Can you smell the funnel cakes and taste the cotton candy in the afternoon air? If so, I’m guessing the fair is in town! Before taking your preschoolers on a class trip to ride the ponies and pet the teacup pigs, teach them about farm animals with these fun activity ideas from The Complete Daily Curriculum for Early Childhood, Revised.
1. Dress like a farmer in overalls or jeans, an old shirt, boots, and a straw hat.
2. Teach the children to sing, Old MacDonald Had a Farm. Remind the children that women can be farmers, too. You may want to change the words in the song to reflect a female farmer.
3. Find out what the children know about farms. Ask the children:
- Who has been to a farm?
- What are the names of animals that live on a farm?
- Who cares for the animals?
- Why do farmers have animals on the farm?
- What does each animal produce? (chicken–eggs, cows–milk, pigs–meat, and so on)
4. Read one of these stories to the class during story time.
- Barnyard Banter by Denise Fleming
- Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown
- Old MacDonald Had a Farm illustrated by Pam Adams
- Animals at the Farm/Animales de la granja by Gladys Rosa-Mendoza
- Spot Goes to the Farm by Eric Hill
- Sounds on the Farm by Kari Jenson Gold
5. Have the class move like farm animals: walk like a chicken, gallop like a pony, hop like a bunny, sway like a pig, and waddle like a duck.
6. Provide buttermilk in a shallow bowl, drawing paper, and colored chalk. Encourage the children to dip the chalk into the buttermilk and draw pictures. Ask, What happens to the chalk? Where does buttermilk come from?
7. Have the children build barns and silos using blocks. Provide plastic farm animals for the children to use.
8. Provide plastic farm and wild animals and invite the children to sort the animals by where the animals live. If plastic animals are unavailable, use magazine pictures or patterns (available at www.gryphonhouse.com/completedailycurriculum/downloads).
9. Make a recording of animal noises. Make animal picture cards of each animal as well. Invite the children to match the animal on the card to the sound on the recording that is made by that animal.
10. Ask the children to reflect on what they have learned about farm animals that day.
What did they learn about farm animals?
Do some animals on the farm also live at the zoo?
Note: The Infant/Toddler Photo Activity Library by Pam Schiller and Richele Bartkowiak has a number of excellent large photo cards of farm animals.