Down on the farm

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By Jean Evansearly years consultant and author

Find out about farm life through small-world exploration

Down on the farm

Small-world farm area

Choose a suitable area for the children to have comfortable access to floor and table space, floor cushions and low display boards.

Put a farm-themed play mat on the carpet and leave boxes of small-world farm animals, people, fences, gates and buildings alongside it. Display farm-related fiction and non-fiction books, together with story and rhyme bags, beside the large floor cushions. Drape a low table in a farm-patterned fabric and use this for associated puzzles, sound-effect games and a tape recorder. Fill the display boards with posters, pictures and the children’s own farm-related artwork.

Invite the children to visit the farm area. Initially, join them to encourage effective use of the resources. Demonstrate how to use the recording and playback facilities to create their own animal-sound recordings, Complete animal-themed puzzles together and spend time reading stories and saying rhymes related to farms with the children. Suggest that they bring in pictures and drawings from home to add to the display.

Do not underestimate the value of observing child-initiated play in the area.

Suggested resources

Floor cushions; low display boards; low tables; posters, pictures and photographs of farm life (see the ‘Farm animals’ poster); farm play mat; small-world animals, characters, fences and gates; farm puzzles; sound-effect games; farm story and rhyme bags; fiction books such as Farmer Duck and The Pig in the Pond both by Martin Waddell (Walker Books); non-fiction books with clear photographs, such as Farm Animals (Lift-the-flap series, Dorling Kindersley); children’s own pictures, photographs and drawings of farms.

1 Where do they go?

Match the farm animals and help them to find a home

Mathematics

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