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Attendees of the event crossing the pond bridge that is part of the loop around the farm.

A Day of Family Fun at LaPorte Farms

A patient wait will award your children with a relaxing pony ride in the riding ring!

A patient wait will award your children with a relaxing pony ride in the riding ring!

By Darren Cole, Indian River County Youth Development Agent

Looking for a quick and entertaining family outing to stave off the boredom of another mundane ordinary weekend? Well look no further than LaPorte Farms! This local kid friendly haven is a great place for the entire family to visit. The farm holds events throughout the year that support a vast array of youth organizations such as our local 4-H clubs. So what better event than “Back to School Family Fun Day” could there be to kick off the start of our youths’ educational year! We took to the road and set up a booth to spread some 4-H love and uproot some (small) inner green thumbs along the way.

A quick walk around the farm and you’ll realize there’s a lot to explore for such a small area. The size of the farm is perfect for families so don’t prepare yourself for an excursion across acres of farmland. We made camp in front of a housing for some surprisingly quiet pheasants and got ready for the doors to open! Part of the fun at “Back to School Family Fun Day” is that the first DOZEN or so families to arrive receive tickets to claim free backpacks for their kids later in the day when the event is over. This encourages parents to walk around the farm with their children to gather

UF/ IFAS Extension 4H booth, making radish seed necklaces and handing out school supplies.

UF/ IFAS Extension 4H booth, making radish seed necklaces and handing out school supplies.

school supplies and information from each booth. Our booth offered free pencils and fun styles of erasers for kids to pick up, as well as the opportunity to make a radish seed necklace. With our focus on the kids learning the process themselves; we instructed each participant to soak a provided cotton ball in a bowl of water at the table, then place a few radish seeds in the middle of it, stuff it in a small 4-H baggie at which point we would string yarn through the baggies converting them into radish seed necklaces. With some luck, the seeds will sprout by the end of the day and they could plant them at home. By the end of the day it was hard to find a kid not proudly wearing their radish seed creation around their necks. The process of making it also allowed us to have 1 on 1 conversations with parents interested in 4-H clubs for their kids.

This event is a great excuse to get out of the house with the kids and acquire some much-needed fresh air, all while learning more about the goals of local businesses and organizations. For more information check out their website at http://www.laportefarms.com/ or check out their calendar of events at https://www.laportefarms.com/calendar. Questions about 4-H? Interested in getting yourself or a youth involved? Visit the UF/ IFAS Extension Indian River County 4-H Youth Development page or email Indian River Counties 4-H Youth Development Agent, Darren Cole, at DC32@UFL.EDU.