Agriculture for kids is more than just visiting a local farm for an afternoon. Even if your kids live in the midst of a large city, they can learn about and participate in lessons on agriculture.
City vs. Country
You may have read the story of the city mouse and the country mouse to your kids or recall it fondly from your own childhood. Each mouse leaves the comfort of his surroundings and ventures into the strange world of the other. Both encounter many lessons along the way, although they eventually return to their original homes. What can we learn from this childhood tale? No matter what world a child lives in, he or she needs exposure to other worlds, and this is especially true in regards to discovering agriculture for kids.
What is Agriculture?
When you think of agriculture, you may conjure up images of dairy cows, pig pens, chicken coops, and rows and rows of crops in a field. While of course these images are certainly the essence of farm life, and thus the reality of agriculture, there is more to this topic than just the basics of rural living. For many kids, the only real exposure they receive to agriculture is a one day field trip to a farm which is located in a rural area miles from where they live. They pet sheep and goats, pick a few eggs, and shuck a couple of ears of corn…if they are lucky. Just what is agriculture really all about? According to Wikipedia, agriculture is the production of goods through the growing of plants, animals and other life forms. Agriculture encompasses many areas. Farming and animal husbandry are two of the most well-known terms associated with this topic, but other areas such as aquaculture, which involves the raising of fish, and fuel production, such as methane, can also be considered part of agriculture. Today, certain crops are also grown to produce pharmaceuticals and even plastics. So, how can you bring agriculture for kids to life?
Basics of Agriculture for Kids
You might want to begin by introducing a little background to kids. In other words, show your kids how agriculture has evolved through history. A practical application is to point out how the Pilgrims first survived in their new world, but you can also explore other primitive agricultural methods. This is especially interesting if you are also studying a multicultural unit. While this is a great way to introduce the topic of agriculture, don't stop there!
- Field Trips-Pique kids' interest in agriculture with field trips to a variety of agricultural areas, such as a crop farm, fish farm, fuel production company, dairy farm, and more.
- Class Projects-Once you've visited some or all of these places, let kids put what they've learned to work. Have them create their gardens in the edge of your schoolyard or in small atriums in the classroom. Ask them to research and report on individual areas of interest in agriculture and present their findings to the class. These are great group kids science projects!
- Career Fairs-Older kids will benefit from attending a career fair that gives them specific information on agricultural careers, including training requirements, salary expectations, job outlooks, etc.
- Outside Assignments-Ask kids to continue their studies by doing outside projects, which could involve growing gardens or raising their own animals at home.
- 4-H Clubs-Consider starting a 4H Club in your area, if there isn't one already chartered.
Finally, check out the following sources regarding agriculture for kids. Your kids will benefit so much from the experiences they can learn through agriculture, and you might just learn a few things as well!