Farmer's stands -- or any kind of commerce stand -- facilitates a hallmark pretend play activity of childhood -- making something and then selling or giving it to others. Not only does the stand encourage creativity and free play, but it also helps children build social and entrepreneurial skills.
Play structures, such as a farmer’s stand, offers children the framework to develop social and interactive skills, as well as drive agricultural and entrepreneurial awareness. Make sure your child’s experience is complete with these 5 essential tips
5 Essential Farmer's Stand Play Tips
Create a stand that could be used at a farmer's market, or let your child go in an entirely different direction. If you use it as a farmer's stand, there's a wealth of opportunity to talk about seasons, produce, meat, running a small business, and trade.
If you can, observe what’s available at your local stand and how it differs from what’s on the shelves at your supermarket. If one isn't available, you can still talk to your child about growing seasons and climate zones. It's interesting to observe and discuss why beloved summer berries aren't as available in the fall months. Visit a plant nursery or local hardware store to look at fruit and vegetable plants. Read the plant labels and learn what each plant needs – the type of soil, sun exposure, and water requirements. See how plant structures differ from plant to plant.
Look at flowers and seeds and talk to your child about their role in a plant’s lifecycle. Dissect a seed. Look at all the parts of a flower – discuss what they do or have your child draw them. Read a book about bees and then discuss why their relationship with flowers is so important. Find out your child’s agriculture interests and mentally (or physically) dig in.
Take note of where you see farm stands in your community or notice their location in books you read or shows you watch. Some are part of larger weekend markets and some are isolated on a roadside. Ask your children where they would setup a stand in your community. Or maybe they'd like to map out a pretend community on a piece of paper and choose the location of the market. They may want to be the farmer, manage the stand, or be the customer. See if they would they like to set-up their own stand, and if so where? And what do they want to specialize in producing?
Talk about the role transportation (trucks, planes, ships, etc.) plays in the food delivery. How much more energy is needed to get blueberries from South America vs. locally? Compare locally sourced packaging to other packaging for food that is transported from further away. How is it different or the same? Why do they think that is? What other benefits can your child identify as an attribute of locally sourced foods?
One child may see a farmer's stand, another may see a bakery, a toy store or a bookstore. Let your child put on display whatever sparks his or her interests and imagination.