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When my kids were smaller, we picked strawberries every year. It was an event we looked forward too every spring. Our favorite pesticide-free strawberry farm was about 45 minutes away, so we made a day of it. We would spend the morning picking pounds of strawberries, eat a picnic lunch, and make strawberry treats after nap time.
This tradition stopped when we moved to Washington 3 years ago. There are strawberry farms, but the season is incredibly short. Besides, we had a big beautiful yard that was perfect for gardening. We grew our own sweet little strawberries and the kids would snack on them fresh from the garden. While we enjoyed growing strawberries, I felt like something was missing. Our tradition had been interrupted.
One of the first things I did once we arrived in North Carolina was search for a new strawberry farm. I could not wait to resurrect one of my favorite spring traditions! We were so excited that we were at the farm before we even finished unpacking. In no time at all we had two buckets full of the most perfect berries I had ever seen.
Our strawberry picking tradition looks a little different now that the kids are older. They no longer need me to show them how to select the ripest berries. They don’t want to crawl into my lap and read strawberry story after strawberry story. That is okay though. Traditions evolve as children grow and families change. The same children that used to pass out in the car with strawberry stained faces on the way home are now the best kitchen helpers.
What to Do After Picking Strawberries
Read Strawberry Books
Books are a wonderful way to enrich the experience after strawberry picking. Children can relate to characters that are excited to go to a strawberry festival, make strawberry jam, or search through leaves for the perfect strawberry. It is an easy way to sneak in a little education too. Short nonfiction books teach children about what they are seeing in the strawberry patch.
I always figured that I was going to read to my little ones anyway, so I might as well tie it into our daily activities.
Focused activities can help extend the learning after an outing such as strawberry picking.
Exploring a strawberry patch is a great way to learn about the life cycle of a strawberry plant. This free printable shows the stages of growth for a strawberry. This is a great activity to do with young children before going to pick strawberries. They will be able to identify all of the stages at the farm.
Planting a strawberry plant is so easy a toddler can help, but even my tweens had fun helping in our garden. There is something about growing their own plant that kids just love. It was always a favorite activity when I was teaching public school.
I wish this playdough recipe was around when my kids were younger and still in the playdough stage! Although . . . they do love slime, so maybe they would like playing with this playdough too. This playdough is scented with strawberry jello, so it is still safe and nontoxic.
My kids had a blast with this experiment. Amazingly, it only required items that we already had around the house, so this was the perfect science experiment to do while we still get settled in to our new home.
Eat Strawberry Snacks
Farm fresh strawberries are so amazingly delicious. Grocery store berries just can’t compete! I like to buy as many berries as we can carry so we can prepare lots of strawberry snacks. We bought 10 lbs at the strawberry patch so far this year, but I’m sure we will be back a few more times. When we had a longer drive, and could only go once season, it was not unusual for me to buy 30-40 lbs of berries at once.
Fresh with whipped cream
This is usually the first thing we do with our berries. It is quick and easy, pretty healthy, and tastes delicious.
I am allergic to gluten, but thankfully there are tons of baked goods recipes using almond flour these days. Muffins are a great way to get kids into the kitchen. The recipes are always easy enough that kids can help. Muffins are great for breakfast or even a snack. I love this recipe because it is sweetened with just berries and honey.
Strawberry ice cream
Warm summer days call for homemade ice cream. I keep the ice cream freezer bowl from my electric ice cream maker in the freeze so we are always ready to whip up a fresh batch. Ice cream does take a bit of planning. It always seems to taste better the second day. There are many recipes available online, but my favorite is the basic vanilla ice cream recipe from Everyday Cooking. My kids just drop in sliced strawberries as the ice cream is mixing.
We haven’t made it yet this year, but homemade jam always tests better than store bought. I’m always trying to find easy ways to swap honey for sugar, and I think this recipe will work perfectly. It just uses fresh strawberries, lemons, and honey. You can’t get much simpler than that! UPS just delivered my freezer safe jam jars so I need to get busy and make a new batch of jam!
We made this gluten free strawberry pie the other night and my entire family loved it. The crust is a simple almond flour crust. The filling is a great mix of cooked and raw strawberries. The strawberries are naturally sweet, so it doesn’t take much honey to make the pie. We found 3 tablespoons to be the perfect amount for us. This recipe uses grassfed gelatin to naturally thicken the filling. What a fantastic way to get a little extra gelatin in your diet!
What do you do with your kids after strawberry picking?
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