Is the idea of going to a farm stay with the family idealistic? Do city kids really get anything out of the experience? Well, we took our family to a farm stay last month to check it out and here’s what we observed:
Nature Right On Your Doorstep
Waking up bright and early on the farm, the first thing we noticed was that nature was right on our doorstep. The sounds and smells of the farm were very apparent, in a good way. Roosters crowing, crisp fresh morning air, the lack of traffic noise, the smell of animals wafting around us.. Because it was so different from our normal mornings, it was filled with a sense of excitement and anticipation.
Sense Of Space & Freedom
The kids took the opportunity after breakfast to freely roam around and familiarise themselves with the farm a little. This is something we don’t let them do at home because of where we live in the city and because of their age and in fact it took a bit for them to be comfortable to wander out of our sight. But even over the few days we were there, we saw a growth in their independence. They were asked to walk down the 1km driveway and check the letterbox for any mail as it only gets delivered once a week. This was novel.
Disconnect & Connect
The wi-fi access on the farm was sketchy which meant very little screen time for any of us. This was an unforeseen bonus. A chance to really connect with each other.
The Farm Is 7 Days A Week
By tagging along with the Farmer for the majority of the morning doing different chores, the kids saw first hand what is involved in running and maintaining the farm. Animals need to be fed & watered, dogs need to be walked, eggs need to be collected, cows need to be milked etc. AND it is constant. Every day these things NEED to happen. Farmers work really hard!
Paddock to Plate
Our kids really connected the dots on where their food comes from and had an all new appreciation for what goes into getting the product to the shops. (I thought we may have turned them vegetarian at one point 😊)
Awareness of Weather
Together with learning more about where their food comes from, they now have an appreciation of the role the weather plays in all of this and how unpredictable it is. The farm we visited had been affected by the current drought and the Farmer was able to walk us through some of the flow on affects of that.
Risk Taking & Confidence Building
After lunch we all went for a quad bike ride together. This involved learning and risk taking – and the kids thrived on it. They loved being able to ride around next to us on their own quads. It was then on to a tractor ride, a ride in the big truck and then a ride on the farm horse. What a thrill.
A Chance To Get Dirty
This was probably the biggest highlight for our youngest….who loved the chance to muck about on the farm, jump in mud, get dirty and it didn’t matter.
After dinner we retired back to our cottage and took the opportunity to just sit and look at the night sky – so many more STARS! Absolutely beautiful, mesmorising and silent. Oh we loved how quiet it was.
The Wonder Of New Life
We woke to the news that piglets had been born during the night and the kids could come down to have a look! Wow, the wonder of new life. It’s funny, I felt instinctively protective of the mother pig. It was raw but beautiful and you really need to be ready for ‘those’ questions.
In summary, we loved our farm stay and would thoroughly recommend it to families. It was the simple things that made it different from home, enjoyable and memorable. Fresh air, silence, a chance to make our own fun, checking the mailbox (down the 1km driveway), trying new things, talking with the animals and walking in gumboots through puddles…
The other things the kids had to do was listen to other adults. Listen to the Farmers, respect their property, respect their animals, learn how to use their equipment safely and learn about their life on the farm.
If you get a chance to go, GO!