Tag Archives: farm

Fun with Toddlers: Farm Theme

IMG_20140905_145903210Here’s a collection of fun farm-themed activities for toddlers and preschoolers.

Outings to Go On

Take your child to a farm park or petting zoo to see and interact with animals up close and in person. Click here for options in the Seattle/Bellevue area. In the fall, go to the fair! (state fair, county fair, etc.)

Take your child to u-pick farms. (Look here for listings of farms in the U.S., Canada, and more.) In Washington state, we pick berries June through September, apples in September and October, pumpkins in October, and more. Or join a CSA: Community Supported Agriculture farm that allows you to visit the farm.

Game to Play

Animal Sounds. Show your child pictures of animals, and teach your child animal sounds. Then ask your child “what noise does a cow make?” Praise them when they say moo. And so on. Children can often make recognizable animal sounds before they have much language, so it’s a fun way to see how much your child really understands. If you want your child to speak multiple languages, ask the question in other languages (like “Que dice la vaca?”). They will learn the answer is also moo. This helps them start making connections between meaning in the different languages.

Video of real farm animal sounds: www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuiwA4Ne_pU;
Fun animal sounds song: www.youtube.com/watch?v=t99ULJjCsaM

Snack to Make

Bread. Make yeast bread (here’s a super simple sounding option) or a quick bread (banana, pumpkin, zucchini…. ) from scratch with your child helping to measure, pour and mix. (Note: cooking with kids takes a long time and makes a big mess – remember this is more about doing a fun activity with your child than about efficiently preparing food.) Or, choose the easy route and make refrigerator biscuits where all you do is pop the tube, put them on a pan and bake.

Butter. Buy whipping cream. Take a small empty glass jar (like a baby food jar or jelly jar) and lid and put it in the refrigerator till chilled. Then fill the cold jar about 1/3 of the way with cold whipping cream. Have your child shake it vigorously for about 15 minutes. (Little ones need your help to shake it enough.) When solid lumps of butter begin to form, pour off the liquid (buttermilk) and keep on shaking until it’s solid. Enjoy!  (See more details here.)

Options:

  • If you want it to turn to butter more quickly: refrigerate a glass marble along with the jar, and when you pour in the cream, add the marble. When you shake, the marble helps agitate (churn) the butter. Just don’t shake it so hard the marble breaks the jar!
  • If you like salted butter, just mix in a little salt at the end.(Or honey… or cinnamon…)
  • If you plan to keep the butter for a few days (we always eat ours right away), follow these directions and thoroughly drain and rinse the butter before refrigerating.

Songs to Sing

Old McDonald.
Video www.youtube.com/watch?v=5oYKonYBujg
Lyrics and Mp3: http://singwithourkids.com/songs/old-macdonald.htm.

Old McDonald had a farm. E I E I O
And on that farm there was a cow. E I E I O
With a moo moo here and a moo moo there.
Here a moo, there a moo, everywhere a moo moo.
Old McDonald had a farm. E I E I O
Repeat, replacing the animal names and sounds.

BINGO
Video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mmF8zOlh_g
There was a farmer had a dog, and BINGO was its name, oh.
B – I – N – G – O, B – I – N – G – O, B – I – N – G – O,
And Bingo was its name, oh!
Repeat. On first repeat, instead of saying the B when spelling it out, clap. On the second repeat, replace B and I with claps, and so on.

Activities to Do

animal match

Match the animal. If you have small plastic animals, then find pictures of those animals (in magazines or online) and make “flash cards.” Have your child match plastic animal to its picture. Source

milking-a-cow2Egg Hunts. Hunt for eggs anytime! It’s a fun, easy learning activity.

Milk a cow. Take a latex (or non-latex) glove. Fill with water (like a water balloon) and tie it closed. Then use a pin to prick holes in the tips of the fingers. Show your child how to “milk” the water out of the “udder.” (Sources: see Pinterest)

Books to Read

Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown. Sweet bedtime book about a day on the farm, that winds down to bedtime. There are lots of details in the illustrations to talk about.

