"With a baa, baa here and a moo there" and toddlers everywhere--children love animals and wide open spaces, so it's no wonder that the farm holds an allure for them. Engage children in farm animal-themed crafts, games and other activities to help educate and simply entertain them.
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Farm Animal Crafts
Engage children in creating farm animal crafts. Toddlers can create a fuzzy lamb craft out of poster board and cotton balls. Cut a cloudlike shape to form the sheep's body. Cut a black face and glue it to the body and add googly eyes. Help toddlers use glue to attach cotton balls to the lamb's body. Clip two clothespins to the bottom of the lamb for legs. Create other animals out of poster board and fabric. Cut a horse shape and use brown felt to cover the body.
Another farm animal craft is to make animals out of hand prints. Trace toddlers' hands on paper. Cut them out and use them as wings for chickens or for tail feathers on turkeys. The hands can also become udders on a cow or legs for a horse. Use card stock and crayons to complete the animals.
Let children dress up as various farm animals for some imaginative play. Create farm animal masks out of paper plates. Cut eye holes and add a string to make the mask. Make a pig mask by colouring the plate pink and adding a paper cup to the front of the mask to create the snout. Have children create several masks and make animal noises.
Another way to engage children in farm-related imaginative play is to provide them with small plastic animals. Make a barn out of an old shoebox. Paint it red and cut a door for the opening. Let children put real grass inside the box to represent hay for the plastic animals to eat and sit on.
Field trips are an invaluable teaching tool. Plan a trip to a working farm to show a toddler how a farm operates. Let the children see how a cow is milked and fed and how chicken eggs are gathered. Or take the children to visit a petting zoo to see farm animals up close. Children will appreciate being able to see and even touch farm animals. Inform children of basic safety tips such as washing their hands after touching an animal.
Songs and Stories
Teach children "Old MacDonald Had a Farm." This song teaches children the sounds animals make along with honing memorisation skills. Play the circle game of "The Farmer in the Dell." Read farm animal-themed books to toddlers. Some books to consider are "Big Tractor" by Kay Barnes, "Barnyard Dance!" by Sandra Boynton and "Big Red Barn" by Margaret Wise Brown and Felicia Bond.
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