It's hard bringing a real, live cow into schools. So dairy people - in this case, Debbie Kubacki - have built these nifty pretend cows so that kids can get an idea of what milking one is like.
For this event, dairy farmers Heather Wing, Evelyn Minnis, and I went to the Health and Fitness Day at Hilton Elementary School in Brighton. We taught them all about dairy - the health aspect, about dairy products, the journey from the cow to the store, and how to milk!
Alex Schnabelrauch, who works for MMPA, organized it all. We had dairy cootie catchers, cow fact sewing, free milk and Gogurts, gift bags ... one kid said it was the best day of his life. (To be fair, he has only lived six years.)
The entire school had a chance to milk the cow and ask questions. It was so much fun talking to them, as few of them had ever milked a cow or even met a farmer.
|An udder made of a water tank and calf bottle tips|
|I told them to pretend they were machines or it was the olden days, since modern farmers don't milk by hand.|
|She has a map of Michigan painted into her spots too. She was wildly popular.|
Questions I was asked:
- "Are all farmers fat?"
He explained that farmers are always fat in cartoons. That was good, because he asked that right after I explained that I was a farmer. This also made me laugh because a friend recently asked me, "Are all male farmers good looking?"
- "Aren't their gutters really in the middle of their stomachs?"
He meant udders - kids commonly make that switch - and he thought that because in some cartoon drawings the udders are in the center of the cow.
- "How does the milk get to be chocolate?"
The boy was staring at his drink and just really wanted to understand how it all worked. You could almost see the gears turning in his head.
- "Do other mammals give milk? Like ... people?"
Yes. Ask your parents.