Farmer’s markets are exciting places, and neighborhoods are lucky to have them! Farmer’s markets are places where people come together to sell their produce, cheese, meat, eggs, bread, snacks, and other goods. Farmer’s markets are a great place to celebrate community, as you might often see the same people each week, while the produce changes seasonally. If you live near a farmer’s market, it is a great place to take children to learn about community, food, and more! Even if you don’t have access to a farmer’s market, you can still use the idea of a farmer’s market to engage in rich pretend play that invites children to count money, weigh produce, write price signs, and engage in friendly conversation with neighbors. Check out our guides in the ‘Learning Through Play’ section below to see how you can facilitate these skills!
Set up Time: 20 minutes
Add a few baskets of produce–it can be real or toy produce.
Invite children to help you make signs for the produce–or invite them to sit with you while you write the signs and sound out the words. For example, you can say “Here we have some potatoes so that starts with the p-p-potatoes. I wonder how much they should be? Do you have any ideas?” If children say something silly like $100, that’s okay! This is their way of showing that they know some big number concepts!
Make a farmer’s market sign, add a cash register, some pretend money (as easy as strips of paper with the number 1 written on them), or some fake credit cards (we used old transit cards).
This is very open ended and you can add materials as you or the children think of them!
- Various vegetables
- Construction paper
- Shopping materials (cash register, play money, baskets, bags, wrapping materials)
Learning Through Play
Cognitive: Pretend Play – Invite children to help you brainstorm about what else you might need to run your market, or what else you would like to sell. Make this a permanent learning area where you change out the materials or add more as you realize what you need. For example, children may decide that they want to sell bread or cakes–how can you make that? Check out our Salt Dough Fruits and Vegetables and our Ice Cream Parlor Puffy Paint Menu activities for ideas about how to extend the creation of your own pretend play center.
Social-Emotional: Independence – Playing farmer’s market is a great way to invite children to feel empowered and independent. Children love when adults act like they are the ones who need help, so that they can demonstrate their independence. Invite children to help you with small tasks you might ask at the farmer’s market: “Can you help me put this in a bag?” “Can you help me count out my money?” “Can you help me pick which one is the best for my favorite recipe?”
School Readiness: Numeral Recognition – Pretend shopping is a great way to incorporate numeral recognition. Make simple signs for $1, $2, or $3 and invite children to count out the corresponding number of pretend money (as easy as slips of paper). For young children who are learning to identify numbers, you can point and say “Oh this sign says the number 2, I’m going to count out one dollar, two dollars.”
See this activity in the Rayz Kidz app along with the other fun pretend play activities. Rayz Kidz is your trusted source for play-based activities featuring over 100 themes and 500+ hands-on activities and clear descriptions of the beautiful learning that is happening through play.