We recently held our inaugural Home Education Children’s Market for our local community and it was a great success! The children planned and set up a diverse range of stalls and sold to each other over the course of a few hours. We held our market in a local park that had toilets, shelters with tables and a playground. This gave us options for all-weather as well as providing the children a place to play once the markets concluded. The children used small tables that they brought from home, or a rug spread on the ground, to set up their stall.
If you’re thinking of organizing an event for your local home ed community, here are some tips that worked for us:
- Pick a venue that has enough space for your group and is an all-weather option (eg. shade for hot weather and shelter for rain);
- Pick a date that works for the core organisers so you can be sure there will be a least a handful of stalls! Also consider earlier in the week so that the weekend can be used for preparation;
- Decide the maximum price limit per item (we decided on a maximum of $1 per item sold; some children priced their products lower than $1);
- Create a flyer with the details and some examples of the types of stalls so people new to the idea have a starting point, including the instructions on what to;
- Use email, messenger or your local social media platform to circulate the info;
- An optional idea is to have a list of stalls (a growing list, as each child decides what they will do) so that there aren’t too many replicas;
- As the organizer, be there on time to guide the setting up and help with any queries.
On our flyer, we included the following information for parents:
- Bring your own table or rug to set up your stall;
- Parents encouraged to help where needed and run their child’s stall if their child wants to go ‘shop’;
- Take home all rubbish and clean the area before going home.
The children all enjoyed the autonomy of running their own stall, as well as the responsibility of pricing products, taking money and providing change when needed. With the small price tag, children were also able to shop each other’s stalls independently.
Children’s markets enable holistic learning that touches on a wide range of topics and learning areas, as well as requiring the use of a variety of skills. To just name a few of the possibilities for learning:
- Planning, estimating, calculating, sourcing the product to be sold
- Making the product (this could obviously lend itself to requiring a huge range of different skills and knowledges)
- Determining pricing in a marketplace
- Comparing and contrasting products and prices
- Understanding currency and value
- Interpersonal skills and relationships
- Basic maths – addition, subtraction, division in relation to number of products, counting change, working out profit
- Design and aesthetics of stalls
- Wide ranging communication skills – written and verbal
- Literacy – communicating ideas, reading signs, writing receipts
Even though children running their own markets affords endless possibilities for learning, the main focus should be on the importance of children enjoying themselves and participating in a community. Our next market is coming up in December and as an added element, we have invited children’s significant relative or friend to attend and shop the markets.