How to Teach a City Kid that Milk Doesn’t Come from the Supermarket. Our trip to Harvest Festival in Szreniawa.

My kids are incredibly street smart when it comes to life in the city. They give travel advice to strangers regarding trams they need to take to different places in Poznań, they know which supermarkets offer their favourite candy or cereal and where to stand on a tram stop to be placed right in front of the door when the tram arrives and get a free seat.

Yet they have no more knowledge of countryside and nature than Kim Kardashian has of world problems. When I asked Michał (3 back then) where milk comes from, he happily answered “from Netto”. And where is milk before it arrives to Netto? “I don’t know Mummy, maybe in other Netto”.  They  both also used to think that strawberries grow on the trees. Sigh.

I decided to give my boys an opportunity to learn first-hand and started to search for a kid-friendly place close to the city where they could learn about life in the countryside, farm animals and growing food. The National Museum of Agriculture and Food Industry of Szreniawa is a perfect choice, since it offers many attractions for families with younger and older children, it’s inexpensive and easy to access both by car and by public transport.

How to get to the Museum of Agriculture in Szreniawa:

  • By train: there are 9 trains from Poznań Main Railway Station to Szreniawa per day. The journey lasts  about 20 minutes.
  • By bus 703 that departs from Poznań Górczyn bus station. Time of journey: about 25 minutes. You can use PEKA transport card to get to Szreniawa.
  • By car: national road 5.

Prices:

Adult 12 PLN

Family Ticket (2 adults + 2 children) 30 PLN

Children (7-18): 7 PLN

Children under 7: free

We first visited the museum in April this year and the boys loved old agricultural machines, historical trains and most of all baby animals! Spring is a good time of the year to visit the museum since that’s when baby animals are born and you can see cute little rabbits, lambs, piglets and calves. Cute pictures guaranteed!

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With magnolia trees blooming, the museum is a beautiful place to visit in April.
Hi friend, are you hungry?
Hey goat, are you hungry?
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This goat also loves posing for pictures!
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Mummy, can we take these little piggies home?
This cat is not officially a museum animal, but lovely Staff ladies always feed him.
This friendly cat is not officially a museum animal; he comes and goes, but lovely staff ladies always feed him.
We love to fly!
We love to fly!

 

Since that trip was a huge hit with my kids, we decided to visit the museum again at the end of August for the Harvest Festival (pol. dożynki), a traditional Polish rural holiday organized to celebrate the reaping of harvest and finishing work in the fields. I believe that learning about local traditions is very important for building children’s identity and I’m thrilled to see that my boys love the same quirky celebrations I loved as a kid, such as Fat Thursday or Saint Martin Croissants day.

In this post you can see pictures from both our trips since during the Harvest Festival the boys were so busy with activities that they didn’t want to have a photo session with all the museum animals.

Those who have read ther articles on my blog know that English is one of our home languages; thus, before the trip we reviewed English vocabulary for farm animals.

On some of our trips we just speak English; on the contrary, in Szreniawa I decided to speak English to discuss farm animals and food, but stick to Polish when I was explaining all the Polish field activities and vocabulary related to harvest.

The bus to Szreniawa was full of families with children and groups of  elegant elderly people who all went to celebrate harvest.

As soon as we got out the bus my city kids amused all the fellow passengers as they started to argue whether this lovely decoration features a cow or a pig.

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Didn’t Super Simple Songs teach you even the basics, guys?

As we arrived to the museum, my  kids could try the following activities:

  • “milking” the cow. Andrés was suspicious why the cow gave water instead of milk and suggested it could give carrot juice instead.
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Mum, it’s strange, why there’s no milk? Maybe someone could pour carrot juice inside this cow…so that she would at least give something yummy!

 

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  • Threshing cereal. This job was done by hand in Poland until late XVIII, when the thrashing machine was invented. My respect goes to all the ladies that did that worked long days treshing cereal by hand, had 5 or 6 kids on average and no disposable nappies, microwaves or washing machines! Hat’s off to you!
Given that the flail is twice Michal's size, my boy is doing a good job!
Given that the flail is twice Michal’s size, my boy is doing a good job!

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There was also a pavilion for kids where they could ride tractor farm pedals and play with small farm toys.

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But no rural tradition could win against an inflatable slide and a trampoline! The boys had a blast and they didn’t want to leave.

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They eventually went off to see the animals:

 

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In this pavillon they could learn about vet’s work.
This pig doesn't really feel like going to doctor.
This pig doesn’t really feel like going to doctor.
They could also learn about farm animals' eating habits.
They could also learn about farm animals’ eating habits.

Did you know that people from Poznań are considered extremely thrifty, even scrooge? My kids fit in this category as they always manage to find free goods in all kinds of circumstances. Therefore, it came as no surprise, when suddenly Michał shouted:

Mum! There’s free yummy juice over there!

“Free jummy juice” resulted to be freshly pressed juice by Sogo. This company produces juice from fruit in their own orchard, with no added sugar or preservatives.

While I’m not an eco mum and I find all the sugar and junk food related parenting wars ridiculous, I have to admit this juice was really yummy and much better than supermarket juice (even than 100% organic juice that I could taste at posh eco kid parties). The kids could taste strawberry and apple juice, carrot juice, cherry and apple juice and even betroot juice! Apart from the last one which they obviously found disgusting, the kids fell in love with Sogo juice and didn’t want to leave the promotion stand.

Andres & SOGO Juice
Andres & SOGO Juice

Finally I bought them a 3l package of strawberry and apple juice that cost me 19 PLN. Not that bad when comparing with juice that’s sold in Netto or Carrefour!

We finished the day our trip at the museum playground since the kids were not interested in watching folklore shows. It was sad for me to see parents who dragged their kids away from bouncy castles or the playground because as I could hear  “you’re silly, we came here all the way from Poznan to watch to the shows” or “you haven’t seen any other animals yet, you can’t stand next to these smelly rabbits for an hour”.

Relax & story time
Relax & story time

While I want to provide my kids with reach cultural and educational opportunities, I realise that learning and travelling has to be slow-paced and child-centered so that the little ones could enjoy it. What’s the point of dragging a hysterical toddler all over Science Museum if all he wants to do is to play with bricks at the playground? Why to oblige a kid to read a “boring” book about world painters if he’s obsessed with Three Little Bears? When we were on the playground, we took time to relax, lie on the grass, read a book and talk about the amazing summer that had passed and new adventures that were to come. It was a great day to finish a great summer!IMG-20150911-WA0030

 

 

 

 

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