Saturday, September 8, 2012

Down on the farm in preschool

By Laura Eldredge

It's apple picking time here in New England, and we are fortunate to be close by to many local farms.  So as the seasons change from summer to fall, we get ready to pick our own apples, peaches, pumpkins and corn!  This lends itself to great opportunities in our preschool classes to talk about where our food comes from, how it grows, and ways to prepare food.

We also get to see farm animals (cows, chickens, goats) - and sometimes the children are even able to pet them.

If one is close to your location, a field trip to a local farm or apple orchard is a great experience for young children. 

We start off with a tractor ride to take us out to the trees that are in season. This is always exciting for the kids!

 Pick an orchard where trees are small and apples are within easy reach for little hands.

In October, it's time for the pumpkins!

Have you ever milked a goat before?

Don't have a farm available close by?  Well then, if you can't bring the kids to the farm ... it's time to bring the farm to the kids!

Bringing the FARM into the classroom!
Set the stage for a Farm theme by decorating your classroom to look more "farm-like". 

Use an area around a window or opening to assemble a tractor out of construction paper shapes.

More construction paper on the walls can be made to look like a barn.

Wrap a large box in yellow construction paper, and attach some hay or raffia to it to make a haystack. 

Construct a cardboard or wooden cow. You can use a sawhorse to prop up the cow, and attach the glove filled with milk (or construct the "utters" using a large bucket with holes at the bottom).
 Have children actually milk the cow!
Have an in-school apple orchard demonstration
(here Ms. Brittany holds an actual apple tree branch, and Ms. Kim brought in an apple barrel that she uses for collecting apples at her farm)

Fall farming fun activity round-up
Now that the stage is set ... infuse more apple orchard and farm experiences with a few of these ideas!  

Laura Eldredge is a teacher and curriculum coordinator at a NAEYC accredited early childhood program in Connecticut. She also co-founded the website The SEEDS Network, as a way to provide early childhood professionals with ideas and resources that support them in their quest to provide quality care and education to our youngest learners. She blogs at


  1. This was SUCH a fun walk down memory lane. I grew up on a farm in WI and I just LOVED it when I got to give a tour to a school group! Farmer Bob (my dad) loved it when they wrote notes of thanks and drew him pictures of their visit!!

    Do you know the book I Want Your Moo by Marcella Weiner? That'd be a fun follow up.

    The Corner On Character

    1. Thanks Barbara! I'm sure it was a great experience for you giving tours of your farm (and great for the kids visiting)!

      I just reserved "I want your moo" from my library - I haven't read that one yet! Two of my other favorite farm books are "It's a perfect day" and "The cow who clucked".

  2. Thanks so much for your kind words and links to my posts! We are actually right in the middle of our farm unit this year and I am going to try your cow milking/easel idea this week!I love the haystack, too! I'll bet I make one of these for our farm center before the week is through! :)

    1. I'd love to see what you do, Ayn! We will start our farm theme in a couple of weeks, too!

  3. So may I ask, did you enjoy I Want Your Moo? I hope so!! Neigh Moo Neigh...Gobblejulah!

    Anyway, just to let you know we (my coauthor and myself) have a sequel out, called Toodles & Teeny, starring the same turkey, and her barnyard friends.

    Here it is:

    Hope you like Moo.
    Jill Neimark


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