Have you been to your local farmers’ market lately? The popularity of farmers’ market have increased so much in the last few years that many communities offer both summer and winter markets. No matter the season, they provide an opportunity to spend time with your family, a yummy way to fill your tummy and a rich multi-sensorial experience, which can increase your child’s speech-language engagement.
As you walk through the vendors’ stalls, think about the farmers’ market through your five senses and use this as a springboard to engage your child’s language.
For even more fun, print these fun Farmers’ Market Five Senses Bingo cards and take them to your farmers’ market. Have your child mark off the cards as the different sights, sounds, tastes, touches, and smells are experienced.
Vendors often have samples of their latest fruits, peas, jams, breads or pastries. Your child’s vocabulary can increase with adjectives like soft, crunchy, crisp, sweet, or delicious to describe the samples.
Notice the colors, shapes, sizes of the fruit, vegetables, and wares for sale. Have you ever seen rainbow Swiss chard, orange tomatoes, purple carrots, blue eggs, or white asparagus? Compare the sizes of tomatoes – some are tiny, some are huge, some are round, while others are pear-shaped.
Farmers’ markets foster socialization. You might run in to neighbors, colleagues or teachers. You may hear a musician playing a tune or singing a song. Encourage your children to greet the vendors and ask about their produce.
Your farmers market may have kettle corn, barbeque sandwiches, wood-fired pizza, or coffee for sale. Take in delicious smells of the food, fruits, flowers, and vegetables and ask your child to describe them. Do you smell anything warm, sweet, spicy or smoky? What do the flowers smell like? Do all of the flowers have a smell? Do some smells make you sneeze?
You can touch new and familiar produce and goods at the farmers’ market. Do the vegetables feel smooth or do they feel bumpy? Is the squash firm or is it soft? Does the dill feel frilly? What does the sheep’s wool feel like?
A visit to the farmers’ market is more than just an adventure to pick up produce and chat with the farmers. It’s a language-rich opportunity to introduce your child to new sights, sounds, tastes, touches, and smells. Think about a visit to the farmers’ market to pick up some fresh produce, chat with the farmers and increase your child’s language skills.
Jann Fujimoto, MS CCC-SLP is a speech-language pathologist and owner of SpeechWorks LLC, which helps children become confident and communicators. SpeechWorks has offices in downtown Oconomowoc and downtown Waukesha.