We had plans to pick 4 or 5 pails, as we didn't think the children's attention would last too long given our past experience. But there were so many ripe, juicy berries just waiting to be picked that it was just too easy. The berries would make a wonderful popping sound as they came off the plant! And we picked 6 pails in about one hour.
Our oldest daughter is a strawberry-picking lady. She filled almost 2 of our 6 buckets on her own. She kept on announcing how many she had picked...like when the bottom was covered, when it was about half full, and when it was getting really close to the top.
Our son preferred to eat them, and who could blame him, really. He figured he had filled one bucket and the rest were up for grabs. And Henry, the Very Berry Farm owner, did say we could eat as many as we wanted. What's a constantly hungry boy to do?
Our youngest daughter is well on her way to being just like her big brother, and her face was covered with sticky red juice in no time. But she learned to say "strawberry, please", so that counts for something. I'm pretty sure that if we would have let her, she would have been right in the berry patch with the rest of us. She would have been covered head to toe with berry juice.
I'm so proud of our children, and how they help on these projects and field trips that we go on. But it's likely not an accident that they are helpers. We talk about how when we all work together as a family, there's a lot more to enjoy. And they have been berry-picking with us for at least the last 4 seasons...when our oldest daughter was about as old as the youngest is now. They know what is expected of them, what to look for, what should stay behind. And they see our enthusiasm and I think it becomes a little contagious. And they like strawberry smoothies in the winter from our frozen stash, and trail mix with dried berries, and strawberry jam on their toast. They know where their food comes from. They've had a hand in gathering the ingredients and making it. They know that they have an important role in the food that hits our table.
They are important members of our family, and we so enjoy their company!