It all started when I began preparing for my second child’s first birthday party. We chose the farm as a party theme. Then, I used the theme as inspiration in coming up with games and activities during the party. Our guests loved the theme and the games. But I guess our kids loved the theme so much that months after my second child’s first birthday party, my kids are still playing and enjoying farm-related games and activities inspired by the games we played at my son’s farm-themed birthday party. You may click here to read about our farm-themed birthday party program in detail. Our farm party theme turned out to be a seedbed of many wonderful pretend play scenarios and home school lessons.
The kids actually started learning about the farm even before our second child’s birthday party. We had been reading books about the farm to them and they really enjoyed it. Their curiosity about the farm was intensified when we started preparing the materials and props for our farm-themed kiddie party. We bought plaid tops and farmer hats, plastic fruit and vegetable toys and baskets. We made farm-related crafts and art projects. You may click here, here, here and here to see some of them. We sang and danced to the music of songs about farm animals. I also taught my kids the barn dance. My youngest son (the birthday boy) loved it very much especially the tap-tap-tap and clap-clap-clap portion of the dance. My kids and I still use our costumes and props when we play at home. It makes us enjoy our pretend play even more.
Here are activities/scenarios that they like to imitate and the lessons they learn while engaging in these activities.
Planting and Harvest time – Reading books about the farm paved the way for our discussions about life on the farm. One of the things that I was able to discuss with them is the concept/law of the farm that when you plant, you harvest. But it takes some time before you can harvest. So, it would be good to be busy with something else while waiting for harvest time. One time, we drew a farm scene in a manila paper. My eldest son asked me to draw the vegetables in our vegetable garden. He and his younger brother colored it. Then, I scattered the plastic toys in the house and gave each one of them a basket. They went around “harvesting” fruits and vegetables. This was similar to the game we had in my youngest son’s birthday party where the kids raced to harvest farm produce. Talking about harvesting and planting enabled me to introduce farm machines as well. I read books to them showing these things.
Farmer’s Market – Through our farm pretend play, I was able to share with my kids that farmers sell their farm products in the Farmer’s Market. They love this pretend play! Since my youngest just turned one, he’s the customer most of the time. My eldest is the farmer selling his produce. Sometimes, he also pretends to sell other farm products like eggs and farm animals. They use play money in their transaction. My eldest gets to practice his Math skills in counting, addition and subtraction. He also gets to practice his writing skills because he puts up signs in his stall. He learns about the farm business as we play. My youngest learns to identify objects through their pretend play and to differentiate between fruits and vegetables. Sometimes, he helps his brother set up his stall by separating the fruits from the vegetables in the display. We like playing “bring me” games with my youngest son, too. We’re delighted every time he brings us the correct fruit or vegetable.
Restaurant in the Farm – This is also one of their favorites. They pretend to cook the vegetables that they harvest from their farm. Then, they pretend to make fruit shakes. I teach them simple recipes as we pretend to cook dishes using their plastic toys. It helps my eldest to become familiar with the ingredients of some dishes. We use some of my youngest son’s books and pretend they are our menu. This pretend play teaches them that when they plant, they will not go hungry because they can cook what they harvest. Moreover, it influences their real food and drink choices. Pretending to eat fruits and vegetables at play prepares them for mealtimes. Kids also get to practice their Math and Applied Math skills in this activity as they pretend to run their restaurant.
Caring for farm animals – One of the games we had at my son’s birthday party is to ask the kids to help the farmer/birthday boy to gather his animals back in the farm. Two teams raced to round out the animals and bring them back to the big red barn. At home, we read more about farm life. We talk about where the animals live on the farm, what they eat, what they do, etc. We also color some cut outs or coloring pages. Both of my kids loved imitating the sounds that farm animals make. Sometimes, we imitate their actions, too. Recently, we went to a zoo where they saw farm animals too. They enjoyed that field trip very much!
I plan to bring them to a real farm this summer. I’m excited to see how they would react as they see real farm animals in action and different fruits and vegetables that we usually talk about in our farm pretend plays. I’m sure they will find that experience fascinating as well.
School is already over for most kids but it’s still possible for kids to keep on learning this summer. These kinds of pretend plays can mean hours of fun and learning for your little ones. Try them and have fun with your kids pretending to be on the farm!
Here are some of the books we have about the farm:
- The Three Little Pigs (with house and finger puppets)
- Clifford’s Animal Sounds
- Big Red Barn
- On the Farm
- Farm (Lift the Flap)
- Click, Clack, Moo, Cows that Type
- Animals by Brainy Baby
- Fruits and Vegetables Lovely Mini Padded Board Book
- Farm Animals (A Mini Magic Color Book)
- Farm cloth book by Fisher Price