On the Farm
Many farms offer festivals or family events during harvest season or throughout the year, if your family is planning on attending such an event, or if your children are interested in farm animals or tractors etc., or if your child’s class is going on a field trip to a farm try this theme day.
Print out the Family Theme Day Planner and decide which activities you’d like to do and in what order.
I couldn’t think of any modern songs to go with this theme. Please email us with any ideas.
JOURNALING QUESTION PROMPT:
Write out one or more of the following questions in the family notebook or on a piece of paper to glue in your family scrapbook: What is a farm? What animals can be found on a farm? What is your favourite farm animal? What do farmers grow on farms? Have you ever been to farm/ what did you see? Would you like to go to a farm/why? What are the different types of farms?
Choose the level of your child:
¨ Toddler – discuss the answer(s) out loud first and have your child draw a picture of the answer
¨ Preschooler/Kindergartener – discuss the answer(s) out loud first and write the answer down for him/her leaving one word for him/her to write out himself/herself with your help. You could also encourage him/her to draw a picture as well.
¨ Early Grade School – have your child either write out the answer himself/herself (encourage phonetic spelling) without your help, or offer to help with spelling each word out loud one word at a time.
¨ Grade School – have your child write a sentence or two on his/her own and then read over and discuss the response. (You decide whether to correct the spelling or not)
¨ Older Child – have your child write a longer response (paragraph).
¨ As A Challenge – instead of a question ask your older child to write a story about being on a farm or about a farm animal.
Raid your child’s bookshelves to find any books on or about farm animals or with a farm setting.
Go to the library with your child to find some farm books.
Go to the library on your own to find books about farms from both fiction and nonfiction to have already on hand for your theme day. Many libraries allow you to go online and search for titles based on subject (search for “Farms” under “Children’s books”). Reserve them if you can to save time.
Try to find some of these Farm picture books:
· The Rusty, Trusty Tractor, written by Joy Cowley and illustrated by Olivier Dunrea, Boyds Mills press, 1999 – Granpappy proves that his old tractor is strong enough to last another haying season.
· Tremendous Tractors, Tony Mitton and Ant Parker, Kingfisher, 2003 – The rhyming text in this book with animal characters in various bright tractors shows the readers the different types and purposes of tractors.
· Wake Up, Big Barn, by Suzanne Tanner Chitwood, Scholastic Inc., 2002 – Simple text showing different sounds and sights on a farm accompany the wonderfully unique illustrations made from torn magazines.
· What a wonderful Day To be a Cow, by Carolyn Lesser and illustrated by Melissa Bay Mathis, Alfred A. Knopf, 1995 – This picture book follows life on a farm throughout a year from January to December by focusing on different animals.
Try to find some of these non-fiction/learning titles:
· 700 Kids on Grandpa’s Farm, by Ann Morris and photographs by Ken Heyman, Dutton Children’s Books, 1994 – With simple yet descriptive text and photographs this book looks at life on a goat dairy farm.
· Fantastic Farm Machines, by Cris Peterson and photographs by David R. Lundquist, Boyds Mill press, 2006 – Each page focuses on a different farm machine like tractors, irrigation pivots, combines and skid steers.
· Farm Tractors, by Kristin L. Nelson, Lerner Publications company, 2003 – Easy to read text and photographs describe how tractors work and their different jobs.
· In The Barn, by Bobbie Kalman, Crabtree Publishing Company, 1997 – Part of the Historic communities series this book uses both photographs and illustrations plus lots of factual text to examine farm life for the settles of North America.
· My First Book About Farms, by Kama Einhorn and illustrated by Christopher MOroney, Random House, 2006 – Sesame Street characters Grover and Elmo teach about different aspects of farms with many coloured photographs.
For some farm animal rhymes try this title:
· Cock-a-doodle-doo! Barnyard Hullabaloo, by Giles Andreae and illustrated by David Wojtowycz, Tiger Tales, 1999 - Many farm animals have their own verses in this brightly illustrated book.
Materials: Coloured paper, farm animal and barn stickers, markers or crayons.
· Step 1: Give your child the stickers and paper and have him/her either make a scene or a collage with them.
· Step 2 (Optional): See if your child wants to embellish the picture with markers or crayons by drawing a setting for the farm animals.
COTTON SHEEP PICTURE:
Materials: Black sheet of paper, white paper, green paper, black marker, glue stick, child-safe scissors, cotton balls, white glue.
· Step 1: On the white paper help your child draw a large oval for the sheep’s body, a circle for the head, two smaller ovals for ears, and four rectangles for legs.
