Monday, September 2, 2013

Farm Week

This week we learned a lot about farms, growing crops, seeds, harvesting and enjoying the great outdoors. We had a pretty busy social week, as it was the last week of Summer and all of our friends wanted to meet up, so we missed out on some of our home school activities, but we still got down and dirty doing farm experiments and crafts.

Theme Play Stations

We have a lot of farm toys, every thing from plastic figurines to large tractors so I decided to make some play stations in our play room. For a designated time, I only let the boys play with the stations I set up. In the play room it's hard, because they have a lot of bins and a whole closet full of project materials, but I stood my ground, and they actually had a lot of fun.

Safari plastic people, farm and ranch themed.

Our Little People Farm set

I also had different non-farm related play stations set up

Practice with snaps, buttons, zippers and buckles

And of course music! How can you have farm week without Old MacDonald?!

Reading Centers
Each week we make a trip to the Library to get books based on our theme. There are about a million farm books out there. 

Theo is very much in love with interactive books, Pop ups and touch and feel books are some of his favorites, and as a very tactile child, it makes perfect sense. We like the Baby Loves brand and the Baby Touch and Feel books.

Other books we enjoyed this week are:

Baby Danced the Polka by Karen Beaumont
Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin
Little Blue Truck Leads the Way by Alice Schertle
Moo by Matthew Van Fleet
The Ox-Cart Man by Donald Hall
The Cow That Laid an Egg by Andy Cutbill
The Little Rabbit Who LIke to Say Moo by Jonathan Allen
Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown
Old MacDonald Had an Apartment House by Judi Barrett

Sensory Play
My boys LOVE their water table, but sometimes you can make an old toy new by adding an new element to it. This time, I put corn and sunflower seeds in the bins! I added a few tractors, farm animals and characters and the boys had a blast!

How Does Your Garden Grow?
We live in a place with not a lot of shade and a more sunny days than Florida. I was desperate to add some color and life to our zero-scaped backyard. The boys and I went to our local garden center and picked up a few plants to add just a touch of color. It was also the perfect opportunity to talk about the plant life cycle, the difference between buds and flowers, and it's a great way to get dirty. My boys are big fans of The Little Einsteins there is an episode called Farmer Annie and the crew helps some pigs plant some seeds. The Einsteins go through the whole process, from digging soil to watering to getting sun to adding love. After we finished planting our plants, Henrik insisted that we add love to the plants by singing them a song, it was pretty cute. I told him that we could show them love by making sure we watered them each day. He thought we could do more :)

Farmer's Market Field Trip
We are very lucky to live in a place where there is a different Farmer's Market each day of the week! We've been to two different ones here and each time my boys find something new that they absolutely enjoy. Because it was farm week, while we were at the market I asked the boys different questions at each stand. What color are the fruits? What kind of veggies are there? How do carrots grow? Can you find the food that grows on trees? They were up and out of their stroller the whole time getting active and talking with the farmers about their products. The best part of this field trip was when I gave the boys money and asked them to pick out whatever they wanted so we could have it for dinner that day. They were beyond thrilled that they could really be involved in the shopping and dinner prep experience. 

 Seed Science
When I was in elementary school I remember doing a project where we grew beans in a plastic bag in the window. I wanted to do the same with with my boys so I could actually show them how roots and stems form. I asked Henrik to tell me what plants or seeds need in order to grow, he of course said soil, sun and water. I then asked him if we could grow plants in a bag with a wet paper towel! He said he didn't think so because there wouldn't be any dirt! We did the project and checked back each day and wrote down in our Field Journal our findings. Mostly he drew pictures, but we looked at each seed to see if there were any signs of life. He thought he was a regular farmer-scientist!

Because he didn't think that the ones in the bags would grow, (and I had a hunch in advance) I picked up a few containers from JoAnn Fabrics that had a window cut out. We planted our "control seeds" in these plants so we could watch as the seeds took root.

We placed them in the sun and waited. Henrik replied, "being a farmer is a lot of waiting". He has no idea. 

My boys like to do projects so I got my craft on and came up with some cute crafts to build our own farm! 

First we made horses! I took a cereal box and cut out horse shapes, but punched holes for the mane and tail. I'd highly suggest using a hole punch so the hole is big enough, I couldn't find mine so the holes were a bit too small. It was a good challenge though! 

Next we made sheep! The boys liked this one better, probably because glue was involved. They thought it was fun putting the glue on their handprints and making the sheep fluffy. You just add eyes and a mouth to the thumb and you've got a sheep. 

Of course, you'll need a barn once you have all the animals, so we got out some craft sticks and of course more glue. I drew a barn on some paper and had the boys put the craft sticks on the sketch I drew. It got a little messy, and it took some time for it to dry, but at least they had fun. 


After everything dried, you put it all together and get a cute little farm! 

Find The Farm
I found a really fun teaching site where I found these printables. I wanted Henrik to get some practice tracing objects to get better at his writing skills and hand coordination. Once he was done tracing the dots to get the animals to the barn, I had him practice his cutting skills. Theo practiced his stamping skills while we did this craft. 

I hope that some of these crafts or projects give you and your kids a fun afternoon! We sure had a great time together! 

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