One of my favorite summertime actives is picking berries. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries they are all so yummy! Picking berries is a great way to enjoy the outdoors. We love to get out there and pick berries as a family. There are so many U Pick berry farms around us, it is easy to find one that has fruit. We have picked berries for the last 2 years. With a newborn, with toddlers and (finally) children that are actually helpful with the berry picking process. These are my tips on how to have a happy, fun, successful berry picking adventure.
1. Choose a good day!
You do not want the day you go pick berries to be the hottest day of the year. Pick a nice, cool day. If there are no cool days, go in the early morning hours, before the sun is high in the sky making you hot.
2. Choose a good time of day.
Right after breakfast or after nap are, in my opinion, the best times to go when you have small children. We have picked berries first thing in the morning as well as in the afternoon sun. I much preferred the morning time, but sometimes with different nap schedules that is difficult. Find a time that works best for you, but more importantly, what works best for your kiddos.
3. Use sunscreen and hats!
Sunscreen in a must. Even if you are out on a cloudy day. You will be outside for an hour or two. Keep that baby skin covered up with hats, sun shirts or sunscreen. Do not forget about yourself! I did one time, and all I can say is OUCH!
4. Bring a stroller or wagon!
You NEED a stroller or wagon. It is helpful to carry the kiddos to the berry field, but it is a necessity when you are carrying berries out of the berry field. The stroller or wagon also gives you a safe place to set your bucket of berries. Within the safety of the stroller or wagon, little hands can not undo all your hard work.
5. Bring water, snacks and extra clothes.
You and your kiddos will get hungry and thirsty. Some U Pick farms have water stations, some do not. Bring at least one water bottle to share, and some light snacks. Your kiddos can and will snack on the berries. Have some yourself as well! It is the best part of berry picking! Fresh, ripe berries right off the plant!
6. Dress accordingly.
I make sure my kiddos are wearing light weight pants. It does not matter the temperature, pants are a must. There are bees, thorns and much everywhere. Pants protect my kiddos legs and allow them to explore. I also make sure they are wearing sturdy shoes or boots. No sandals. There may be mud, rocks, bees, nature all around! I also bring an extra change of clothes for the car ride home. My kiddos tend to get dirty. It is nice to have a fresh, clean pair of clothes for them to change into. Know the clothing they wear to go berry picking will most likely get dirty and be stained. Dress them, and yourself, in clothing you do not mind a little dirt and staining on.
7. Wear babies.
When taking a small infant, it is best to wear them. I love that I can breastfeed while baby wearing and picking berries. Make sure baby is protected from the sun at all times. When I went with an infant I made sure he was covered but I forgot about my breast when I was nursing. I had a nice burn on my exposed skin. When I took my toddler I wore her on my back when we needed to walk to and from the berry patch as well as when she became sleepy. I did get some berry residue on my back, thank you tiny human.
8. If you can, go as a family.
I have gone by myself with my kids and with my husband. Going as a family, with both parents, makes it so much easier to pick more berries. One of us could chase a child, handle potty breaks and snacks, while the other one was picking berries. We came home with over 30 pounds of berries when we both went as opposed to the 7 pounds I picked while on my own.
9. Give toddlers and babies their own bucket.
This keeps your bucket safe from little hands. If they have their own bucket they are less likely to steal yours, dump it out, accidentally tip it over, or fall into it smooshing all your hard work. My 4 year old was very helpful, she picked a decent amount! Do not expect any picking from those under the age of 4.
10. Know when to leave.
I know when my kids are done. Know when yours are too. Leave while they are happy, before meltdowns happen. This makes it more enjoyable for everyone and helps kids want to go again!
Finally, HAVE FUN! Berry picking is so much fun! My kiddos love being able to eat all the berries they can fit in their tummy. I love going home with all the berries they can’t fit in their tummy!