Whenever we visited my dad’s family in Michigan, the red barn stood out like a majestic symbol on my grandparents’ property. A run-down tractor, tools, some cobwebs, but full of the memories of generations that have stepped into it. I remember playing hide-and-seek with my cousins, sitting in a circle playing Truth or Dare, and swinging on the tree swing outside the barn. But what I remember most is the feeling. Every time I see that barn, I am filled with adventure and thrill. I hope that these farm math activities can also bring about similar feelings. Of course, our preschoolers probably won’t remember them as the years pass. But maybe, just maybe, they will remember the sense of excitement that learning can bring.
Farm Lesson plans
Farm Counting Sensory Bin
I haven’t had much experience feeding farm animals.
But I did, in fact, feed giraffes at our local zoo, and the most bizarre thing happened. We fed them lettuce, watching their long, black tongues twirl around each leaf, which is crazy enough in itself. But then I looked up and saw a giraffe lean down, snatch a zoo map right out of someone’s hand, and gobble it right up. I mean, literally no hesitation. All that mindful eating practice just tossed to the wind. I feel ya, giraffe.
Anyway, back to farm animals. This is absolutely the best math activity to work on number identification, identifying farm animals, counting, and fine motor skills! My kiddos love these scoop and count activities. They gobble them up just like that giraffe did to the zoo map.
Just attach the animals’ heads to circular plastic containers, tin cans, plastic cups, tubs, etc. Then, draw a card and scoop the matching number of corn into each animal’s mouth.
Then, watch in amazement as your preschoolers devour this farm-feeding sensory experience!
Collect the Eggs
Visual Perception Activity
I have no shame in admitting that one of my favorite things to do (even as an adult) is go on an Easter egg hunt. In fact, my girls and I will hide eggs for each other to find year-round, so these colorful eggs get a lot of use!
For this next activity, we pretended to be farmers collecting the eggs from the chicken coop.
Just cut an egg carton in half so that there are six wells for eggs. Then, have your students find the matching color egg in the hen’s nest and place it in the egg carton in the coordinating spot.
These types of visual perception tasks are fundamental. Visual perception is our brain interpreting what we see to process it, which will help in so many ways in the future:
So as you plan out your week, don’t forget to incorporate puzzles, mazes, memory games, and activities like Collect the Eggs.
I vividly remember running down the street after a rainstorm, desperately trying to reach the end of the rainbow as a kid. If only I could get my hands on that pot of gold, things would be much better.
It was a huge disappointment to find out that I would never reach it, never get that pot of gold, and never be able to get what my heart most desperately desired. Little did my childish heart know that no amount of gold can buy what everyone most desires: happiness. Happiness is not found in the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but in the thrill and joy of the chase. As you go through your day-to-day routines, stop, breathe, and experience the joy in each moment.
While we are on the subject of chasing rainbows, this next farm math activity incorporates racing rainbow farm counters from one side of a gameboard to the next. Your preschoolers can play this counting game as a single player or with two players.
Roll a numbered and colored die to see which animal to move, counting along the way. The first three animals to finish get to stand on the Winner’s Platform. Such a great way to include ordinal numbers alongside counting, numeral identification, and color identification, all while chasing rainbows.
Shear the Sheep
Ten Frame Farm Game
I’m sure you practice counting daily as a preschool teacher. Wouldn’t ewe know it? So it will be nice to switch it up and play a game incorporating counting in a new way, especially when your kiddos pretend to be farmers and give those sheep a buzz-cut.
To set up this two-player game of Shear the Sheep, place 20-30 cotton balls on each of the two large sheep. Then, draw a card, count the number of wool balls on the ten frames, and use clothespins to “shear” the matching amount off your sheep. The first player to completely “shear” their sheep wins!
This farm math game is easy to set up and fun for kids to play! Plus, incorporating those ten frames when possible helps with subitizing, the ability to quickly identify an amount without counting.
Shape Construction Farm Math Activities
Riding horses frees your soul. On our honeymoon in Ireland, we rode horses along the Dingle Peninsula, and I will never forget the breathtaking view over the ocean, the way it smoothed any edges of anxiety, and the way I felt so connected to nature and my husband.
And to help our preschoolers connect with the actual shape of shapes, we built horse corrals for our horses to trot around. Just use popsicle sticks (mini and regular) right on top of the cards. And yes, they fit perfectly.
Then, find the matching shape horse, which are, oh, so adorable to gallop around in the shape corrals.
And if you’re looking for a way to add even more math skills to this farm math activity, have your students count the number of short and long popsicle sticks used to make the corral.