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Pumpkin Patch Fun with the Pre-Schoolers!

Pumpkin Patch Fun with the Pre-Schoolers!
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Top Tips For Visiting The Pumpkin Patch With Your Pre-schooler.

Written by Anne Hilton

Visiting the local pumpkin patch is a thrilling fall highlight for kids, and can be turned into a great adventure with the right parental input. It’s a wonderful way to spend time together outdoors, explore a new environment, and learn a little about where our food comes from. Thinking of taking your pre-schooler for a day out to the pumpkin patch this Halloween? Here are a few hints and tips for making it as fun and stress-free as possible:

Lay Out the Rules

Children, particularly pre-schoolers respond best to clear, simple instruction. So as soon as you arrive at your day out destination, clearly explain the rules of the day to them: no going out of my sight, no fighting with each other, and be careful not to trip over the pumpkins are all great examples. As with any pre-schooler interaction, be prepared for lots of questions! Once the rules are outlined and the inevitable questions are out of the way, have them repeat the rules back to you before you let them run free to choose their pumpkin. That way you can be sure they have heard you and understand what’s expected from them.

Choose a Quiet Time to Visit

High crowd levels, large numbers of older children, and the added social pressure of being surrounded by too many adults can all make some pre-schoolers feel anxious and uncomfortable. Anxiety is common in people of all ages, but is particularly common in small children, who might express that discomfort by having a meltdown: something most parents will avoid as much as possible! So if you have pre-schoolers, you might wish to visit your local pumpkin patch on a weekday whilst the older children are at school. If that isn’t possible then choose another quiet time to visit: weekend early mornings are often less busy than mid-afternoon, for example, but if you’re not sure then a quick call to your friendly local farmer will let you know the right visit time for you.

Do Your Research

Every day’s a school day, and a trip to your local pumpkin patch is a great way to teach your kids about pumpkins, how food is grown, and farming in general. However, most of us don’t have a host of fun pumpkin facts at the top of our heads, so do some research before you go, so you can educate, amaze, and impress your pre-schoolers during your trip. Did you know, for example, that pumpkins are fruits rather than vegetables that the tradition of carving a pumpkin for Halloween actually originated in Ireland, and that the largest pumpkin ever grown weighed 1,140 pounds.

Bring a Change of Clothes

Most pumpkin patches can be dirty and muddy. Your pre-schoolers are likely to roll in hay bales, jump in muddy puddles, and generally have a wonderful time making as much mess as possible. By bringing a change of clothes you can quickly stop any meltdowns when your pre-schooler realises they are wet, dirty, and want to wear something new. Checking the weather forecast before you head out will also help you to pack weather-appropriate clothing for your little one, and ensure you’re both as warm and comfortable as possible for the duration of your trip.                                      

Pick a Winner

The main aim of a trip to your local pumpkin patch is to pick a pumpkin! If you’re children have a big pumpkin in mind then you might want to consider bringing a wagon to make it easier to carry around and transport back to your car. Pre-schoolers generally have very low levels of quality control, so if you’re helping them to pick a pumpkin that will last until Halloween, look for one that has a solidly attached stem, because a green stem is a sign of a healthy and freshly harvested pumpkin. soft spots, mold, wrinkles or open cuts are all signs of a pumpkin that has been damaged and is therefore likely to spoil early; if you notice any of these signs on your pre-schoolers pick then encourage them to put it back and choose another one. 

Finally, don't forget to bring your camera and have fun! Celebrate the fun of fall, take your time, and enjoy your time together as a family. 

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