· Step 2: Help your child cut the various shapes out of the white paper.
· Step 3: Have your child glue the pieces on the black paper with the glue stick to form the shape of a sheep.
· Step 4: Have your child draw a black nose and two black eyes on the circle face.
· Step 5: Help your child pull apart the cotton balls to make smaller pieces.
· Step 6: Help your child apply the white glue on the sheep’s body and then to attach the pieces of cotton balls to the sheep picture. Don’t forget to add a fluffy tail.
· Step 7: Cut a strip of green paper the length of the bottom of the black paper.
· Step 8: Help your child make grass by cutting part way down along the green paper.
· Step 9: have your child apply the glue stick to the back of the green strip of paper and press it on the bottom of the picture as grass for the sheep to eat. If you want you can bend some of the pieces to look like grass.
· Step 10: Allow the white glue to dry before displaying the picture.
PAPER PLATE FARM ANIMAL MASK:
Materials: paper plates, child-safe scissors, crayons and makers, coloured paper, yarn or string, a hole puncher, clear tape.
· Step 1: Have your child determine what animal he/she would like to make.
· Step 2: Help your child cut a paper plate in half.
· Step 3: Draw two circles for eyes (we traced the bottom of a pencil sharpener) and cut out the eyes for your child as that can be difficult.
· Step 4: Colour the paper plate using crayons to match the colour of the animal of your child’s choice.
· Step 5: Using coloured paper cut out pieces to make ears, nose or beaks, and any other details like horns etc., to make the animal.
· Step 6: Glue the cut out parts to the paper plate (you may need to use tape to reinforce if the parts lie on a rounded part of the paper plate).
· Step 7: Make two hole punches on either side of the mask.
· Step 8: Thread a piece of yarn or string through each hole punch and tie a knot.
· Step 9: Once dry, you child can wear the mask. Simply, tie each piece of yarn together tightening to fit your child’s head.
This theme day is a good excuse to offer fresh fruits, berries and vegetables as snacks.
Homemade Vegetable Soup:
Make some soup for lunch by having your children chop up their favourite veggies and cooking them in some 6 cups of store-bought broth (beef, chicken or vegetable) and water, with a small can of tomato sauce. Add 1/3 cup of barely, if desired, at the same time as the veggies, and cook until tender. Lastly, add herbs or seasonings to taste and serve with whole grain buns.
Offer some eggs for dinner as a change.
Berries and milk make a simple farm fresh dessert.
During the day make a batch of your favourite cupcakes and then when they are cool enough decorate them with marshmallows, candies and writing icing to make them look like various animals. We got our decorating ideas for sheep and pig cupcakes from Mom and Me Cookbook: Have Fun in the Kitchen, by Annabel Karmel, DK publishing, 2005.
A special thanks to Caden (aged 6) and Sophia (aged 8) from Washington State for suggesting we add this link about Farms and Barn Animals: http://www.alansfactoryoutlet.com/all-about-farms-and-barn-animals
Charades or Follow the Leader:
Print out a copy of my On the Farm Charades Worksheet and cut out each word. Put the words in a bag, jar or hat and take turns drawing them. Either play charades individually or in teams (if you have children who cannot read yet) and guess what farm animal etc., was drawn through mimed actions or play follow the leader and have everyone take turns leading the family around the living room or backyard acting like the drawn animal.
Q: What do you call a sleeping bull?
A: A bulldozer.
Q: Why did the farmer name his pig Ink?
A: Because the pig kept running out of the pen.
Q: What do ducks like to eat for a snack?
Q: How can you tell if a sheep is polite?
A: He always says “Thank Ewe.”
Q: Why did the mother horse take her foal to the doctor?
A: Because he had a sore throat and was a ‘little horse.”
If your children have any plastic farm animal toys, this theme day would be the perfect day to play with them.
Search through your child’s DVD/ video collection (or visit your local library before hand or the Video Store) to find your child’s favourite shows with a farm setting or with farm animals.
Here are some family movie titles that take place on farms:
· Charlotte’s Web
· Chicken Run
- Explore the options around where you live and see if there is a community farm that is open to the public that may have socials or events. Many farms have events during harvest time or for Halloween. During the summer you can often go to farms to pick your own berries.
- Visit a petting zoo (often at larger zoos) to see farm animals up close and feed them, too.
Farm Animals from various petting zoos
Photo: C Wright
Photo: C Wright
Sticker Scenes/ Collages
Cotton Ball Sheep
Paper Plate Farm Animal Masks
Farm Animal Cup Cakes