Farm-Themed Invitation to Play & Sequencing
Kade has always loved everything and anything farm animals, ever since he first heard the song "Old MacDonald" and he started to learn animal sounds. We keep his Little People barn and animals out quite a bit as it is a well-loved and frequently visited activity. We also have some bath toy farm animals, a Melissa & Doug chunky wooden farm puzzle, and some toy tractors that we picked up at a county fair with mimi & pop pop last summer that are all just as well-loved. He loves his "Pete the Cat: Old MacDonald Had a Farm" book, and has been especially into the book "Big Red Barn" lately. He loves saying goodnight to all the farm animals, and the scarecrow at the end and often times has us skip the rest of the story just to get to that part.
In one of our more recent Bookroo subscription boxes, we received the simple and adorable lift-the-flap board book, "If You See a Cow." It features an animal on each page and the sound they make, until at the end where it says "If you see a farmer, say 'How do you do?'" There are only 4 animals featured, plus the farmer, and we had them all in bath toy form so it inspired a little extended farm play this week. Additional links to materials used/mentioned in this post are at the end. :)
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I had bought some pinto beans recently in hopes of finding a way to use them for sensory play and they were perfect for this. I dumped two bags into a medium-sized, clear plastic storage tub, added a tractor and the farmer that came with it, along with the 4 animals featured in the book. We also have a little brown fence that goes with some other farm toy that we have so I threw that in with a couple of little cups and a spoon for "feeding" the animals, and other general scooping, and dumping activities. ;) I set his barn out next to the tub as an option for play, too, but he honestly didn't even touch it. It's always great to give options because you never know what is going to draw out their creativity and imagination!
(PS before sharing all these pictures, I feel the need to touch on the no-pants situation... he napped without pants this particular day and this was a post-nap activity. Once he saw all the goods I had set out for him, there was no stopping for pants. I didn't feel like fighting it).
This was all I did for the "invitation to play" portion of the activity which is supposed to spur on imaginative/creative pretend play (and that it did). Kade was thrilled to see more beans in a tub (he is very entertained by this type of sensory play) and was also excited to see some familiar little farm friends. He drove the tractor, pretended to feed the animals, and did a whole lot of scooping and dumping of the beans.
Once the initial excitement of the little farm scene died down, I brought out the book and we read it together. I intrigued him by asking if he wanted to "play a game" with the animals. ;) I had written numbers 1-5 on a white piece of paper with arrows to show direction for sequencing. I slid the page into a plastic sheet protector just for good measure, and had it sitting on a cookie sheet so that the animals could stand if he wanted them to (since we were playing on carpet).
I told him that I wanted him to find each animal as we read about it and put it on its special number on the tray. I showed him how to put the first animal (the cow) on the number 1 (bonus number identification practice), the sheep on the number 2, and so on. He got the hang of where to put the characters by the end and the goal was that he would eventually remember the order of events without me reading the book to him. We didn't get this far because I don't know if you know, but 2-year-olds don't have a very long attention span. ;) I plan to come back to this with him another time though to work on it a little more.
This was our first time really working on the sequencing skill and it was such a fun way to do it! There are so many great kids' books out there to teach this skill and if you can get the actual materials for little ones to get their hands on - even better. Here are links to some of the materials we used:
Other materials may be linked throughout the post, otherwise feel free to ask if there is ever anything you're wondering about that I don't link to! Happy farming! :)