enjoy a treat right there at the market!  One of the boys I take always makes sure he has enough money with him to buy a glass of lemonade (made with real lemons), and a loaf of sweet bread.  One of the newest vendors cooks up breakfast burritos for anyone interested in eating breakfast at the market!

Lemonade          Bread

But the market isn't just about food!  There are all kinds of crafts too!  Headbands, belts, purses, skirts, yard art...and they are all handmade!  Keep an eye out for vendors creating their crafts there at the market.  One vendor at our market brings out a small loom used to make belts. You can watch her work and talk to your child about how things are made. They don't just appear at the store!

Hand-Woven Belts          A vendor weaving on a loom

Even if you can't watch the crafts being made, you can still ask questions.  Where do you find crystals?  How long does it take to make a bracelet?  Why does hypertufa look like concrete, but weigh so much less?  What do you use to make slime anyway?

Oklahoma Crystals          Handmade Bracelets

Hypertufa Fairy Garden          Homemade Slime

If you're lucky, there might even be crafts for your child to make!  This is our booth!  My youth are helping kids make crafts to raise money for the mission field!  This week they are making masks.

Childing Making a Mask

Before you go home, stop and listen to a little music and let your child dance around!

 Musician Playing at the Farmers' Market

To spark some conversation with your child about their adventures that day, sit down and read "Tractor Mac: Farmers' Market" by Billy Steers.  Tractor Mac talks with his pig friends, Pete & Paul, about the difference between junk food from the fair and healthy food from the Farmers' Market.  Talk with your child about the different kinds of foods he enjoys and how they make his tummy feel after he eats them.  Talk about what kinds of foods will help him to grow up healthy and strong.

 

Tractor Mac & his friends talk about the different things they see and smell.  What did your child see or smell at the market?  Tractor Mac also talks with his friends about the different ways to prepare food.  How will you prepare your market finds?  Where did you get your recipes from?  Did they come from the market?  Is there a recipe from the book you would like to try?  Or maybe you have a family recipe you're making.  Whose recipe is it?  Do you have any special memories about cooking or eating it?

A special thank you to the vendors of the Walnut Valley Farmers' Market for allowing me to photograph their produce and crafts!

 

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