There is something special about fields filled with warm strawberries in late spring. My children and I have made strawberry picking a yearly tradition, and one of our favorite farms is also a beautiful location for a great party.
Throwing a party in a natural setting makes for easy decor and minimal fuss, and it celebrates the joys that nature brings to our children’s lives. A berry picking farm can offer an activity that children will love, an abundance of beauty to enjoy, and a tasty snack to boot. Here are just a few ways to create a special berry picking party for your little one.
:: A berry picking farm is an ideal place to hold a party with minimal décor. Almost every farm has a hayride, where you can gather the children and enjoy a picnic style lunch. You can also use a set of wooden picnic tables, or a gathering of old quilts in the middle of the field.
:: Have your guests bring a basket to collect their berries in, or gather a set of thrifted baskets for them. Provide torn fabric and clothing to use to decorate the rim of the baskets, which is both a fun activity, as well as a great way to identify each child’s baskets.
:: Use thrifted pie plates and enamel cups for simple lunch decor. This lends a rustic feel to the party, while using non-breakable material that is safe and fun for children to eat on.
:: A recycled cloth banner, in your chosen color tones, can be hung from tree to tree or across your hayride to give your space a special feel.
:: Use old quilts and picnic blankets for the children, both for lunch, and as a gathering spot at the end of each picking row.
While berry picking is a fun activity for children, it can also be a hot one. Using thrifted or reused spray bottles, fill each one with a combination of water, mint and lavender (you can use fresh, or a few drops each of the essential oils). Gather a few of these bottles in galvanized tin buckets at the end of each picking row, and encourage children to use them as often as needed.
With all those strawberries, there is bound to be a need for a bit of jam. Attach a recipe to an empty mason jar as a parting gift, and head home to make some jam of your own.
Strawberry Orange Jam
Sterilized glass mason jars and tops
Canning pot (see resources section)
Canning tongs. These are essential for getting hot jars out of the pot
A funnel for putting the jam into the jars.
2 lbs. strawberries that have been hulled and quartered
4 cups of vanilla sugar (recipe follows)
3 Tbsp. orange juice
The zest of one orange
Gently mash your berries. In a heavy bottomed pan combine the berries, sugar and orange juice. Stir over low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Turn the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil and cook until the mixture reaches 220 degrees.
Transfer the jam to your jars, wipe the rims clean and enjoy.
Makes 5 cups
Excerpted from the book Naturally Fun Parties for Kids
Heather Fontenot, co-editor and publisher of Rhythm of The Home, lives with her family on the Front Range of Northern Colorado. As a writer, doula, and yoga teacher, Heather has a passion for natural and creative living, and spends as much of her time outdoors as possible. She loves to knit, sew, garden, photograph, read and cook for her three sweet little ones. She writes the blog Shivaya Naturals, where she chronicles her life as a mother, artist, and gluten-free baker. Heather’s first book, Naturally Fun Parties for Kids will be released in March of 2012.