I realize my toddler days are over, but I had three of them. And there is nothing more disappointing than watching your dream of an industrious morning picking fruit in an orchard with your kid get shot to hell. It’s really a recipe for disaster if you ask me. You’re outside, in the elements. Bugs, dirt, and sun. Then there’s all this fresh fruit to eat and step on. Oh sure, picking fruit does have the following benefits:
1. It teaches kids about hard work.
After one hour of blueberry picking, your kids might be hot, tired, and sweaty. Scratch might and replace with MOST DEFINITELY WILL ACT LIKE THEY ARE DYING FROM HEAT EXHAUSTION. On the way home, take the opportunity to explain to them about how fruit ends up at the grocery store. Laborers have to get up before sunrise and work 8-10 hours a day in the blazing sun, picking fruit off trees, bushes, and plants. It will give them appreciation for the amount of work farmers and laborers have to do to keep the grocery store stocked with fruit. Or it won’t and you’ll be talking to yourself, trying to remember why you thought working for your own food was a good idea.
2. It helps picky eaters to try new foods.
Kids are more likely to taste food if they are involved in the process of picking or preparing it. If your child doesn’t like raspberries, he or she might be more apt to pop one in the mouth when no one is looking. Kids have a way of refusing food when they know parents really want them to like it. Now be warned — if you go any kind of berry picking, the toddler that used to turn up his nose at them will now eat at such a furious rate, you’ll have to hoist him up on the scale at checkout.
3. It provides opportunities to learn new recipes and freezing techniques.
Picking your own apples or pears guarantees that you will have more than you can eat in a
week year. It’s a great opportunity to try new recipes together as a family….and then get so sick of the recipes you never want to see pear pie again? Many healthy desserts can be made with fruit and kids are more likely to try it because it’s labeled as a “sweet”. Canning, freezing, and preparing fresh fruit for the winter can be a fun family experience of bonding. Or, you might all die because you didn’t boil those cute mason jars enough. But when you have peaches to drizzle on top of vanilla ice cream in January, you will not only enjoy the food, but the memory of picking it in the carefree summer.
4. You meet new people.
It never fails. People (at the blueberry patch especially), love to chit-chat. You can learn all sorts of interesting trivia about the fruit you are picking, the people in the town, or events in the news. Elderly people especially frequent pick-your-own spots, and the connections can be poignant as someone from the older generation passes on a new tip to find the perfect berry. If you have a toddler who likes to talk, stick her next to the oldest person you can find. It’ll either make their day, or you’ll be kicked out within minutes, sparing you hefty bill at the end.
So is there any fruit worth picking with a toddler?
I say yes. See scientific chart below. You heard it here first.
Do you agree or not? Tell me why in the comments.