Preschoolers feel like farmers with a classroom farm theme. The activities give students hands-on experience in the ways of farm life. Everything from farm animals to growing crops works well as the basis for preschool classroom activities. Incorporate the farm theme into the book selection, learning centres and decorations in the classroom to fully immerse the kids in farm life.
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A field trip to a local farm gives the kids the best look at farm life. Contact local farmers to determine if they offer schools the opportunity for a field trip. Farms that have apple orchards, pumpkin patches or stores for their products on the farm are more likely to hold field trips throughout the year. Look for a farm that has a variety of animals and crops so the kids get a varied experience. Work with the farmer to make sure the field trip gives the kids a comprehensive look at farm life. The field trip works at the beginning of the unit to introduce the kids to the concept of farms. It also works well as a culminating activity after the kids have learnt about farms in the classroom.
Let the kids play farmers in the classroom. Set up a dramatic play area based on farming. Stuffed animals such as cows, pigs, sheep and ducks let the kids tend to the animals. Make a cardboard box barn or pen for the animals. Provide farmer clothes for the kids to wear. Overalls, flannel shirts, hats and work boots are ideal. Include child-sized gardening tools such as hoes, rakes and shovels. Place bags of large beans or plastic toy vegetables that the kids plant and pick in a pretend garden patch. Brown fabric works well as the pretend dirt for the dramatic play garden.
Growing vegetables allows the kids to be farmers on a smaller scale. Using the container garden concept means you won't have to dig up any school ground to grow vegetables. The kids help plant the seeds and tend the garden by watering and weeding the plants. Vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, green beans and squash work well in a container garden. When the vegetables are grown, the kids can taste their crop.
Farm life comes with lots of responsibilities, including milking cows. While many modern farms have automated cow-milking systems, this activity suggested by the Everything Preschool website simulates milking the cows by hand. Fill a latex glove with water or milk. Poke a small hole in the end of the fingers. The kids squeeze the fingers as they would a cow's udder to milk the cow. Keep a bucket nearby for collecting the liquid.
Art projects add a creative aspect to the farm theme. The seeds that farmers use to grow crops work well as the material for a collage. Provide seeds that vary in size, colour and shape. You can also use farm materials such as hay and corn for the collages. The kids spread a thin layer of glue on a piece of paper and sprinkle the seeds or other materials on top.
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