On Sunday I finally made it to the Turriff Show, which is the biggest 2-day agricultural show in Scotland. This was a wonderful event with lots of ideas, food for thought, and big machinery.


I find wandering around such events, gives me good inspiration and an opportunity to gather possible ideas and activities for children. Fertile ground for sowing seeds of possibility…


Shows are great places for rare breeds of all kinds of farm animals. Very often children may not know that there is such a diversity of species. Never have I seen such a huge number of well-groomed animals. The black Wensleydale above (it’s a recessive gene apparently) belongs to a local rare breeds farm, Dounies.


Aside from all the animals to look at and learn about, there was a children’s tent and I had to admire this tractor pit. A very tidy temporary construction. The “soil” is actually grit not soil.

Tractor pit

Scottish Natural Heritage had a beautiful outdoor space with lots of activities for children including face painting, examining pond life and finding out who was in the den below…


After a long morning of judging, the “industrial” marquee opened. In here is the baking, flower arranging and other activities. This tradition goes back many decades, if not centuries. It is one of the best things about any show. Like all aspects of a show, it relies upon people to submit entries.


There were lots of things for children to participate in. For example, here’s the scone bake-off for teenagers…


Animal photos can also be submitted. The standard was very high. When was the last time, your children had a photo exhibition? I rather like the idea of a photo competition around the theme of “outdoor learning and play” or “minibeasts” or “my favourite part of the school grounds.” I think this would be a lovely way of raising awareness with parents and visitors invited to view the photos.


The place I spent the most amount of time was around the fruit and vegetables. After all, there’s nothing like a few top tips for snack time presentation such as the winning plate of raspberries below…


Displays of vegetables were simply amazing. Look at the size of the vegetables in the photo below. It’s a good reminder to think about what we do with produce we harvest in school and pre-school gardens. Normally, I’ve tended to get children to harvest the crop for immediate use in snack.

Prize Vegetables

But having some available for displays, could have a lot of potential too. Not least, the children will really learn how to wash and scrub a vegetable well. I love the mathematical possibilities of this presentation of four varieties of potato.


There’s something rather fetching about the simplicity of ten pea pods laid on a plate. Choosing how vegetables should be presented for an exhibition could be fun. Do you follow the requirements of a show or should the children use their own ideas?


Looking at what was used to as the background material is fascinating. The potatoes were on a bed of sawdust. All the marigold are presented on green boxes. I’ve no idea why. But certainly it does ensure uniformity for the judging purposes.


A collection of seasonal berries is a great focal point and useful for discussions with children about harvested fruit.


Finally, I loved the simplicity of the vase of cut flowers. All the children’s entries were gathered from plants growing locally in gardens and beyond as demonstrated in the photo below which is quite a good representation of wildflowers growing in Aberdeenshire right now.


If you do live in or near a community that has an agricultural show or festival, then it is worth going along to find out more and see how you can encourage your children and families to participate. Saying that you don’t have to live in a community which has an agricultural show to have a school show. In September, harvest festivals are commonly celebrated in schools, so this is a good opportunity to think about how much a class and their parents would enjoy creating a show for others to come and visit.

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