Yesterday I went to pick up a few things at Viermarken, a little farm close to our house. It’s may be 5 minutes cycling, but it was a crispy sunny day, so we (my crew of 3 and me) were not in a hurry and went for a walk on the farm, to look at chicken and vegetable fields in winter.
Just a little shopping trip and a bit of a fresh air, but when I look back I see many learning moments that were packed in there.
Practicing reading signs; looking at different sorts of cabbages that still grow in the winter, partly empty herb and flower garden (lifecycle of plants, annuals and perennials); talking about empty rows with grass that clearly was planted there after the harvest, and big heaps compost, fresh and old (fertilising); noticing a scarecrow ball and nets over berries (pest protection) or stones and ropes used to shape tree brunches.
We all played with making photos – exploring different perspectives and their effects for the older one, finding something interesting to shoot and fine motor skills wearing thick gloves for the middle one, and practicing turn taking for 2,5 years old.
There was also a dose of social-emotional development. Chatting with the seller in the farm shop (communication norms, relationship building) and learning when it’s ok to eat inside a shop (cultural practices and exceptions from a rule). Learning to recognise and accept own fears and building self-confidence dealing with a big dog who was very interested to see the kids.
There was probably also a couple of implicit lessons – seeing people with all kinds of problems that work on the farm or going there (and not to the supermarket) to get chicken for the soup (instead of using ready-made bouillon cubes). And there could be more learning – practicing with money in the shop or figuring out what this strange row of Christmas trees is doing in the middle of the farm…
Learning doesn’t necessary take a lot of time. Mainly it takes a mindset of recognising learning opportunities everywhere and going for them. And a bit of practice – of observing, improvising and not making a duty out of play 🙂