Article in the Guardian: WWOOFing with kids

Italian TractorFor those of you that may have missed it, we were contacted by the Guardian to do a Q & A about WWOOFing with kids. As you may know, we WWOOFed with our kids in both Italy and the US. Through the process we learned a great deal about farming, our family and about traveling with kids. Trial and error makes for a great education.

Check out the article to see some great tips on WWOOFing and traveling with your kids: http://www.theguardian.com/travel/2014/mar/11/volunteer-farm-family-experts-guide-wwoofing-with-kids

Some other things that we learned while WWOOFing with our children:

– REST: Kids need time to rest. Whether a day off with focus on just the kids at the farm or a few days of down time between your travel destinations, make some time to let the kids get some much needed rest and one on one time with your family. We did a lot of hiking and it was great to see them up for the challenge, but it was great to see them rest and enjoy a day at the beach or a picnic with us.

Stella and Jill's Keen hiking shoes

Stella and Jill’s Keen hiking shoes

– CHALLENGE: Don’t be afraid to push your kids. Obviously there is a balance, but they are up for the challenge and will surprise you. Encouraging your kids in difficult, challenging or unfamiliar circumstances births some exciting qualities in your children and helped us grow as parents as well.

– VOLUNTEERING: Giving is better than receiving. What a blessing to teach your kids at a young age to help others.

– IT STUCK: Many months after our time in Italy, things have stuck with our kids. The people we met, the challenges we faced, the jokes we had, and time together… it is all still very real to them, even at their young age. They are excited for our next adventure, which makes us really happy.

We’re excited to be planning our next trip back to Italy. We hope that you are having fun doing the same. Enjoy the article and let us know about your next family adventure.

The Most Amazing View from Cal' Bianchino

The Most Amazing View from Cal’ Bianchino

4 comments on “Article in the Guardian: WWOOFing with kids
  1. I enjoyed reading about your adventures. I was curious where you volunteered. I have two boys ages 8 and 10 who love animals, science, and making videos. I would love to Woof this summer. If you have any suggestions or if you would recommend the place you Woofed I would love to learn more. Thank you from Madagascar.

    • Zane, Thanks for the kind words. It has been an exciting few years now and our time WWOOFing was both challenging and rewarding. The best thing I can tell you is that you should pick some countries you would like to WWOOF in, get the membership for that country, and then start searching. You can search for things that you are interested in, as well as check certain perimeters that work for you, as in languages spoken, children welcome, length of stay, etc etc. Then start communicating well ahead of time. There are many farms out there that are excited to host families. Good luck with your search!

  2. Thank you so much for your inspiration and tips as we are at the beginning stages of planning a year+++? abroad with our children…it seems that Woofing more will help us travel longer as it will reduce costs a lot. I was curious if you Woofed most of the time on your trip, or did you find a need to take breaks between farms? Was working on the farms very taxing physically, making you feel exhausted, or were you able to sight see or even just go for hikes and explore when your work was done? Did farms typically want 4 hours a day of work, or more? Lastly, are there questions you’d recommend we ask of farms ahead of time to help us find the most family friendly experiences? Thank you so much for your help as this is a whole new world for us! Oh, we live in Lancaster, PA…and our parents are good friends with an Amish family who does organic farming (not as common as you would think.) Anyway, if you are ever coming this way, I’m sure we could introduce you…I read in one of your posts that you’d like to Woof on an Amish farm. They are not a registered Woof farm, but maybe you could work something out?

    • We are excited for you planning this time with your family. As to your questions……Yes WWOOFing is definitely a money saver! Some farms will offer different things in exchange for your work. One farm we stayed on for 2 months in Tuscany gave us a beautiful farm house apartment in exchange for work, instead of food. Our time there was most enjoyable, except we spent more money on our food than budgeted. It was a good trade off- but just unexpected. We took about one week in-between our farms as to recenter with each other and the kids. All farms vary, but about 4-6 hours of work was expected. As to the physical side of it- It was exhausting! BUT in a very good way. My husband and I lost some weight and gained a whole lot of muscle! As far as the family friendly farms, of course just let the host family know a head of time about the kids. Most host would let us know if there farm was good for kids or not. Thanks for the invite up that way. Will keep it in mind!

      Happy traveling!

      Jill

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