I love making spontaneous trips to the Farmers’ Markets. You never know what you may find or who you may meet! This go around, we made a day out of it. What was any normal visit to the Farmers’ Market turned out to be a fun learning adventure thanks to the Children’s Book Fair and Family Fun Day organized by Realize Bradenton. The annual community event had several hands-on activities and learning resources as well as local authors sharing their works.
Aside from the already large array of small shops to browse, there were some really great stops for my toddlers to enjoy. From crafting to planting, there was something for every member of the family!
As we walked around, we could hear a story being read from the end of the street. There was also a tent set up for the kids to sit and follow along with the story. Walking and listening was a win-win, though, because there was always something for the boys to stay focused on, even when we were just strolling.
Speaking of stories, there were a handful of local authors discussing their own books and offering their time to talk to parents. It was a great way to help small businesses network and get their books out to all the kids in the area. Here are a few I really liked:
1. Sip, Pick and Pack by Polly W. Cheney
Polly was so friendly and willing to tell me all about her recently published children’s book, Sip, Pick and Pack. What started out as a poem is now a beautifully illustrated book, chock full of information about seed formation, pollination and even types different of bees. This is perfectly targeted for springtime and all there is to know about the amazing things that happen in this season! The book is written for children ages 5 to 11, but can also be a lovely picture book for younger ones. Cheney also mentioned a “mini” book in the works for toddlers! For more information, you can visit her site at www.sippickandpack.com.
2. Violet the Hugging Octopus by Shery Duquet
The other (and very appropriate for my self-care journey) book I was drawn to was Violet the Hugging Octopus written by Shery Duquet. This adorable book can liven anyone’s mood with its “messages of self-assurance and happiness.” The pictures are filled with bright and airy watercolors and each character is dazzling with a smile. This is an exemplary book for encouraging self-love. The author had lots of other goodies like necklaces, keuchains and packages made JUST for moms! There are even free activities that go along with the book that you can download directly from the author’s website, www.violetthehuggingoctopus.com. You will definitely want to have this one in our collection!
Throughout our day, we did some hands-on learning activities that kept the boys’ minds busy. The first was painting “vegetables” on an extra large canvas. Although their carrots and peas were more of an abstract painting, they really loved joining in on this group project.
After that, we jumped right into a Farmers’ Market scavenger hunt. The task was to locate several vendors and get their signatures. Once we obtained them, the boys each got to pick a prize from a treasure chest. Let’s just say, we went home with bubbles, chalk and two very happy boys!
Some other activities included making an observation journal, adding your own colored leaf to the “community” tree and even taking home your own plant.
This FREE family fun day at the Farmers’ Market was the perfect reason to get outside and explore the town with so many fellow members of the community (the book fair was a huge added bonus)! If you haven’t visited it yet, the Realize Bradenton Farmers’ Market is held on most Saturdays (October through May) from 9 AM to 2 PM. You can check out more of their events at https://www.facebook.com/RealizeBradenton/.