Young children learn best when they are engaged in hands-on activities that enable them to purposefully use the knowledge they have learnt. In most childcare centres and preschool and kindergarten classrooms, dramatic play areas are set up to do just that. Through dramatic play, children are able to act out or put into practice things they have learnt in a safe environment. During a farm unit, there are several dramatic play activities that can be used to provide hands-on experience with topics that relate to the unit.
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Reaping and Sowing Crops
Reaping and sowing crops is an important aspect of farm life. During a farm unit, have children pretend they are reaping and sowing crops in the dramatic play area. Fill the centre with packets of seeds, rakes, shovels, watering cans, baskets, plastic fruits and vegetables. You can also set out items that children can dress up in to pretend they are farmers, such as overalls, boots, large hats and gardening gloves. Encourage children to use the props to pretend they are planting seeds, tending to and harvesting the crops.
Encourage children to act as if they are farmers and farm animals. Fill the centre with items that children can dress up in to assume the roles of either farmers or farm animals. Encourage those who are acting like farm animals to move and make noises like the animals they are depicting. Have children who are acting like farmers herd the farm animals, feed them and clean their stalls. The farmers could even pretend to milk the cows or collect the eggs from the chickens.
Provide children with toys that they can use to act out farm life in a dramatic play centre. Provide children with boxes that they can turn into barns, silos and stables. Offer them toy versions of farm animals; either plush, plastic or both. Set out toy tractors and other toy farm equipment. Encourage children to use the items to pretend that they are farmers.
Puppets are often a part of a dramatic play centre, as they allow children to assume and act out different roles. For a farm-themed dramatic play centre, set out puppets that relate to a farm; different types of farm animals and a few farmers, for example. You could also include props that children could use with the puppets, including a toy barn, a toy silo and animal pens. Invite children to use the puppets to put on a play about a farm or to simply use the puppets and the props to pretend that they are living on a farm.
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