It’s all about farms in our house lately: farm books, farm songs, farm animal noises and farm pretend play. The kids just can’t get enough of playing farm. To foster their interest and enthusiasm I helped them set up a farm small world. But this time, we did things a bit differently …
How to Set Up a Farm Small World
When setting up a farm small world, most people will start creating a farm scene with the toys their kids love so much and keep adding to that with random materials from around the house. It’s a great way to build small worlds, adding layer after layer: farm house, animals, trees, fences, food, people, … The possibilities are endless and you can really let the children run wild in their imagination.
One of those ‘random materials from around the house’ we often use are fabric scraps. They are just the perfect addition to a farm small world. Scratch that, they actually are THE perfect foundation to build your farm small world on.
Think about it … farms can be broken down in lots of different segments: you’ve got the living quarters, veggie patch, horse stables, sheep paddock, pigsty, cornfield and so on. All of those look different for a number of reasons and what more perfect (mess free!) way to represent them than fabric?
Let the Children Play!
I got out my bag of fabric scraps along with the basket that holds our collection of animals and started creating alongside my children. They jumped on the fabric scraps straight away and seemed to get the idea I was going for. Kind of anyway.
Well, as always when playing or creating alongside little ones, you kind of have to go with the flow a bit. Not that it’s my strongest point, but I’m trying. And on this particular day I think we did great. I applauded the idea that the swans should move in with the sheep, that the horse adopted Bambi and the positioning of a water fountain in the middle of the pond. And I even voted YES to import a camel from the desert. We were on a roll. Our farm was going places.
Fabric scraps were flying left and right, they were being used for just about anything from water, to doormats, food, scarves, medical supplies, blankets, flower beds and all things in between. When I thought about using fabric scraps to create some kind of play mat collage, I had no idea my children would take it to a whole new level. And in doing so, their ingenuity truly surprised me. It goes to show that as adults we don’t think outside the box nearly enough. And it also goes to show that when you step back a bit and just let the children play (or follow their lead), they’re very capable of using their imagination and know exactly what they’re doing. (Even though it makes NO sense to us lol!)
Learning Through (Small World) Play
And while all of that playing is going on they are learning SO much. There are millions of opportunities to grab hold of to add in a bit of education while you’re at it. I’m thinking about naming colours, counting animals, beginning sounds, knowing which animals are farm animals and why, what do they eat, where do they live, how do we take care of them? But also fine motor skills, spacial awareness and even early architectural and design skills if you will are practiced through setting up small worlds.
You definitely don’t have to be a teacher to facilitate learning through play. In fact, most children will grab the opportunity to learn themselves and practice whatever it is their little brains are trying to work out in that moment. Paying attention, observing, recognizing where children are at and tapping into that is a skill worth developing for any parent, caregiver or teacher.
The Joys of Playing Farm and Small World Play
The farm theme must be one of the most popular with toddlers and preschoolers. It’s got it all: animals, tractors, the great outdoors, adventure and excitement. No wonder there are so many creative farm activities out there. Here are a few of my favourites:
Tractor and Farm Small World Play by Stay at Home Educator
Farm Sensory Play by Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls
Old Macdonald had a Farm Small World by Little Worlds
Simple Farm Small World by Where Imagination Grows
People who have been following our Little Worlds adventures know I’m a huge fan of small worlds and have written a thing or two about them. This beginner’s guide to small world play is a must read and you can find all of our small worlds in one place here.
Thanks so much for stopping by, do have another look around now you’re here, I hope you’ll find the inspiration you’re after today.
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