You know how there are some things in life you just can’t wait to introduce your kids to? Maybe it’s fishing, or football, or some great place you have been. Well, I get super excited by all things farm. I’ve always wanted to be a farmer, probably because I only see all the fun bits and haven’t actually experienced all the hard work! But in any case, I don’t think any childhood is complete without a bit of farm fun, so this was a theme I was keen to explore. And what better time for it than Spring! I tried to time it to coincide with farm babies time, because who doesn’t love the cute little lambs and calves. Well, Little Bean sure does so I knew this theme would go down a treat. Here’s what we got up to.
Little Bean is 2 years 4 months.
Farm Animal Figures
Little Bean loves pretend play, especially with anything you can feed or put to bed, so she had a lot of fun, free play with this box of Shleich farm animals (UK link/US link). These are great because they are so realistic and really rather lovely. The detailed-ness of them makes for a great vocabulary building opportunity, Little Bean was forever asking what different parts are called. Sometimes I had to look it up. I made sure to have a box of wooden blocks nearby as Little Bean often likes to combine her animals with some block play.
Little Bean also often initiated a game of Montessori I Spy with these animals. Being right in the middle of the sensitive period for language she is naturally very interested in language and how it works so she loves this game and often asks to play it. I’ll write a post about it soon.
Play doh with Farm Cutters
A simple little tray with some farm theme cutters and a rolling pin. I don’t leave the play doh on the tray but you could include some in an easy to open container. You know your child, you know whether you are likely to end up with it rubbed into the carpet or not.
There is a great recipe on Living Montessori Now for some no cook play doh.
Melissa and Doug Reusable Farm Stickers
These are from the habitats reusable sticker pad (UK link/US link). There are five different habitat scenes in the pad, each with its own corresponding set of stickers. In the photo, the farm scene is underneath the sheet of stickers. Stickers are great for working on fine motor movements and always go down a treat with Little Bean.
Nuts and Bolts
Lining up the nut and bolt then turning it to screw it on is a really complex sequence of movements and, of course, it’s great fun for toddlers! This work is also small enough that it can easily be popped into a little bag for some Montessori work on the go.
In a Montessori environment real objects are always preferable, but for little hands that are still learning (and little mouths that are still mouthing) these larger wooden nuts and bolts are great. These ones are from the Melissa and Doug Take-Along Tool Kit (UK link/US link).
Farm Animal Puzzles
Some simple two piece jigsaw puzzles, great for working on matching skills, problem solving and fine motor movements. These puzzles have been a firm favourite for months, although they are actually probably too simple for her now. These lovely puzzles are the Orchard Toys Farmyard set and they come with six different animals in the box (UK link/US link).
Egg Tong Transfer
This has been the most popular work on the shelf. It was really easy to put together. I got some little plastic eggs, the fillable kind people get for Easter (UK link/US link), together with some tongs (I recommend silicone coated ones, the eggs are a bit slippy. We have these – UK link/something similar in US) and an old egg box. I don’t know what it is about them but Little Bean just loves these eggs! They have been a great open and close activity too.
Farm Animal Object to Picture Matching
A classic toddler work in the Montessori environment and one that builds the skills necessary for reading later on. This was the first time we had tried this as a shelf work, although Little Bean has on occasion started matching figures to pictures in books. She would often work with this material, however she rarely finished it. I think I probably started with too many cards for her concentration span, I expect six would have been better. For this work I again used the Shleich farm animals (see link above) and the images from a set of farm animal nomenclature cards, which I laminated (the cards can be found for free here). If you would like more information about object to picture matching see this post at The Kavanaugh Report.
Drawing with Chalk – Patches on a Cow
I wanted to make sure we had at least one art tray that tied in with our theme, and this was it. I cut some cow shapes out of black card and put some white chalk in a little dish for her to use to draw on the white patches. I also placed a cow on the tray for a little inspiration. I’m not sure if this counts as process art but I certainly gave her free reign to draw whatever and however she wanted on the card.
One of Little Bean’s finished cows. “Colourful udders, Mummy!” 😍
Gross Motor Happy Hopperz
This fun little cow is like a space hopper but with the added stability of four little legs. It’s great for balance and core muscle strength, and hopping around all over the place like Little Bean does is certainly a good workout. They have lots of different designs but we love our black and white cow (UK link/US link).
And that’s it for our farm theme. Our theme for April is spring! Yay!
P.S This post is linking up with Montessori Monday!
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