We are working on a farm unit currently, mainly because Mr. Two is just enamored with animals, especially ducks and chicks and cows. I am also loving the springy weather, and the farm seemed a natural springy choice.
Here are a few fun activities we worked on using the same little play mat.
I found the barn image here, then made a small table in Word with 30 rectangles to paste into the barn. I copied the mats on cardstock, colored the barns and laminated them for durability.
I found the tiny farm animals at the Target Dollar Spot a few years back and am so glad I snatched them up. I let my boys play with the animals, for some open-ended play time, for several days before attempting to use them in a more controlled activity.
First activity: Dice Roll Fill the Barn
You will need:
30 small animal counters
Roll the die and count out the same number of animals onto the barn mat. Roll again and add the next amount onto the mat. Continue until you have filled the barn.
This is great one-to-one correspondence and counting practice for preschoolers.
Extend the activity:
Ask children to count the animals all together when you have filled the barn.
Ask children which animal they had the most of or the least of. Ask them to explain how they came up with their answer. Did they simply count and compare? Did they estimate? Did they sort their animals first and compare after?
Second Activity: Fill the Barn Graph
You will need:
a handful of small animal counters
How to play:
Sort the handful of animals. Place on the barn mat to make a bar graph. Compare the different animals and talk about the findings of the graph together.
Some questions to ask:
Which group had the most? least? any that were the same?
How can you tell?
Why is your graph different from _______'s graph? What is different? Is anything the same?
If you grabbed another handful of animals and graphed the new handful, would your graph look different or the same? Why?
How can you tell which animal was the most/least without counting?
Have fun filling your barn!