Written by contributor Nicole Bennett of Gidget Goes Home.

During summer, most of us want to spend as much time as possible outside. We spend time playing, traveling, learning and just hanging out with family and friends all out of doors, enjoying the weather and the sunshine.

I love it when getting outside with my family also provides an opportunity for learning for my preschool-age daughter. Farm visits are a fabulous way to learn, have fun and enjoy the outdoors as a family!

Just like the summer bounty that comes from the fields, farms come in all varieties. Here are a few different farm experiences our family has had…

Photo by mrs. bennettar

U-Pick Berry Farm

Berry farms are the epitome of summer. You show up, pick berries to your heart’s content, pay for them, and take ’em home to eat and preserve. The prices are often very reasonable for the berries and it’s fun to wander the rows of berries, too.

U-Pick farms can be found for all kinds of berries. I took the kids to a blueberry farm near us, and the farm even does weekly outdoor movie nights during the picking season. My daughter loved getting to pick berries, learning to only pick the blue ones, leaving the greens and reds to continue to ripen.

Photo by mrs. bennettar

Dairy Farm

Last summer, while vacationing in the midwest, we stopped off at a dairy farm in Indiana. It was a dairy-product-lover’s dream– fresh milk, cheese, ice cream and more. Yum!

In addition, there was a vegetable garden, a birthing barn, and and an educational barn to walk through and learn about the milking process. In the birthing barn we were actually there at the right time to witness the birth of a calf – it was amazing! They also offered bus tours to go out where the cows are actually milked.

Photo by mrs. bennettar

CSA (Produce) Farm

One of the biggest benefits of being a CSA member is knowing exactly where our produce comes from, and the only thing better than that is seeing the fields first-hand. Our farm has an annual tour and farm visit where members walk the fields, pick strawberries, meet the farmer and enjoy a delicious lunch prepared from freshly grown food. Many CSAs even offer opportunities to work on the farm!

Lessons Amidst Fun

It’s always fun for kids to see animals and tractors, but what’s more, by visiting farms, they are given a deeper understanding and appreciation for where our food comes from. Many kids nowadays only know of farms from books and movies– food simply comes from the grocery store.

I love that my daughter knows exactly where her food comes from, that milk comes from cows (and gets made into cheese and ice cream!) and that fruits and vegetables come from the ground or a tree after a farmer has worked very hard to grow them.

Visiting the farm also gives both children and adults a great visual of good stewardship of the earth and its resources. We can learn from farmers how they aim to best take care of their land and reap the best harvest possible or raise the healthiest animals they can.

I look forward to many more farm visits in our family’s future… and lots of fresh berries and ice cream, too.

What kinds of farms have you and your family visited? What unique things have you learned or experienced on the farm?