My Big Helper has been a beekeeper for two years now, and she’s always learning new things. This past weekend, she learned how to run a festival booth at Ag Day at the Green Valley Book Fair.
Manning a booth at a festival was a huge learning experience for my eleven-year-old. She’s a social butterfly but shy when meeting new people, and because she requires think time, it’s sometimes difficult to be able to respond appropriately to off-the-cuff comments (she’s SO like me in this regard!)
When she chose to do this, I knew she had the beekeeping knowledge to make this work. I knew we could pull together enough supplies and hands-on materials to interest passersby. I wasn’t so sure that My Big Helper would be willing to speak openly to strangers for several hours straight.
She didn’t seem worried, and she worked really hard to prepare. We spent lots of time discussing plans for her booth and making lists of materials to pack. My Big Helper chose 20 pictures from her work with the bees to print as 8x10s and then wrote clear, extensive descriptions about what was happening in each one. She assembled both into a new, white binder and designed a cover in PicMonkey. She hoped that people would look at her pictures and study her captions, which would teach them a lot about bees.
My Big Helper designed a multiple choice, ten-question quiz that she could pass out. She also printed a coloring sheet and copied that on the back so that her handout could appeal both to little ones and older people.
The Book Fair advertised the various booths in advance with trivia related to each one, and My Big Helper shared about how it takes twelve honeybees to pollinate a single cucumber. With that fact floating around, she sliced cucumbers and passed them out to people passing her booth. This gave her a piece of information that she was ready to share with everyone who walked by, and after accepting a cuke, most people stuck around for more. My Big Helper flipped pages in her binder to illustrate information that she was sharing and helped kids try on her veil.
She spoke from people of all ages, from toddlers to the elderly. She answered all sorts of questions off the cuff and did a fabulous job at interacting. She helped several people who want to become beekeepers and answered questions with barely a break for hours.
By the time she was finished, her only complaint was that her “cheeks hurt” from smiling so much.
I think that a few things helped to make My Big Helper’s booth a success: having food to pass out enticed people to come over; having pictures and gear to touch and interact with kept people engaged; and having business cards and printables to take away kept information in their hands even after they left. My Big Helper’s enthusiasm and newfound ability to converse with all sorts of people was also a big bonues. That’s not to say there weren’t moments when it was obvious that she’s a kid, but this Mommy is super happy with how she handled herself that day.
As a homeschool teacher, I watched my student learn many things through this experience: she worked on her writing, public speaking, and beekeeping knowledge. She considered other points of view and had to be able to summarize information. She needed to put information in terms that non-beekeepers could understand.
Manning a booth might seem like an adult thing to do, but with proper supervision, kids can do big things. This Big Helper manned her first real festival booth this weekend – and it couldn’t have been a better experience.
What big thing do your kids want to try?
For more information about kids doing big things, check out these resources: