We went from Fire to another fun four-letter F theme – Farm! It goes without saying that our farm-themed tot school week was a huge success! Weather got in the way of us visiting a real farm. It is a given though that I will revisit this theme in the summer. Based on how well this one went I would like to make a suggestion to those getting started with tot school: take a close look at the toys your child has, and make up a theme from there!
But first things first, here are our 13 farm tot trays and activities:
- Farm Animal Brochures
- Corn Sensory Bin
- Duplo Farm Block Matching
- Piggy Bank
- Mom & Baby Animal Cards
- String a Farm
- Puzzle and Farm Animal Match
- Circle Farm Sticker Matching
- Plow & Plant
- Feed the Animals
- Coloring Pages
- Farm Themed Books
- Farm Play Mat
- 3 free brochures for feeding animals
- 3 plastic animals to match (from his Kidoozie Funtime Tractor)
- Matching and “reading” as desired
- Larger scale!
- Bin – This is a bussing bin from the club store. Nice price in a 2 pack!
- Corn – This is deer feed. It is nice and smooth. I did NOT know *what* to buy for corn and apparently deer feed is the answer!
- Rice, Split Peas – Also included animal food (green split peas) and “water” (dyed blue rice)
- Toys – Included standard farm animals and tractors. Throughout the week we added new things to it, like measuring spoons and cups, trays and other farm toys to keep it fun.
- LEGO DUPLO My First Garden
- Ahead of time, made some simple 2-3 block configurations, took pictures, printed and cut
- Picked 3 pictures to start and only included blocks needed to replicate those
- (This activity is to help him play with Bunny Peek-a-Boo more!)
- Schylling Rubber Piggy Bank
- Container of random coins
- Put coins in, empty, and do it again!
- Found photos of various farm animal “moms” and babies
- Printed in color
- Formatted in Word and added text of each animal name
- Cut into squares – skipped laminating for now until I can gauge his interest.
- ALEX Toys String A Farm
- He hasn’t seen this toy in probably 3 months so it’ll be interesting to see how he takes to it.
- Farm puzzle from Melissa & Doug Animals Mini-Puzzle Pack
- Plus four farm animals to match
- Going to let him see how he wants to group the animals and puzzle pieces.
- Setup quick template in Word to have sticker on one side and empty circle to put matching sticker on the other side
- Printed on cardstock and cut
- Stuck OTC Farm Stickers to circles, included six more for matching
- Idea from Sun Hats & Wellie Boots — thank you!
- Mixed homemade dough to make ‘land’ (one dough w/green glitter was a nice effect)
- Small tube to flatten the dough into land
- Tractor to make rows for planting
- Black bean “seeds” to plant
- Put it all in a tray with a ribbed bottom for extra textures.
- Two containers of “feed” – dried parsley and cornmeal
- Two small paper cups with cardstock circles to match each feed
- Pinch Dash Smidgen Measuring Spoons (hey, wait, my set doesn’t have a ‘nip’!)
- Cow and pig animals (the other two from his Kidoozie Funtime Tractor)
- Open-ended; scoop the feed for the animals!
- Simply tore farm-themed pages out of old coloring book
- Included triangular crayons
Some of his favorite books are already farm-related. We will also head to the library to check out some more!
- For Christmas he received a very neat mat with a farm scene! This is for playing on the floor with the sensory bin items.
I think I have said it enough — he loved these Farm Tot Trays. The sensory bin is a must-have in the winter! D and I are contemplating whether to put it away or not. The great thing is, we got all that corn for about $8 and we still have probably 2/3 of a bag more — perfect to fill up a plastic kiddie pool!
The original idea for “feeding the animals” had me making a ‘menu’ and E would scoop out each animal’s meal, say 1 scoop parsley, 2 scoops oats and 1 scoop cornmeal. I decided to skip the formality and save the ‘menu’ idea for later! Also, I had originally planned to pick up a cheap bottle of parsley from the dollar store. But after a look in the pantry I see our huge bag of parsley from Penzeys. Would you believe how much parsley actually fits in a 1 oz. bag ($3.45?) Penzeys actually says — about 2 cups! Taking a scoop out for this activity didn’t even show. So an idea: buy quality spices in bulk and snatch a little for homeschool activities!
Our farm tot trays theme says a lot about working with what you have. The only items I purchased for this were the circle stickers and green lentils — both of which we will of course use again. I also utilized one of my favorite random activities from my childhood — taking free brochures!
One of the goals in this set was for him to use the Duplo blocks to re-create configurations I made and took pictures of to include with the blocks. That did not click with him at all. That is fine of course! It is probably really hard to connect a 2-dimensional picture of blocks with real blocks in 3 dimensions. My next idea is to use other blocks (maybe just simple Legos), make a configuration, then include it plus blocks for him to make a second one.
After the sensory bin, the Plow & Plant idea from Sun Hats & Wellie Boots was his favorite. We actually had the activity out the first two days, put it away (switched with the Feed the Animals activity), then got it out again with more dough and a variety of beans, not just black. It is just such a cute activity!
A final note on this theme, I could have made 13 more activities. So many fun ways to play with the farm!
I’m proud to be linking this post up to 1+1+1=1’s Tot School Gathering Place with activities that E enjoyed at 32 months old!