Theatre in a Barn

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Book: 

Farm Animals by Nancy Dickman – “Farm Animals” was a great read especially since we could review all the animals we had visited from our farm visit.  We looked through and named the animals in the book repeatedly.

Activity:

1. Matching Animals – This activity is inspired by a Montessori activity I had seen on Pinterest. I snapped photos of 8 of the plastic farm animals we have been using this week. I then gave R two animals and two picture cards at a time for matching. I defined the play space using a mirror so she knew to work in this area. She did well with two animals at a time but found it difficult when I tried four animals at a time.

Extension Activities:
a. Make this activity more difficult by increasing the number of animals on the board for matching.
b. Ask the child to match a specific animal and see if s/he can locate and match the animal correctly.

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Jelly-ed Animals

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Book: 

Animal Tracks by Arthur Dorros – We read, “Animal Tracks” together.  Although she was focused and listening at the beginning, she lost her focus as the book was longer than most books she is used to.  So instead of continuing to read, we looked at all the pictures.  The front and back of this book has pictures of tracks made by different animals.  We took a close look at these pages and I named the animals for her.

Activity:

1. Quiet Time Poem – I first read the poem aloud and demonstrated the actions to R.  During the second read, I made R do the actions with me by guiding her arms and body.  We repeated this a number of times and she always giggled when crouching down at the very end.  I then said the poem again and had her do the actions on her own while I did them along with her.

Next, I read the poem aloud a number of times while pointing to each magnetic foam animal.  When R and I did the poem together, I would hand her one foam animal at a time and she would stick it onto the fridge for me.

Extension Activities:
a. Older children can make their own foam animals for this fun puppet play poem.
b. Have the child demonstrate animal recognition.  I asked R to hand me one animal at a time at random.  The first time she did this, she handed the correct animals to me.  The few times after it was hit or miss. So, we can’t be certain if she does recognize all 8 animals yet.  I’ll try this again in the future and make note of her progress.

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Good Old MacDonald and Rubber Utters

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Book: 

Old MacDonald had a Farm by Wendy Straw – We read “Old MacDonald” and sang together many times.  R carefully listened and watched as I pointed to and named animals on the different pages and especially loved it when I made the different animal sounds.

Activity:

1. Backside Animal Match – I introduced R to a new puzzle I had made.  I put clipart photos of animals onto different coloured foam pieces. I then cut them in half to make puzzle pieces.  The activity was more focused on demonstrating how to do the puzzles.  I would put the front piece of the puzzle down in front of her and then hand her the second piece.  I would then guide her to place it in the appropriate spot next to the front piece.  After trying this activity again two more times over two days, R was able to do it with minimal support from me.  I like to introduce new activities using the “I do, we do, you do” method in which I first demonstrate the activity, I then guide R to do the activity with me and then, finally, I have R practice the activity on her own.

Extension Activity:
a. To make this activity more difficult, glue the animals onto the same coloured foam so that the child cannot use the colour to match the different animals.

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Feeling the Forest

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We used R’s outdoor play time to do a nature walk to enhance the planned activity for the day.  It worked out perfectly since the rain had finally let up at this point.  There were tons of textures to explore in the woods and by the creek near the green belt.  R grabbed, pulled apart, scraped, scratched, poked and rubbed anything she could find.  I extended her learning by providing words for the different textures such as rough, smooth, spiky and soft.  Although I have no expectation for R to use the words, I still do provide the textural words to expand R’s listening vocabulary.

Textured Dough and Sticky Bunnies

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Book: 

Touch and Feel Farm by DK Books – I read touch and feel farm to R many times today. The first time, I read it all the way through. The second time, I only read the textural words. The third time, I pointed to the animals and named them. The fourth time, I pointed to the animals and made their sounds.

Activity:

1. Textured Play Dough – We first walked around the yard and house collecting some items together. We used play dough to explore textures by making texture mats by stamping the items we collected. By the end of it, R clumped the play dough together and started poking things into it. Through past experiences with birthday cakes, R made a connection with the way the items looked sticking in the play dough and how a cake looks with candles. Upon sticking items into the dough, she sang her version of happy birthday.

Extension Activities:
a. Use vocabulary words such as “rough” and “smooth” to describe the textures you created together.
b. Ask children who can speak to describe the textures for you.

 

2. Sticky Bunny – R had another experience with sticking.  I used the command stick, without a demonstration today to see if R remembered the command from yesterday.  I was happy to see that she had!  She enjoyed filling the bunny I had drawn on contact paper with cotton balls that I had sprayed with pink glitter spray to add colour and some rough texture.  I am really seeing much growth in R’s fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

Check out the rest of the Farm Animal Theme:
1. Hands-On Farmville
2. Textured Dough and Stick Bunnies
3. Good Old MacDonald and Rubber Utters
4. Jelly-ed Animals
5. Theatre in a Barn

Hands-on Farmville

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Book: 

Barnyard Banter by Denise Fleming – R enjoyed listening to “Barnyard Banter” and practicing animal sounds with me.  I read each page multiple times in order to really have R listen to and repeat animal names and sounds with me.

Activity:

1. Melissa & Doug Animal Sounds Puzzle – R is not always keen on putting the animal pieces into the animal sounds puzzle, but she loves to listen to and imitate the animal sounds.  When prompted, she can now consistently replicate sounds made by a cow, sheep, dog, cat, duck and horse.

Extension Activities:
a. Make an animal sound and ask the child to name the animal.  The question prompt would be, “What animal makes the sound moo?”.
b. Show the child an animal toy ask him/her to name the animal or tell what sound the animal makes.

 

2. Horse Hair – R had her first introduction to “gluing”.  I drew a picture of a horse (maybe a donkey.. Lol) on construction paper and placed double sided tape along the horse’s mane.  I gave her cut pieces of yarn and she stuck them in place.  I used the command “stick” to describe the action as I demonstrated it to her.  Each time she placed a piece of yarn, I said stick.

Extension Activities:
a. Older children can cut their own horse hair and draw their own animals
b. Make all the farm animals on separate pages and staple the pages together to make a homemade book about farm animals.

 

3. Farm Sensory Bin – I offered R an invitation to play using a sensory bin that had a variety of different textured ground covers and animals in different places.  Included was a grassy field, a couple of soil fields, a “hay” field made of yellow lentils, a “rocky” field made of kidney beans, a pond created with water in a plastic container and a “muddy” hill made using homemade play dough.  R had a lot of fun making her animals “eat”, making animal sounds, pushing animals into the play dough mud hill, “washing” the animals in the pond and mixing the different parts together.

Considering the amount of people in the world who don’t have enough food each day, I often feel guilty about using edible materials for R’s play.  So, I really make an effort to make sure we reuse all the materials as much as possible and for as long as possible.

Check out the rest of the Farm Animal Theme:
1. Hands-On Farmville
2. Textured Dough and Stick Bunnies
3. Good Old MacDonald and Rubber Utters
4. Jelly-ed Animals
5. Theatre in a Barn