When those long-awaited summer days finally arrive, one of my favorite kid-friendly excursions is a visit to a local farmers market. This weekend, we checked out the Tosa Farmers Market (open Saturdays from 8 AM - 12 PM, June 3 - Oct. 14) for the first time. The market's main attraction is fresh seasonal produce, of course, but visitors can also find yummy cheeses, homemade jams, sausages and other specialty items. Plus, the food and drink vendors include local coffee roasters, which is always a plus in my book!
We first stopped by the market's Info Booth to sign up for the Power of Produce (PoP) Club, a free program offered to kids ages 5-12. Kids receive $2 in tokens to spend on market fruits, veggies and herbs—basically anything that is growing. The goal of the program is to encourage kids to think more deeply about where their food comes from and gain awareness of how local vendors make an impact.
My daughters were excited to go shopping and check out all that the market had to offer! We grabbed some beautiful lettuce and tomatoes for a salad, and my oldest daughter tried to negotiate with the vendor for a $1 tomato. Then we tried some samples and got hooked on some locally made strawberry rhubarb jam, which we took home as well. Each girl also became the proud owner of a new bell pepper plant.
It was very cool to watch my kids ask questions and interact with some of the growers and vendors at the market. We even learned a couple of new facts: yellow tomatoes are less acidic than red (maybe that's why I prefer them?), and bell peppers need a lot of heat to grow well.
We capped off our market adventure with some popsicles for the kids and iced coffee for me. I hope we can visit on another Saturday this summer and check out some of the kids' bonus programs, which include Dirt Science, Honey Making, and Chicken-Keeping! I'm wondering if the latter would rekindle fond memories of the chickens my family had growing up...but that's best saved for another post :)
Last weekend, our family traveled to New York City to visit my brother and take in some of the touristy highlights. No trip to NYC would be complete without a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but we knew it might be a challenge to keep our daughters (six and eight years old) focused and interested enough to really appreciate the exhibits.
Our kids have really gotten into Harry Potter lately, so we were tickled pink to learn about a tour called "Griffins, Goblets and Gold" at the Met. Offered by a company called e.t.c., the tour gives guests a unique look at the museum by highlighting specific exhibits that feature Harry Potter-esque objects and themes. The tour includes some creative activities and wizarding swag as well.
With the temperature outside hovering around ninety degrees, we were all excited to step inside the museum's cool, airy entrance hall, where we met Evan Levy, our tour guide and e.t.c.'s founder. Pointing out how the space might remind us of the Great Hall at the fictional wizarding school Hogwarts, Evan handed out notebooks, pencils and instructions for a special scavenger hunt. Throughout our tour, she explained, we'd be hunting for magical objects, known as Horcruxes in the Harry Potter series.
The kids listened with rapt attention; they were totally up for the challenge.
For the next two hours, we explored the museum through the fascinating lens of Harry's magical world. Not only did both the adults and kids have a great time, it was a wonderful way to introduce our daughters to the Met. Without even realizing it, they were observing, identifying and learning about key parts of our global history and culture. Visiting the museum on our own definitely would not have been as exciting or fun!
Evan mentioned that she will be putting together a Beauty and the Beast tour in the near future, which I imagine will be awesome as well.
This whole experience made me think about how different objects and landmarks in our own community could be reminiscent of favorite books, movies and characters. For example, there is an owl at Schlitz Audubon Nature Center who looks a lot like Harry Potter's beloved Hedwig, and secluded parts of Lake Michigan might be compared to that creepy Great Lake near Hogwarts where Harry and his classmates compete in a wizarding tournament.
Looking ahead to the dog days of summer when my kids will inevitably complain, "I'm bored," I'm definitely keeping this concept in mind. Maybe we'll be super ambitious and create a scavenger hunt of our own!
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I'm Gina, mom to two girls, writer, and seasoned coffee drinker.