Monday, October 21, 2013

On the Farm Unit for Toddlers - Part 2

Was I too ambitious when I planned spending only one week per thematic with my toddler or was the farm theme just was one of those themes that requires more time than most topics? Anyhow...Zahavah and I ended up spending two weeks instead of one "On the Farm" and we both really enjoyed every minute of it. We'll see if we need to adjust down the road and spend two weeks on each unit or whether it's only for certain ones but for now...let me share with you the rest of our Farm Unit...

Farm Sensory Bin Close Up
Farm Sensory Bin

First Sensory Bin of the School Year! Part of me missed making them, part of me...didn't. Adrian was never really fond of them. He liked a few but overall never liked them that much so making them always felt like it was very time consuming considering the time he spent exploring them. I must say Zahavah REALLY liked this one and spent a lot of time "playing" with it. I based it on an idea I saw on The Imagination Tree but toned mine down! :) I used a Melissa & Doug wooden crate and filled it with yellow split peas. Scattered some farm animals around (Safari Ltd Toobs farm babies and farm animals) as well as a few real pinecones in a corner, a few real shrub leaves in another and a few real wheat sprigs in another. In the middle I put a cow bell (which Zahavah loved to ring!).  Around the crate, I installed a white picket fence with more animals, a tub with blue colored water and a small tub filled with coffee ground (very aromatic). I tried to make it appealing to as many senses as possible as it is a sensory bin. Not pictured but also provided were a small wooden rake and spoon from Montessori Services as well as two small plastic bin Zahavah filled to "Feed" the animals around the fence.

Farm Sensory Bin
"Aerial View" of Farm Sensory Bin

Muddy Pigs Sensory BinSensory Bin Fed Animals 
The pigs getting muddy and the livestock getting fed

Farm Animals Stencil Painting
Art: Farm Stenciling with Paint

Stenciling can be fun even for toddlers. These farm stencils were too intricate for tracing...but not for painting. Zahavah being in love with all things painting, I let her pick a color and paint over one animal at a time. She loved stenciling and made one farm animal everyday. Found the stencils at Hobby Hobby. 

Baster Water Transfer
Practical Life: Transferring Water with a Baster

Water fun is...always fun! Zahavah transfered all the colored water from one glass to the other using the turkey baster you see above. She loved seeing the water going in the "tube". As it was her first time, it was a learning process for the squeezing and releasing of the baster pumping head. We'll be doing more of those as whole hand transfers are important to prepare for future handwriting. 

Stamping Farm Animals on Blank Farm Scene
Creating a Farm Scene with Farm Animal Stamps

This was a very well loved activity. Zahavah loves stamping (what child doesn't?) and having the liberty to create her own scene was simply magical to her. She picked up her tray with this empty farmyard and stamped all the animals in the field, stables and yard. She then went on to color the rest.

1:1 Chickens and Corn
Math: 1 to 1 Correspondence : Feeding Corn to Chickens

A math readiness activity involving farm animals and their feed! I printed a chicken grid game and provided 20 corn kernels for Zahavah to feed the chicken. Picking up the corn with her tiny fingers was  great for her fine motor skills as well. Not easy as they are tiny...

Stamping Activity Farm Animal Sounds
Who Made that Noise? A Stamping/Listening Activity

Having purchased a set of Farm stamps for "Farm week" for both Zahavah and Adrian, I needed to make sure they would be used more than once. One of the activities I had in mind for that week was the one you see here: a listening activity where Zahavah listens to a farm animal noise, identifies the animal who made the noise and stamps that animal down on the paper. She LOVED doing that. I made two columns per sheet (made those basic sheets myself) but we repeated the activity everyday! :) Of course, some animals didn't get to be heard (such as the rabbit) but they got to be used as stamps in the farm scene activity seen earlier in this post.

Number or Animal Sorting
Math: Number or Farm Animal?

Before doing any real math activities, there's math readiness. The tray above was prepared with that in mind. I mixed numbers and farm animals in a basket and Zahavah had to sort the numbers (taken off a puzzle) from the farm animals.

Pouring Beans Pitchers
Practical Life: Pouring Dry Beans from Pitcher to Pitcher with Handles

Dry pouring with red kidney beans. Initially planned on using lima beans but didn't have any on hand. Zahavah used two small pitchers with handles to do the pouring (purchased through Montessori Services).

Muddy Pig Painting
Art and Fine Motor: Using a mini sponge to create a muddy piggy

Zahavah likes the idea of a muddy piglet and loves paint so this activity was a no brainer. I cut out a pink pig from construction paper, prepared a bowl filled with brown washable paint and...a tiny sponge (1/2 inch cube). Why the tiny sponge? Well, it forces the child to use their pincer grip (thumb and index finger) and it's never too early to develop the pincer grip, right? :)

Farm Peg Puzzles
Math/Fine Motor: Farm Themed Puzzles

Puzzles are a great teaching tool to children. Unfortunately, Zahavah is just in the middle of a huge breakthrough where peg puzzles such as the ones above are too easy and the the jigsaw puzzles required just a bit too tough when not chosen by me (or require help which she dislikes at times!). I still put out these four puzzles out this week (all made by Melissa & Doug) but Zahavah had little interest. I am eyeing a farm floor puzzle with a farm theme made by Melissa & Doug for her upcoming birthday. That one would have been perfect! :)

Farm Animals Cards and Figures
Matching Real Farm Animal Pictures to Animal Figures

Having matched each farm animals to their exact matching picture earlier in the week, I now put out real pictures of farm animals and figures for Zahavah to match. It demanded more attention as some animals were now be different in color, position, size, etc. It was revision time and she did excellent! Time to move to our new unit! :)

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  1. I love the pig activity! Sunshine, almost 2 and Bulldozer who's 4, would go nuts over that. I've pinned it for our unit next year. The other activities are great too. Thanks for sharing!

    1. The little piggy was a big hit with my daughter so I'm sure your little ones would like it too. Maybe even the older ones. My son showed interest and he is 5! :) Farm week is always thrilling over here with so much to do! :)

  2. I have been loving all your toddler posts - thank you so much for the inspiration!

    1. Glad you like the posts! My toddler is having lots of fun learning and is actually delighted to see herself on the computer "Re-doing" the activities! :) I should be posting our Fall Week activities next week...

  3. These are such awesome ideas! I love the muddy pig pen and also the farm scene with the stamps! Thanks so much for sharing.

    1. Glad you like it! It was a fun week with lots of activities my little one wanted to do over and over again. I'm sure other children would be just the same! :)

  4. I love the farm sensory bin. How cool is that?!

    1. It was a never-ending fun. She explored that bin for a long time and I'm sure she'd love to see me put it back together! :)

  5. I've been so very excited about all of these amazing ideas since I first read your posts back in October. I'm getting ready to set this up for my 2 1/2 year old and I think he's going to love it!

    1. I truly hope he does! Thank you for your kind words Sarah!

    2. So, we did a farm unit - and loved it!

      Finally blogged about it here...

      Thank you for continuing to inspire me,

    3. I'm glad to hear! I took a look at your post and blog and it looked sensational. Thank you for the awesome credit as well! I hope your adventures in Montessori land will be as fun as ours has been so far! :)