Latticed Learning - Farms

Learn while playing with Latticed Learning!  This week's theme has plenty of activities to go along with it - keep reading to find out more!

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Welcome back to Latticed Learning!  This year, we're continuing to learn while we play - repeating many of our favorites from the past while adding in all sorts of new activities as well.

This day's post is devoted to our weekly themes - some weeks have more activities than others, but each lesson will be fun for you to explore with your little one!

Read All About It

There are lots of great farm books out there and it was really difficult to choose just a few to highlight for you, but I think I managed to whittle down the list a bit.

Pop Up Farm has some different animals than the usual group you always find in the barnyard, which makes the cool pop-up pages even more fun.

My Little People Farm is one of the best books for bringing along to a dentist appointment - it will keep Gv's attention for as long as it takes the hygienist to turn my Cabernet-stained chompers back to sparkly white Chiclets again.  It's already become a long-standing favorite of ours. 


Barnyard Dance is not only fun to read, but was the inspiration for the game you'll read more about below.  I just love Sandra Boynton's spunky illustrations!

Russell the Sheep has been one of my favorite children's books since I began teaching and I've been having so much fun sharing that love with Gv.  It's another one whose illustrations make me smile.


Wolf! is one that I'd never read myself until Gv came along, but since it focuses on farm animals who love to read, I can't help but love it!  Have you ever heard of it?

Tillie Lays an Egg

Baby Calf

One Red Rooster

Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type

The Little Red Hen (Makes a Pizza)

Big Chickens

Ping Pong Pig

The Story of Ferdinand

Red Tractor

Sing Some Songs

It's not too difficult to find find children's songs about farm animals, but these choices were our favorites:

There were lots of songs that fit our farm theme on the Sandra Boynton albums, with Barnyard Dance being an especially great choice.

Two albums from this postRalph's World and Birds, Beasts, Bugs & Fishes Little & Big have lots of catchy farm songs on them as well.

Watch Some Videos

This Berenstain Bears video on helping to save a farm is perfect.

Gv loves Daniel Tiger and this episode covers farms!

We haven't seen this movie, but it sounds like it would be a great choice for this week.

We have seen this one, however, and the Wallace & Grommit-like hilarity is in full force, so it's one that shouldn't be missed.

Play and Create

We did about a zillion things to go along with our farm topic this week -- which wore me out -- but they were all just such great fun: 

I made a batch of homemade applesauce, which was insanely easy and delicious (learn how to do it here).

We visited our local zoo (for free!) and spent plenty of time petting some farm animals:

Other great field trip ideas (that just weren't in our budget this year) are to visit a farm, pumpkin patch, or corn maze.

We reminisced about making butter at the state fair this past spring:

If we'd had time, I would have gone ahead and done this again here at home.  Here's a link to some directions for how to do it.

We made this simple chicken noise maker.

Notice how she's in her state fair pig racing shirt?  We like to be coordinated with things around here!

We pulled out this hand-me-down toy, grabbed some small containers and popcorn and delivered "feed" to all the animals.

I just used a transparency marker to write the numbers 1-10 on cups like these, put a scoop of popcorn kernels in a bowl, and told Gv to count out the proper pieces of grain for each container.  Then she loaded the containers onto the back of the truck (one at a time) and delivered them to all the different spots on the farm.

I came up with this cool paper plate chicken:

First, fold a paper plate in half.  Then cut out a small triangle beak from yellow construction paper and trace and cut out your child's hand, using red paper.  Fold the thumb down to make the wattle and the fingers make the comb.  Glue the paper to the plate:

This is the back
Then, turn the plate around and add a big googly eye.  The weight of the eye will pull the chicken down so it looks like it's pecking for food!

Pull your chicken noise maker back out to add the sound effects to this little friend while you play!

I made Gv a batch of dirt dough and let her plant some pony bead "seeds" in it.  I would have totally just taken her out into the yard to dig around in the real dirt, but our lawnmower broke and I was afraid I'd lose her in the thigh-high grass!

This dough was so easy to make.  Just take a scoop of baking soda (How much dirt dough do you want?  Use that much.) and add a few drops of different food colors (I used blue, green, yellow and red).  Add small bits of water (only like a teaspoon at a time) and mix it up with your hands.  Keep adding water and food color drops (I added more red to get this shade) until it achieves the consistency and color that you want.

