Next month we start on the farm. I really love this topic, because there’s SO MUCH to do with it. I’ve also covered this unit with both toddlers and preschoolers, so I have lots of ideas for both sets.
The Younger Set (Toddlers-Twos)
- A great way to teach toddlers farm animals is to create a match game (we did ours on the wall). Keep it simple, five animals at the most, so toddlers don’t get overwhelmed. Use large, almost 8×10 pictures and make sure the animal is front and center. Real pictures are better than cartoon versions because it helps make a better connection.
- Make a garden out of construction paper! We taped ours onto a table for round the clock learning, but a poster board (brown is better) would work well too. Use a number of vegetables (corn, beans, pumpkins, potatoes, tomatoes, lettuce) and have a variety of each. Toddlers can identify colors, count veggies, and name them as well. Ask toddlers what they’d need for various meals (soup, salad, pizza, etc.). Velcro the vegetables so Toddlers can line them up and practice organizing.
- Create animals! Sheep = cotton balls, cows = black felt, ducks = yellow feathers, and pigs =pink circles with some brown paint splashed on!
- Use green triangles, red circles, and brown squares to have toddlers create an apple tree.
- Paint with corn husks, hay, or plastic animals.
- Sensory ideas include hay, dirt/soil, and washing animals.
- Cut yellow construction paper into strips and have toddlers glue them on paper to make hay bales.
- Have toddlers take some of the veggies made for the ‘garden’ and sort them into labeled baskets.
- Have a vegetable tasting! Use as many raw veggies as you can — tomatoes, carrots, cauliflower, etc. Make a graph of what vegetables the toddlers liked.
- A few songs for toddlers that relate to the farm/farm animals – ‘Old MacDonald’, ‘Farmer and the Dell’, ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’, ‘Black Sheep, Black Sheep’, and ‘This Little Piggy’.
The Older Set (Preschoolers)
- Create a large letter of the first letter of animals that relate to the farm – pig, cow, duck, and sheep. Have preschoolers use same materials as toddlers, just on the letter.
- Give preschoolers a set number of pigs. Have them glue them down, and then give them brown paint to make muddy pigs! For older preschoolers, have them number the pigs; for younger preschoolers, have them write the total number of pigs on the paper.
- Paint with corn husks, dried corncobs, hay, toy tractors, or plastic animals.
- Have preschoolers plan and draw out their own garden — what would they plant?
- Have preschoolers make butter (whipping cream shaken in a jar). Preschoolers can individually make butter or take turns shaking a bigger jar. Then taste test!
- Plant seeds and grow herbs.
- Get a big cardboard box and have the preschoolers help turn it into a barn.
- Fill the sensory bin with hay, and then hide the plastic animals in the hay. Have a hunt posted by the bin so preschoolers know what / how many to look for.
- Have preschoolers match “mama” farm animals with their babies. Again, use larger, real life pictures that focus on the animal. Teach preschoolers the correct names for baby animals.
Books about the Farm
- Color Farm (PK/Todds)
- Spot Goes to the Farm by Eric Hill (Todds)
- Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown (Todds)
- Click Clack Moo by Doreen Cronin (PK)
- Punk Farm by Jarrett J. Krosoczka (PK)
- Busy Barnyard by John Schindel (Todds)