On The Farm: Preschool Learning Activity

Preschool learning activity for a grain collage and more. This set of farm animal activites is sure to bring a barnyard of fun to your classroom or home.

Preschool age children are fascinated by animals. Parents, teachers, and child care providers have a barnyard of fun with this themed set of activities.

Preschool age children need opportunities to develop their fine motor skills. Art activites are great for exercising those tiny finger muscles with drawing, cutting, painting, and gluing. Don't forget that sense of pride a child feels with a finished product he made himself.

1) GRAIN COLLAGE. Discuss the grains that animals eat such as corn, wheat, hay, oats, or barley. Provide these grains along with paper and glue to make collages. It may be messy, but it cleans up!

2) BUTTERMILK CHALK PICTURES. Brush a piece of sturdy paper with buttermilk and use chalk to draw on. Or dip the ends of chalk into buttermilk. Allow the children to create their own designs and let dry. This technique makes some very interesting prints.

3) BABY CHICKS. Purchase a bag of yellow tinted cotton balls. Use these as the chick head. Have children glue on wiggle eyes or eyes punched from paper. Add an orange triangle for the beak. A magnet can be attached to the back, if desired.

4) PIG NOSES. Cot the top half off a small paper cup. Show the children how to cover the bottom with pink contruction paper or color it pink. Poke holes in the side and push yarn through. Draw pig nostrils ont he bottom of the cup and wear. Children love to oink about in their hand made masks. You can even act out "The Three Little Pigs."

During the preschool years children are building on their vocabularies daily. They are learning to express themselves and their emotions. Language is used in creative thinking, dramatic play, songs and books, and just about every aspect of their young lives.

1) SOUNDS OF THE FAIR. Describe a trip to a fair. As you tell the children what they are doing or seeing, have them make the appropriate sound. For example - "Now we are coming to the pig pens. There is a huge, fat pig in the first stall. He says ....." Tape record the story and play it back to the children later in the day. They will love to hear their own voices.

2) DRAMATIC PLAY. Provide items such as hats, overalls, boots. If you can locate a horse saddle, the children could sit on it to ride their imaginary horses. Children could also pretend to be veterinarians Collect materials to make a doctor prop box. Items could include a stethoscope, bandages, pretend medicine bottles, and so on. Stuffed animals can be used as the patients.

3) BOOKS AND SONGS. Many common songs deal with farm animals. Sing "Old Macdonald," "Mary Had a Little Lamb," or "Baa Baa Black Sheep." Reading out loud is one of the most importan things you can do for children. Try titles like "Barnyard Banter" by Denise Fleming or "Oh, What a Noisy Farm" by Harriet Zeifert. Check at your local library for other farm books.

Preschoolers are full of wiggles and need time to run and jump and play. All of these things also develop their gross motor skills.

1) DUCK DUCK GOOSE. Play a traditional game of Duck, Duck, Goose. Sit the children in a circle and choose one child to be "it." This child walks around the circle touching other children saying "duck, duck..." The child who is finally tapped as the "goose" chases the other child around the circle until s/he sits down in the empty spot. The second child is now"it." Remind the children these animals can be found on the farm. Vary the game by trying pig, pig, cow or another variation. This can be played indoors, but is even better outside. Some children will need time to learn the rules. Expect some running around.

2) PIN THE FLEECE ON THE SHEEP. Cut a large silhouette of a sheep shape and attach it to the wall. Give the children cotton balls with double-sided sticky tape on one side. Blindfold each child and let him place his cotton on the sheep. Continue until you have a warm and fluffy sheep.

3) MOVE LIKE YOU ARE. Ask the children to move like they are a galloping horse, a pig wallowing in the mud, or a chicken pecking. Ask the kids for their own suggestions on ways to move.

Three and four year olds are not to young to begin learning about basic math and science concepts. These two subjects go hand in hand.

1) FEELS FROM THE FARM. Construct a feely box containing farm items. Examples could include hay, an egg, a feather, sheep wool, and ear of corn, wheat, and so on. Blindfold the child and see if she can guess what she is touching.

2) MAKE COTTAGE CHEESE. Heat one quart of milk until lukewarm. Dissolve one rennet tablet into a small amount of milk. Stir the rennet mixture into the remaining milk. Let the mixture stand in a warm place until set. Drain through a strainer lined with cheese cloth. Bring the corners of the cloth together and squeeze the mixture. Rinse the cheese with cold water and drain again. Add a small amount of butter and salt and serve. Talk about the process and the changes you see. Compare in texture and taste to store bought cottage cheese.

3. SHEEP WOOL. Place out various types of wool for the children to explore. Included could be wool cloth, dyed yarn, wool clippings, yarn spun into thread, and other wool item such as mittens or socks. Encourage the children to touch and look at the items. Provide magnifying glasses for further exploration.

Busy children are happy children. There are plenty of things for kids to learn about and have fun with on the farm.

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