Original Article -https://patch.com/california/marinadelrey/what-can-fall-pumpkin-patch-visit-teach-marina-del-rey-kids
Throughout the pandemic, people all over the country sank deeper and deeper into their screens, often because they had no other choice. Especially in bigger cities and suburbs, people can feel more disconnected from the natural world than ever before.
Luckily, a simple trip to pumpkin patches and fields around Marina del Rey in search of the best jack-o’-lantern- or pie-worthy pumpkin can be not only fun and wholesome but also stimulating and educational. For parents eager to teach their children about how food is grown, pumpkins can be great teachers.
Some studies have shown that a 4-year-old child will ask up to 300 questions a day. That number might quadruple at a nearby pumpkin patch, where children will see an eclectic array of fruits, vegetables, animals and plants, maybe for the first time.
“Why is that pumpkin so huge and the other one is so small?”
“Why are they such different shapes?”
“Why is that pumpkin white, and why is that pumpkin blue?”
“How do you grow a pumpkin?”
“Does the pumpkin cost more than our house?”
“And over there — what is THAT?”
Even if parents may not know all the answers, knowledgeable farm staff will be on hand to answer all the child’s questions. And because kids are surrounded by beautiful nature and not a desk and a whiteboard, they’ll likely be excited to learn, without any of the negative associations they might hold with the classroom. What’s more, many farms offer small tours, classes and fun activities designed for children.
“Giving children the freedom to roam and pick their own pumpkins gives them a sense of independence and pride,” Wing Farms, an organic pumpkin patch in Ann Arbor, Michigan, wrote on its website. “This also can provide a teaching opportunity about pumpkins, gourds and other fruits and vegetables that grow on vines. Children will also ask questions about the animals, farm equipment, plants and more.”
A mother named Christy has turned a pumpkin patch visit into an entire educational unit for her young children. After getting some pumpkins for her nearby patch, Christy then reads a children’s book about pumpkins to her kids. She asks them to observe the pumpkins they picked out, and then describe and draw them in a nature journal. The next day, she reads, “From Seed to Pumpkin,” an illustrated book explaining how pumpkins grow. Afterward, the children guess how many seeds will be in the pumpkin, and then they carve the top off a pumpkin and count. When everything is counted, the family roasts the seeds and eats them.
From just a single trip, the kids worked on their skills in math, reading, writing and science, and got to try a new and healthy food. Here’s a detailed description of Christy’s pumpkin lesson.
To help your kids connect to the land and have fun doing it, check out one of your local pumpkin patches nearby, and ask if they offer any workshops or tours.
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