Have you ever seen the delight in a child’s face when she digs up a potato? How about watching a young one picking a pea off of the vine and tasting it’s sweetness? These children are learning to appreciate what grows from the ground.
But, what about those who aren’t as fortunate? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to help these children who have no idea where their food comes from?
If bringing a bunch of children to your farm doesn’t sound too appealing, then agritourism might not be for you. But, starting an agritourism enterprise would be a great way to bring in extra income and enlighten others at the same time. Children are a great way to test the waters for this opportunity.
If you enjoy gardening, theme gardens could be a great possibility for children to explore as a field trip. Depending on the age, there are many themes you could focus on. Here are some examples:
Historical themes – colonial era gardens, Biblical garden, Shakespeare garden, Indian garden
Senses themes – edible garden, aromatic garden, plants that make noise garden
Unusual gardens – garden of giants, moonlight garden, flower maze garden,
Herbal themes – tea garden, medicinal garden, culinary herbs
Along with these garden ideas, you must make the field trip teachable. Kids love visual and hands-on learning.
Teach them the history of the plants in the historical garden and make a craft suited for that time period.
Grow an edible garden with small fruits and veggies, such as radishes, cherry tomatoes, candy corn and small lemon cucumbers. Let them enjoy the wonderful tastes right out of the garden.
Grow giant pumpkins, walking stick cabbages and large runner beans along with other extremely large vegetables. Make a large tepee of different types of large gourds hanging down where the children can crawl into.
Show them how to make tea from mint leaves or an herbal bath bag to take home and try.
Make a small birdhouse out of sunflower seeds, paint a snake gourd or make a walking stick from the cabbage stem.
A great book that I get a lot of information from is Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots: Gardening Together with Children by Sharon Lovejoy. She gives you many themed ideas with a garden layout and activities to go along with it. I highly recommend it!
Stop by local daycares and schools and show them pictures of your farm and what you have that they might be interested in. It’s always a good idea to make brochures, explaining what the children will be doing and learning. You can also place these in libraries as well.
Do research on other field trips in your area. What would you have that they don’t? Usually, themed gardens are not very common, where as big orchards are. You can learn from orchards and what they do, then make yours totally unique.
A general fee of $5.00 is reasonable for starters. If you get a couple of classes of 30 each, that’s $300 a day. Not bad, plus you are planting the love of gardening in a child’s heart!
Sound like fun?
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