Our play group is going on a field trip to a local farm tomorrow, so we've been getting ready for it with some activities at home. I just love going to the farm, I took my students every year I taught kindergarten and it's my favorite field trip by far. Getting out in the sunshine, seeing the animals, the smell of fresh hay on the tractor ride, not to mention all the fun getting ready to go in class is a great way to welcome spring and also ties into the planting unit we do around the same time.
Making and extending patterns is a common early childhood benchmark, and it's usually done with objects. These animal sounds pattern strips are a fun alternative, if you don't mind a lot of silly fun! ER really liked this one, even though continuing on a pattern is still a skill that needs work, she'd probably practice for hours with this activity. She liked it a lot better than making patterns with objects. Plus after we'd done it a few times, we got up and added animal movements to each one, which gave it a kinestetic component, that's so good for wiggly little bodies!
Point to each animal and make that animal sound. So for the bottom one we made the simplest pattern ABABABAB or in this case: duck, dog, duck, dog, duck, dog, duck, dog. It's ER's task to know what comes next when we get to the last one, so duck in this example. I made enough strips so that by the time we went through them all, she didn't remember them. I put a few samples of beginning patterns in my picture, but since ER beginning I only used ABAB patterns with her.Because noisy activities are always the most fun, we also played Old MacDonald Farm Dice Sing A Long. I did an image search for fold up dice and found the pattern I used to make my dice. I thought it'd be easier to see and understand if I showed it to you before it was glued up, but basically you put glue on the flaps and make your own mini paper dice. Ours was printed on cardstock.
Now it's time to sing the song over and over...and over and over. ER rolls the dice, tells me the animal's name, and we sing the verse about that animal. To begin basic 1:1 correspondence skills, we made a little line on our dry erase board every time we sang about a particular animal and counted them up when we were done. I wrote the number too, not that it meant anything to her☺We talked about habitats and where different animals live. I made the habitat and animal sorting cards for her using clip art from my MS Homepublishing program. It was harder than I thought it would be for her to sort all the animals. This activity provides lots of great opportunities to talk about all sorts of things.
The cards help ER bring up memories, for example when we came to the horse she wanted to talk to me all about her memories of seeing horses through the window while on a car ride to visit Great Grandma. It was really nice to just sit and have lots of great conversation with her.The last one we've been having fun with is pennies for the piggies. I modified a game I used with my kindergarteners for ER. We're working on counting and 1:1 correspondence so for ours, I made piggy banks for 1-10 and then added a penny graphic I also found through a Yahoo image search on it to match the target number. We counted and laid a penny on top of each penny graphic. So simple and yet so hard for my kidlet! She did love getting to hold the money though!
For kindergarteners I had two versions one with just numbers 1-30 written on them and the kids had to count out pennies to put in the piggy bank. That was the review task because my farm unit was in spring and hopefully, because I was such an excellent teacher they'd mastered that skill by then. The harder task was to count out a variety of coins to make the amount listed on the bank sheet. So for eight cents I wanted them to put a nickle and three pennies on it.
We'll be going to the farm tomorrow and as a special treat Brad aka Daddy is taking the day off work to come with us! ER is very excited and hopes to see a pony at the farm and we're all hoping for lovely weather so we can enjoy a picnic lunch in the sunshine. We'll see how it goes, we've been talking up how fun the farm is. Previously, she has been a little afraid of the animals when we're right next to them. and feeding them...oh no, wasn't going to happen. She's so terrified of the goats and yet she loves pony rides, go figure!