Put your dirt in a container within a container to eliminate mess.  Better yet, throw down your handy shower curtain liner first, or do this activity (with beads that can't fit down the drain) in the bathtub.  Your hands will be stained after mixing and playing with this dough, but it all washes off with just soap and water.

I printed out these funny little characters, lopped off their heads, and then Gv glued them to paper bags to make farm animal puppets.  I also cut the ends of the bags down so they would better fit her small arms.

"Cluck! Cluck! Cluck!"

We played several rounds of the Barnyard Dance Animal Action Dice Game that I created.  Look for the details and your free printable in this post, but here's a little sample:

"Bow to the Cow"

I pulled out this ancient farm puzzle for Gv to play with:

How ancient is this?  It was mine when I was little!  It was also the first puzzle Gv could do.  She still enjoys it, even though it's too easy for her now, because she'll use the pieces for dramatic play.

Even though Gv wasn't in a coloring mood, I printed out pages 2 & 3 of this cute pack because I knew she'd be all over the gluing aspect.  

I did the coloring and cutting, but Gv did the rest!  She loved peeking in the barn doors to find the cow.

Then I printed out pages 4 & 5 of that same pack, because Gv went wild with the scissors and paper scraps we'd used already.  She's been fascinated with cutting for a few weeks now, but I'd just shown her how to make a snip with the scissors and how to hold the paper so she wouldn't cut her hand.  Then I just let her do whatever she wanted, which was to just snip off little bits of paper at a time.  However, I realized that she was enjoying all that scissor fun so much, maybe she was ready to continue cutting along a line with the scissors:

...and voilà!  Now she can cut!  I just had her do her typical snip, then I held her hand and said "push" to move the scissors along to the next spot.  We did that first line together, then she did the rest on her own.  By the time she'd finished these two sheets, she could cut the lines cleanly!

After being so surprised by her cutting skills, I printed out pages 2 & 3 of this other cute pack and showed her how to trace the dots on these pre-writing pages:

Notice the snip on the right side of the page?  Well, I should have put the scissors up before I handed her this paper, because she was all still in cutting mode and started in immediately on this sheet.

I slid the sheets into cheap page protectors and gave her both thin transparency markers and thick dry erase markers to use.  Both come off easily, and she enjoyed the different effect each one had on the page.

We made a paper bag scarecrow out of some of Gv's clothes.  The bonus with this activity is that we now have a cute fall decoration to display in our entry!

I filled a pumpkin cookie jar with black beans.  If I remember to do it, I might change it out for lentils, popcorn and white beans to make it look like candy corn.

After all that pre-writing practice, I decided to have Gv draw the face on by herself.  She surprised me again!

Lesson learned today: never underestimate what your child can do, if you give them the chance!
We stuffed the head with plastic grocery sacks and used rags to stuff the scarecrow's body.  Yellow tissue paper became the hair, because I was too lazy to pull down the box of yarn from the closet shelf.  I actually think I liked how it looked better than I would have liked the yarn.

I remembered that I had these foam pig shapes from an addition and subtraction card set I'd had in my classroom, so I pulled them out, added number labels to a large egg carton, and let Gv fill in the "graph."

You could also do this more simply by drawing a grid on paper, then having your child fill in the number spots with stickers! 

And, of course, we spent plenty of time playing with this beloved toy:

Why are the critters all covered with band-aids, you ask?  Why, I'll tell you!

Toddler time-occupier tip:  I needed to pay the bills, which meant that I needed to give Gv something really exciting and new to do to take up all that time, and it had to be something she could do completely on her own.  So, I grabbed a handful of cheap dollar-store band-aids and let her fix them all up.

To be honest, this was actually totally Gv's own idea.  She was playing with the barn and told me the sheep got hurt and needed a band-aid.  She asked me for one and I figured, why not, but then when she was done bandaging up that woolly patient, she declared that the goat also needed a band-aid.  Hmmm, I thought, I see where this is going, and brought her a big handful.  It kept her occupied for the entire time I was doing the bills!

Whew!  It was another busy week, but one full of fun!

Looking for all the great posts associated with this concept in one place?  Check out my Latticed Learning page here!

What's your favorite thing that we did this week?  I'd love to hear!  Either leave a comment below or email me at lisahealy (at) outlook (dot) com.

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