Farm-based activities for Early Years Foundation Stage

Early Years Foundation Stage activities that can be carried out before, during or after a school visit.


Curriculum area: Communication and language

Activities:

  • Talk session - children give accounts of their day on the farm.
  • Recognise pictures of farm animals.
  • Naming adult and baby animals from pictures.
  • Matching two sets of same animals.
  • Game of 'snap'  using animal pictures.
  • Play games - teacher starts by saying 'I am pink, have a curly tail and make this sound. Who am I?' When confident children can  take the lead.
  • Practise vocabulary - name farm animals using pictures and emphasise words such as
    hooves, fur, tails, horns, fleece.
  • Ask open questions - 'tell me about your pictures'.
  • Play tapes of animal sounds for listening bingo - identify pictures of animals, children cover up picture of animal when they hear the sound of that animal.
  • Children listen to a story about a farm read from a book and then discuss.
  • Look at non-fiction books about farms, and at the pictures, and discuss.
  • Sings songs - Old MacDonald, Five little ducks went swimming one day.

Resources needed:

  • Photocopied sets of farm-animal pictures
  • Pictures of animals (you can make your own) and the farm stuck onto card
  • Tape of animal sounds
  • Story and non-fiction books about farms
  • Collection of songs

Curriculum area: Physical development

Activities:

  • Outdoor play - pretend wheeled toys are farm vehicles, make a farmyard route for tractors to drive around.
  • Use trailers or wheelbarrows for children to move items or pretend animals (other children?) from one part of the farm yard to another.
  • Separate a corner of play area into a 'field'. Demonstrate how the farmer would plough or harvest a field, driving up and down. Include a gate in the design.

Resources needed:

  • Wheeled outdoor toys
  • Cones, boxes and items suitable for partitioning, and marking out 'field'

Curriculum area: Literacy

Activities:

  • Match picture to word - 'hen' to picture of hen; extend by matching word to word.
  • Practise initial sound collections - 'p' is for pig, pen, pink.
  • Free, emergent writing about the farm and what they saw or create a simple story board.
  • Each child contributes drawing to a class 'big' book of animals seen on farm visit.
  • Structured writing - using word cards with pictures or a sentence maker.
  • Draw a picture of farm and write a caption.
  • Find words for sentences: 'Here  is a (farm noun)', 'This is a (farm noun)', 'I can see a (farm noun).
  • Make a pop-up book and stick in pop-up animals, find the word for the animal in the picture name cards and write it in.
  • Make book of animals with names underneath.
  • Pictures of animals with speech bubbles - children fill in speech.

Resources needed:

  • Letters of the alphabet on individual cards
  • Class scrap-book or a few sheets of sugar paper folded in two
  • Sentence maker or words on card
  • Make folded books with animals cut to pop out or lift up as a flap
  • Cards with animal pictures and names
  • Folded book
  • Pictures of animals with speech bubbles

Curriculum area: Mathematics

Activities:

  • Sort: farm animals eg cows/not cows; hens/not hens, limit to two animals to start with and then increase number of animals to sort to three and then four. Develop by sorting animals that have four legs/two legs; animals that go into water/do not go into water; have feathers/do not have feathers/ etc.
  • Match: using any sorting apparatus to match like to like. Develop by matching two sorts of animals hens/cows; same number/more or less, etc.
  • Order: by height eg 'Here is a cow, can you find an animal which is smaller/one that is taller?'
  • Sequence: by twos - hens/sheep/hens/sheep,'Can you copy that line of animals?' By threes - hens/sheep/pigs/hens/sheep/pigs, 'Can you copy this line of animals?' Extend 'Try and make your own line', by colour/number of legs, etc?'
  • Counting animals in pictures or on model farm.
  • Put toy animals on model farm - count them.
  • Put toy animals in fields - ask children to find the field with three sheep or four pigs.
  • Put several toy animals into different fields - ask children how many animals in two, three or four fields, and how many animals altogether in all the fields?
  • Six egg boxes with different number of eggs (plastic) in each box - ask the children to find the box which has two, four, five eggs in it.
  • Can they find one more or less animal from a group?
  • Ask children to draw three pigs/one sheep/two cows.
  • Use different-shaped fields - ask children to put eg the sheep in the triangle-shaped field.
  • Use solid shapes/building blocks - let children investigate building farm buildings with the blocks. Show them pictures of the farm for ideas.
  • Use different milk containers in water play and discuss capacity - emphasise comparative vocabulary - biggest, smallest, tallest, shortest etc.; compare different animals for size; put pictures in order of animal size.
  • Discuss jobs - what does a farmer do? Sequence the day in order.
  • Sequence photos of farm visit. Use vocabulary before and after.
  • Class pictogram of favourite animals - children can find a picture of their favourite animal and stick on pictogram. Count out loud the different numbers of animals on the pictogram. Ask which animal do most children like.
  • Sort animals into categories ie types of animals, animals and birds, adults and babies, farm animals, zoo animals, pets.

Resources needed:

  • Toy animals
  • Model farm
  • Farm pictures
  • Egg boxes, plastic eggs or playdough eggs
  • Animal cut-outs/models
  • Photographs of the day
  • Card for fencing which can be bent into shape or pieces of construction toys laid out in shapes
  • Solid shapes, small boxes
  • Large graph drawn out, pictures of animals to stick on graph

Curriculum area: Understanding the living world

Plant Activities

  • Rubbings of bark, leaves.
  • Make plaster casts of bark, leaves, press into plasticine, make card collar for plasticine and pour in plaster of Paris.
  • Observing and sorting seeds - stick a few of each sort of seed on cards - have two cards for each type of seed, and label only one card with the name of the seed - children match the pairs.
  • Make seed packets out of folded paper envelopes - look at real seed packets, children draw plant/flower on front, write on back, put seeds inside (could just be a few lentils - nothing expensive) and seal up.
  • Plant seeds in compost/beans in a jar with blotting paper - then replant into a growing bag - discuss what plants need to grow.
  • Place a potato in one end of a shoe box with a lid. Make a hole at the other end from the potatoes and then place some dividers into box so that potato, as it grows and reaches towards the light has to zig-zag around dividers.
  • Make observational drawings of plants.

