Updated: Aug 14, 2020
A Companion Guide to Busy Toddler's Playing Preschool Curriculum
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Fun on the Farm
Farm animals seem to the be a universal language of childhood. Before babies even learn to speak a handful of words, they can often make animal noises and sounds. By the time they are toddlers, they may be able to identify them in books and in real life by name. This unit takes a closer look at the attributes of each animal and their role in life on the farm. From milking a "cow" to making butter, the learning came to life in so many fun ways!
Building Background Knowledge
*Books with an asterisk are my Top 5 Picks to Add to Your Home Library for this unit
Big Red Barn* - Brown, Margaret Wise
The Very Busy Spider* - Carle, Eric
Farm Animals - Wallace, Karen
Farm Animals - National Geographic
Mrs. Wishy Washy's Farm - Cowley, Joy
Barnyard Dance* - Boynton, Sandra
Additional Book List
Books in bold are also suggested books in another unit.
Farming - Gail Gibbons
Right This Very Minute: A table-to-farm book about food and farming - Detlesfen, Lisl
Jobs on a Farm - Dickmann, Nancy
Scholastic Discover More: Farm - Arlon, Penelope
I Love Farm Animals - Regan, Lisa
Touch and Feel: Tractor - DK Children
Farm Animals - DK Children
Total Tractor - DK Children
Farm - Brown, James
Clare Beaton's Farmyard Rhymes - Beaton, Clare
Maisy's Morning on the Farm - Cousins, Lucy
Moo Moo, Brown Cow - Wood, Jakki
Otis* - Long, Loren
Little Blue Truck - Schertle, Alice
Goodnight, Little Blue Truck* - Schertle, Alice
Melissa & Doug Poke-A-Dot: Old Macdonald’s Farm ←Interactive book, great way to practice counting
Sheep in a Jeep - Shaw, Nancy
Farmer Dale's Red Pickup Truck - Wheller, Lisa
Tractor Mac Farm Days - Steers, Billy
Mr. Brown Can Moo Can You? - Dr. Seuss
Gossie: A Gosling on the Go! - Dunrea, Olivier
Summer Sun Risin' - Nikola-Lisa, W. (diverse characters)
The Little Lamb - Dunn, Judy
The Little Duck - Dunn, Judy
The Little Pig - Dunn, Judy
Click, Clack, Peep - Cronin, Doreen
Pete the Cat: Old McDonald Had a Farm - Dean, James
The Little Red Hen - Ottolenghi, Carol
The Enormous Potato - Davis, Aubrey
Duck on a Tractor - Shannon, David
Puzzles and Stickers
Little Blue Truck Farm Sticker Fun! - Schertle, Alice
Figures and Vehicles
Melissa & Doug Farm Friends Play Set - 10 farm animals with wooden barn
Fisher-Price Little People Animal Friends Farm - 7 farm figurines, fold-and-go barn
Melissa & Doug 20 Animal Magnets in a Box - great for sorting and classifying animals. We took our sorting vertical!
Games and Role Play
Developing Life Skills: Take a trip to the farmer's market and see what produce is in season. Give you child a shopping list and make it a scavenger hunt!
Field Trip: Visit a working farm or dairy for some hands-on learning. If that's not an option, go to a farm supply store like Tractor Supply Co., or Rural King. Check out the equipment farmer use. Sometimes they have baby chicks or pot-bellied pigs for sale!
Imaginative Play: Let your child create a sensory (and taste-safe) farm scene with a toy barn, animals and tractors. Give them a sheet pan, a green sheet of construction paper (grass/field) chocolate pudding (mud), Kellog's Mini Wheats (grass/grain), rolled oats or Cheerios (oats), cornmeal (grain), popcorn kernels (corn), and a bowl of water with blue food coloring (pond). Then ask them to set up the farm and feed the animals! This activity rolled right into the activity for Mrs. Wishy Washy's Farm: bathing the animals! An hour well spent.
My 2.5 year old storytelling life on the farm.
Cooking Activity: After playing with popcorn kernels in a sensory bin, use them to make popcorn! We have a Whirley Pop and it is so fun to stir and anticipate the popping until the kernels explode.
Read-along-play-along Activity: After reading The Very Busy Spider, make your own 3-dimensional spider web. You can read about the inspiration for this activity in this post: A Day in the Life of Raising a Reader.
Gross Motor Skill Activity: Tot School's Round up the Sheep Balloon Activity
STEM Activity: Sandbox Academy's Can You Build a Barn? Popsicle stick activity
With self-correcting puzzles, start with just a few and build from there.
For and extra challenge for the tractor-obsessed or mechanically-inclined, check out the John Deere Take Apart Tractor
What was your favorite part of this unit? What other books did you read? What other activities did you do? Please share your photos and feedback in the Playing Preschool with Busy Toddler Curriculum Facebook Group in Photos/Albums/Year 1 Themes → On the Farm
Until next time, may your coffee be warm and your toddler be busy!
Up Next: Playing Preschool: Unit 12 - Weather
See Also: Introduction to Playing Preschool with Busy Toddler, A Companion Guide to Busy Toddler's Playing Preschool Curriculum, Unit 1: Apples, Unit 2: Colors, Unit 3: Nursery Rhymes, Unit 4: Clothing, Unit 5: Food, Unit 6: Five Senses, Unit 7: Teddy Bears, Unit 8: Things That Go Together, Unit 9: Community Helpers, Unit 10: Transportation