Farm days out for kids

Farm days out for kids

Say hello to baby bunnies and see fluffy yellow chicks for real, with our guide to having a fun family day out on the farm this spring.


As the days brighten it’s good to get out, but when it’s still too chilly for an afternoon at the park, a farm visit is the perfect way to keep busy in the fresh air. Time to get your wellies on!

Local farms to visit
From rural community gardens to city farms, you can search for places local to you by going to www.farmgarden.org.uk and using the interactive map of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

Making the most of your family day out
Before going, try to find out more about the farm you’re going to so you can tell your children what to expect. Little ones, especially, like to be prepared for what they’re going to do, even if it’s just a casual chat at bedtime the night before.
• Ask your kids which animals they like most and what they want to see, and do a bit of research online before you go. What breeds of sheep might you see? Are there any birds you want to spot?
• Find out if there are regular feeding sessions you can watch or even take part in and plan to arrive in time for these.
• Map out your day – some farms are pretty big and little legs might only manage as small part of it, so prioritise the areas you think will appeal most to your children. Check too if there is a café or picnic area for lunch.

Having fun and learning
Many places present daily shows or have displays to show visitors how their animals live and the part they play in the farm’s life, and it’s definitely worth stopping for.
• If your children want to, let them handle the animals they are allowed to touch. Handling live animals will boost their confidence around living creatures and encourage empathy for them.
• Show your children that you respect the rules of the farm and point out signs that warn you to be careful of machinery. Remind them that some animals shouldn’t be petted.
• Be ready to answer questions if your children make the link between cute baby lambs and their Sunday lunch! Every family is different – you might be vegetarians or hearty meat eaters – but try to make your answers honest without making them alarming. Explain how all kinds of food comes from farms: milk for drinking and cheese making, and eggs for cooking, as well as animals that are especially reared for meat.

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Farm safety and care
On farm visits, some children get so excited you have to stop them climbing into the pigsty! However, the reality of noisy, smelly animals is that they’re much bigger in real life than they are in picture books. This can be a bit scary for some children. You know your child better than anyone else, so trust your instincts and you’ll have a great day.
• All around farms there are sinks with soap and water for hand washing. Every time your child feeds or touches any animals make sure they stop to wash their hands. Bear in mind that gates and fences get dirty, too.
• If you are not sure whether you can touch certain animals, it’s best to keep little hands safely in pockets or ask a farm worker.
• Although touching and feeding some of the animals can be great fun, some children prefer to keep their distance. Don’t make a joke about their worries, but reassure them that it’s fine to just look and not touch.

Take your memories home
Talking through your day out is a brilliant way to encourage children to understand their experiences and it helps them organise their thoughts.
• Sing ‘Old Macdonald’ on the way home and get the children to recall all the animals they’ve seen.
• Let them draw pictures or write a diary of their day, cutting out photos or looking up interesting facts about farms and animals.
• Next time you’re at the supermarket see if your children can spot foods that have come from farms. Take a close look at the labels – there might even be produce from farms near you.

Open Farm Sunday
Every year in early summer, working farms all over the country throw their gates open to the public, to encourage a better understanding of what modern farms do. This is a great way for children to explore the variety of farms we have in the UK – fruit growers, dairy farmers, pig breeders and so on. For 2015, Open Farm Sunday is on June 7. Plan ahead by checking out www.farmsunday.org.

For more spring adventures, see our article Five family days out.

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Please send me a trail. Always interested mire with a trail. !! Try before you go out and buy x

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