3 Reasons a Trip to the Farm Benefits Children
Fall is the perfect time to visit the farm!
With the cooler weather hitting us and the mosquitos gone, it’s a great time to enjoy the countryside. Taking a trip to a farm is one of those activities that don’t need planning or a large budget. Children love the farm, no matter their ages. Nothing quite captivates a child more than being able to run freely and pet animals.
There are so many reasons children benefit from being on a farm (apart from their farm play mat coming to life!). Here are a few:
These days children are restricted a lot more than they used to be since we have to ensure they are safe. This can sometimes lower a child's confidence because they don’t have the space to explore. However, going to the farm is quite the opposite. Farms generally have a large secure area where children can play and freely explore. Sometimes that includes bumping into animals or simply just enjoying the outdoors.
The farm is a “hands-on” activity that encourages parents to engage with their children and their new environment. Alongside the support of their parent(s), this subtle change in environment can do wonders to a child’s confidence.
Some children come to a farm slightly afraid of animals but leave feeling empowered when they do pet one. For others, it might be a climbing activity or a maze they tackle. As they overcome their fears with the support of their parents and siblings, positive memories are born! This sense of security and accomplishment ultimately builds their self-confidence.
Farms are great for all ages, probably because of the animals. Farm animals are a source of inspiration for young children who are building vocabulary and learning speech. While parents may make animal noises for children to mimic, “mooooo-ing” will come to life at the farm! Children learn sounds and practice the names of animals.
“‘When we teach children farm animal words and noises, we’re not only teaching them about the many sounds we make in the English language, but also about our culture and the world,’ says Adiaha I. I. A. Franklin, M.D., a developmental-behavioral pediatrician at Texas Children’s Hospital.” (Scholastic.com)
The farm's fresh (and potentially smelly air) is fantastic for our mental health and wellness. The sounds of ducks and the open fields inspire us all. Connecting with nature is a sensory experience. At the farm, children have the opportunity to feel, hear, and smell things that are different from their day-to-day lives. Their minds blossom to the new experiences around them, and as a result, their creativity also blooms.
Observing animals in real life allows children to take in all the details. Children, by nature, notice details that we no longer see. Everything for a child is “new,” even if they’ve been there before. It’s not just a nose and mouth, but each animal's different nose and mouth.
In nature, children learn to connect thoughts, experiences, and newfound discoveries into their play.
“ ’Research shows that children experience profound and diverse benefits through regular contact with nature,’ says Nigel Doar, The Wildlife Trusts’ director of strategy.” (Discover Wild Life)
A Lasting Experience – Farm Play Mat
With every experience, the trip to the farm will come to an end. Most children return home exploding with ideas and play. They start making sounds, walking on all fours, and even trying to eat grass! One parent had her children asking for salad so she could be like a goat.
Dough Parlor is all about positive play experiences. As a parent-owned operation, we wanted our children’s farm experience to last as long as possible. So, we use our farm play mats just for that.
The outline of a horse allows children to express their discoveries and fill in the details of a horse. Or our farm play mat can be used to re-enact their entire day at the farm. (link to farm box)
A scoop of dough is all it takes for their imagination to come to life. Try out our horse, sheep, and duck cookie cutters - let the fun continue!
Psst… We also have a Llama play mat in case you bumped into one on your farm trip (they are so cute!).
Do you see any difference in your children returning from the farm? Tell us about it in the comments!