We had a farm week last week! Having a topic for the week really helped us to focus our play a little more and I found that the preschooler was asking lots more questions and wanting to find things out for himself because we kept revisiting the same topic. I think we will have more themed weeks like this.
The first thing we did was to set up a Tuff Spot farm world, which we brought out every day to play with. This provided us with lots of opportunities for conversations as well as lots of messy and sensory play. We used the Tuff spot farm world as our basis for discussion, linking our play to our chosen story books too.
To set up the farm world, we talked about what animals lived on the farm. The preschooler has a Playmobile Farm/ zoo set and we talked about which animals belonged at the zoo rather than the farm. We talked about what farms looked like and the preschooler decided that we needed some mud! I used this recipe for my inspiration for the mud. I added some cocoa powder to the bicarbonate of soda, food colouring and water because I wanted to add another sensory element. It smelt delicious!
Next we talked about what horses need to eat and decided to use a broken piece of the wicker laundry basket to make some hay. We set up the farm world on the Tuff spot and were ready to play!
- we talked about which animals would live in the mud and which needed the hay
- we talked about the different vehicles that you find on farms
- we made tracks in the mud and talked about how the trucks moved forwards, backwards and even in circles
- we talked about the different tracks different wheels made
- we practised dumping hay into the horse’s pen
After a while I left the preschooler to it as he was starting to invent different scenarios and characters with the farm world and I wanted to see where his imagination would take him. He concocted a fantastic story where the animals were being struck down by tractors and he was the vet. He even bandaged up some animals with kitchen roll.
We finished the farm world play session with some stories linked to farms- Farmer Duck and Stuck in the Mud. These books have made lots of re-appearances throughout our farm week! After more work looking at farms, I wanted to add some different textures to the Tuff spot so I filled one of the pens with dried peas and lentils, mixed with small and normal sized pasta shapes. We mixed the hay with the soil for added textures too.
Throughout the week, the preschooler used the Tuff spot farm world to re-enact his the Stuck in the Mud story. He recited lines from the book and we talked about the order the events occurred in the book and even what might happen next, once all the characters become unstuck from the mud. He loved playing with the soil and spent long periods of time just playing- using different voices and totally losing himself in his imagination.
The Tuff spot farm world provided us with so many opportunities to learn through play and is an excellent way to get preschoolers talking about the theme. And not forgetting the messy/ sensory element of course! This is an activity we will return to time and again I’m sure!