Resources needed:

  • Thick paper, wax crayons
  • Plaster of Paris, bark, leaves, plasticine, card in strips
  • Seeds, card, glue
  • Folded paper envelopes, lentils or rice
  • Compost, jars, blotting paper, yogurt pots, growing bags, large seeds eg beans
  • Shoe box with lid, card for dividers, potato (preferably one that has already sprouted)
  • Variety of different plants
  • Drawing materials

Curriculum area: Understanding of the World

Animal Activities:

  • Look at animal covers - skin, fur, scales, wool, feathers.
  • Discuss products from animals ie food, clothing.
  • Pictures of animals - encourage talk about body parts - head/body/legs/ tails; legs - number; feet - hooves/paws/ webbed.
  • Label big, simple drawing with card words to match part of body.
  • Look at similarities and differences between humans and animals.
  • Match parent to child using pictures. Human families, animal families, baby/parent.
  • Sequence pictures of animals growing up from baby to adult.
  • Needs - shelter/food/care.
  • Fresh eggs - break open eggs - draw/name different parts. NB - employ all the standard safety
    procedures relating to raw eggs.
  • Cook eggs - compare hard boiled with soft boiled with raw. Discuss differences.

Resources needed:

  • Pictures of farm animals
  • Drawing materials
  • Large drawing of animal, names of body parts on card
  • Pictures: human - baby; hen - chicken; pig - piglet
  • Selection of pictures of different animals from baby to adult
  • Eggs and containers

Curriculum area: Understanding of the World

Environmental Activities:

  • Make a nature collection in an egg box - put cotton wool in each section and find something from the farm to put into each section e.g. fleece, leaves, stones, grain.
  • Farm table - collect and display on table interesting items from farm or rural area. Encourage children to add to the collection from things they might find in their local area.
  • Discuss what they liked, disliked about the farm.
  • Look at contrasting pictures of old and new farming e.g. milking a cow. What is the same? What is different?
  • Feelie box - containing different natural items - fleece, stone, wood.
  • Extend children's vocabulary - "Is it hard, soft, squashy, scratchy?"
  • Sort items found in different ways - hard, soft, by colour etc.
  • Build model farms from natural materials.
  • Roll tractors in paint to look at the different tracks they make.
  • Build animal;s that can stand, have one moving part, pop up animals etc.
  • Make model farm from junk boxes, make fences out of strips of corrugated card.
  • Design and make a cosy house for an animal and discuss what it needs - 'What would be good materials to use?'
  • Computer programs - sorting/design/pictures/texts.
  • Recordings  - stories/poems/songs.
  • Make a map of the farm.
  • Show picture of farm and ask questions about position - 'What is next to the barn/what is behind the barn/what is in front of the barn?' Extend using farm pictures - 'Where would you expect to find the tractor/cows/chickens, etc.?' Children answer and place pictures in appropriate place.

Resources needed:

  • Egg boxes and cotton wool
  • Table in classroom put aside. Items to start it off brought baxk from teacher visit to farm
  • Finds from the farm
  • 'Feelie box'
  • Items from farm, rural location or school environment
  • Construction kits with wheels
  • Assorted junk/masking tape. Junk boxes/corrugated card/large piece of thick paper/card
    as base, paints
  • Small medium and large boxes
  • Toy animals of assorted sizes
  • Different materials - cotton wool, off cuts of different materials, straw, wood shavings
    Some contrasting ie obviously not appropriate materials
  • Appropriate softward
  • Story tapes, farm-animal sound tapes
  • Pictures of past and present farming activities

Curriculum area: Expressive arts and design

Activities:

  • Make collages out of natural materials collected on farm visit or rural walk.
  • Make prints of animals and farm. Use different objects to create different effects e.g. sponge
    for sheep's wool, corrugated card for fences.
  • Make hand-span print of a hen. Use paint prints of hand spans to make feathers.
  • Use playdough or plasticine to make own model animals for model farm.
  • Provide red and white paints. Can they make a pink pig? Provide red and green. Can they make a brown cow?
  • Give a variety of boxes and covers. Let children construct a farm yard.
  • Structured play - 'on the farm' using farm outfits and a farm play set.
  • When children have had time to practise improvisation in the structured play area have them give a short play using the farm play set.
  • Drama - acting-out the journey, interviewing farmers, interviewing each other, asking
    favourite/least favourite/funniest part of the journey to the farm.
  • Extend by acting-out familiar storyline.
  • Make shakers with different seeds. Record sounds. Can they match the shaker to the sound on
    the recording?

Resources needed:

  • Collage materials collected on farm or similar area
  • Paint, printing tools such as sponges, card, objects around classroom
  • Paint, selection of hands
  • Playdough, plasticine
  • Paint - powder or mixed
  • Boxes, cardboard and wooden covers, tyres
  • Wellies, overalls, toy tractor and stuffed toy animals, signs, labels, farm play set, boxes with sides cut out for barns, pens - anything that will help create a farm
  • Arrange chairs to resemble coach seating, toy microphone, coat/hat/wellies for farmer
  • Dressing-up clothes
  • Stiff paper or card, paper fasteners, glue, sticky tape
  • Seeds and plastic containers with lids to make shakers