If we were to do a survey of things that children just love to do, we’re sure that making things and animals would be right at the very top! Weekends and school holidays are the perfect time to try out new ideas and we’ve brought you our top five farm animal activities that will keep your little ones occupied. And don't worry - we have checked out what you will need so no mid-activity trips to the shops necessary. Time for lots of fun on the farm!
Pigs in the Mud Alphabet Surprise
Great for learning uppercase letters, this is a fun way for pre-schoolers to learn and have fun at the same time. Watch the letters appear as you clean the mud off – never has cleaning been so much fun!
What do we need? Set of 26 pink pigs in squares, laminator, brown tempera paint and paint brushes, jar of soapy water, paper and pens.
How do we do it? Either print the pigs from a template or make them yourself – if you make them, add an uppercase letter on each pig’s belly and then laminate them. Grab a paint brush and dot the paint (don’t rub as it will slide off) on the bellies of the pigs. You don’t have to wait for the paint to dry. Now comes the exciting part! Get the children to take a paint brush each and start cleaning the naughty muddy piggies! Allow kids to get as messy as they like (put newspaper on the table first) and let them discover the letters underneath. Younger children can think of animals beginning with their letters (you may need to help them with the phonetics) and older children can collect all their letters and make short animal-related words.
Shear the sheep!
This has to be our favourite and one that you may just end up doing when the children have gone to bed! It's a brilliant way of getting children to learn about the farm and a great way of explaining how and why shearing takes place.
What do we need? Ikea white stool, black card, white sticky labels, contact paper or sticky backed plastic, sellotape, cotton wool balls.
How do we do it? The stool is the perfect shape for the sheep’s body. Stick the contact paper onto both sides of the body with the sticky side facing out. Push the cotton wool balls onto the sticky paper – you will be tempted to do them in lines, but if children are involved you should just let them stick them on however they like. Make the sheep’s head and ears from the black card and cut white sticky labels into eyes, adding small black circles for pupils. Then give each child one side and the quickest one to shear the sheep (taking off the cotton balls) is the winner. They can then stick the cotton balls back on ready for the cold winter!
Easter Chick Slime
Children love nothing more than slime – no matter the colour or consistency, slime is exciting! Add an Easter theme by making this brilliant jar – you can make your own slime by finding recipes on the internet, but it’s much simpler to buy it we think!
What do we need? Lots of yellow or light coloured slime, yellow plastic mason jars and lids, orange and yellow card, stick on eyes, glue.
How do we do it? Make the chick by cutting out feet and a beak from orange card and a tail from yellow card. Glue them onto your jar and then stick the eyes on. If you are using a jar with a hole for a straw, you will need to glue that closed too. Then let the children be in charge of the most fun part – adding the squishy slime to the jar. This makes the perfect addition to a child's Easter basket.
Farm animal washing station
This will not only impress little ones, but will bring back lovely memories of your own childhood – who didn’t love bathing animals and dolls in a plastic pool? Make this an extra exciting activity by creating beds out of straw for the farm animals to rest in and use plastic fences and troughs from children’s farm sets to complete the scene.
What do we need? Plastic bowls, soapy water, earth, old toothbrushes and cloths, plastic farm animals, optional straw, plastic fences and troughs.
How do we do it? Get your muddy area ready by mixing earth with water to make it moist and put it into a plastic bowl – the bigger the better. Let the children play farmers, using their imaginations to think of different farm scenarios. Then when they are ready, get them to wash and dry the animals and place them in their straw pens for the night with fences all around and troughs filled up with clean water. Mini shredded wheat make good bales of hay if you are stuck!
Popsicle Farm Sticks
Teach younger children the names of their favourite farm animals and ask older children to describe them as they make these fun animal lolly sticks.
What do we need? Lolly sticks, paint and paintbrushes, assorted buttons, felt tips, stick on eyes, foam sheets, brown cotton, scissors, glue.
How do we do it? Paint the lolly sticks (you can get already painted ones but this is part of the fun) and allow to dry – ask the children to choose the correct colours for their animals. Use the foam sheets to cut out ears and then glue them on. Glue the eyes on and the buttons for mouths and cut and glue brown thread for the horse’s mane. Use pens to add details to mouths and eyebrows and for cows and spotty dogs, add black colour spots.
We hope that you have fun with these farm ideas – why not come and stay on one of our fabulous working farms to see the real thing!