With the weather warming up, it’s much easier to get out and about first thing on a weekend morning. Having recently visited the West End Markets; admired the monstrous bubbles by the ‘Bubble Man’ and the fresh produce on offer, it struck me that there are opportunities to learn language in all sorts of environments. The Markets are a great example of this. Of course, if you’re not able to get out and about to a Market at the moment, you could think to set up a Market at home. Try these activities with your kids:

Activity 1: Social Scripts for Buying Things

Photo credit: Catalin Petolea/iStock/360/Getty Images

In order to participate in daily social interactions, children need opportunity to practice and a clear idea of what to say. One opportunity you can provide is learning how to purchase something. The Markets are a great way to rehearse this as the stallholders are generally very friendly and patient! Before you leave the house, teach your child the typical script for purchasing something.  It might be along the lines of:

  • Customer: I’d like to buy this watermelon please.  How much is it?

  • Seller: That’ll be $5 dollars.

  • Customer: Ok!

  • Seller: Thank you!

  • Customer: You’re welcome

Once your child is confident, throw in extra things that a stallholder might say, like “Do you want any tomatoes to go with that?” or “How old are you?” to prepare them for breaks in the script.  When you arrive at the Market, have your child pick out one item to purchase and help them through the script to buy it.

Activity 2: Build Market Vocabulary

There are an enormous number of different words that you can practice with your child while at the Markets.  First of all, as you visit each stall, label all of the foods and items for sale.  Then try using descriptive words to talk about how the foods look, smell, taste, feel, etc.  Encourage them to think of how they might describe the items using all of their senses (e.g., The apple is red and round. It smells fresh. It tastes sweet and feels crunchy and hard in my mouth).

Activity 3: Scavenger Hunt!

Send your child on a scavenger hunt (with you by her side of course!) through the Farmer’s Market!  Give your child a list of things to find based on various descriptors.  For example, write “something red” or “something that costs $5”.  When your child finds it, they can take a picture of the item, draw a picture of it, or write the word.  If your child struggles with this, try just using the names of things, like “find an apple”.

I enjoy going to the Farmer’s Market and it’s a great way to get your kids out of the house to experience something new.  Let us know if you enjoyed these farmer’s market activities and if you don’t have a Farmer’s Market near you, go online and show your child pictures of some so they know what they’re like.