Farmer Duck by Martin Waddell. A story about a duck who does all the work till the animals rebel against a lazy farmer. Great rhythm. Just a fun story! (Even though my son is 25 now, if I just ask “How goes the work?” he replies “QUACK!” just like Farmer Duck says!)

The Little Rabbit Who Liked to Say MooAllen. Animals try out other animal’s sounds.

The Little Red HenThere are several book versions of this classic tale. Galdone‘s is nice. If you’re making bread, this is a nice tie-in to that activity.

Poke a Dot: Old MacDonald’s Farm. This is a counting book. Each page has plastic dots you can “pop”. I’m normally not a fan of “gimmicky” books, but I think this one is great for learning one-to-one correspondence, an essential math skill.

More fun on the farm ideas at: www.pinterest.com/bcparented

For my full collection of theme-based “Fun with Toddlers”, click on “Fun with Toddlers series” in the right hand side bar. Or if you would like them in printable handout form to share with students, click here.

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Cheap Dates with Toddlers: Farm Parks

Spring is coming, and the baby animals are appearing at local farms.

A few years ago, I took this picture of a 2 week old calf  at Farrell-McWhirter. He was shorter than my 3 year old! (Sorry that it’s not a great picture… my son was really ready to go have snack, so we only got a really quick look at the calf… but wow he was cute!)

calf

At any time of year, toddlers love outings to meet farm animals. Lots of children’s books, games, and videos feature farm animals, so kids tend to be familiar with them, and get very excited when they can recognize and name the “real thing.” Seeing and hearing (and smelling) the animals in person make the idea much more real. At farm parks, you can check out chickens, sheep, bunnies, cows, pigs, and goats. Some times you’ll get an opportunity to see fresh eggs in the coop, or see a cow or goat being milked.  This is a great outing for a child who has just learned to answer all those vital questions like “What does a cow say?”

For my readers in the Seattle area… here are some free outings:

Farrell McWhirter Park in Redmond. They’ve got a small pot-bellied pig and a really big pig, bunnies, chickens, 2 goats, a calf and horses. (You generally can’t pet or feed the animals.) They do offer farm classes and pony rides. Farrell McWhirter is also home to Tiny Treks and Nature Vision preschool, both are great nature-based programs for children. Check out the Redmond Parks guide for more information.  There are great hiking trails, streams, swings, and tire swings too.

Kelsey Creek Park in Bellevue. They’ve got sheep, pigs, goats, horses, bunnies, chickens, ducks, and geese. (Again, they’re on view, but this is not a petting zoo.) They also offer horseback riding and farm classes, including a great program for toddlers called Little Farmers. Their playground is great for little ones, as long as they’re past the stage where they’ll try to eat the bark on the ground. Learn about farm tours and farm classes.

Farms with a Fee:

Fox Hollow Farm in Issaquah.  $10 per person. I have not been there, but hear that it’s lovely… They have bunnies, chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, peacocks, macaws, sheep, cows, goats, pigs, llamas, mini-horses, and horses. They also have rope swings, pony rides, tractors to drive, inflatables, play cottages, and you-pick fruits and vegetables. (Some activities have additional fees.) Opens for spring / summer in early April. Closed in fall and winter, except for Halloween and Christmas themed events. Their schedule is limited, so be sure to check their website for when they’re open.

Remlinger Farms in Carnation. Opens for the season on Mother’s Day – summer schedule here. Approximately $18 per person (babies under 1 are free). They have pigs, goats,  rabbits and more. They also have some amusement park style rides, and a train ride (you’ll see llamas). Plus a hay maze.

Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle. Adults $22.95. Kids are $13.95. Under two years is free. By the south entrance, there’s the Family Farm area, which includes a petting zoo where kids can meet goats up close. There’s pigs, goats, sheep, cows, bunnies, chickens, and a donkey. Plus, of course, lots of more exotic animals.

When visiting  farm parks: remember bring a change of clothes and shoes for your child! They can get pretty muddy in any of these places.

Prices current as of 4/28/19