Animals grab a toddler’s attention like no other. Farm animals, zoo animals, jungle animals, ocean animals – literally any animal is fascinating, even to me as an adult. Animals are captivating to watch and even more fun to pretend to take care of them! This farm dramatic play center is hands-on, engaging, and incorporates tons of ways to learn through play. Check out our farm dramatic play center!
Farm Lesson plans
Farm Dramatic Play
Setting Up Your Barn
Ever since I discovered how to print poster sizes, I have been obsessed. This feature just makes it so easy to make images larger than life. Okay, not really, but big enough for our toddlers to imagine they are down on the farm. Here’s how to do it with a PDF: After selecting print, go down to Page Size & Handling and select Poster. Then, just adjust the Tile Scale percentage. I then cut off the edges and put the barn together like a puzzle. This can be attached to your wall, or if you want to reuse this year after year, just glue or tape it onto a poster board. Brilliant!
Next up, if you have a barn, you have to have some animals. I’ve included animal heads in this resource to make it easy (and affordable) to DIY farm animals. Just print the heads and attach to 2-liter bottles that have been cut, tin cans, or blocks using strong, clear tape. I even added some colored paper inside the 2-liter bottles to match the color of each animal’s body. Done!
I used a cube shelf as a way to organize all of the animals into their individual corral. I had baskets on my shelf that I just turned over on their sides to give it a rustic feel. Then, I added labels for each animal, some troughs (small wooden boxes from Dollar Tree), and a few other supplies for each animal that I will talk about down below. You could use a shelf or a table with baskets to set up your farm dramatic play area, too!
Milk the Cow
Farm Dramatic Play
If you take a look at the picture above, there is a list of Farmer’s Chores that can help guide and initiate prolonged dramatic play with our little ones. It can help give the kiddos ideas on what activities they can do in the dramatic play center. This chore list is FREE for anyone who wants to just use that in their class!
So the first chore down on the farm is to milk the cow! I taped a rubber glove to our shelf behind the cow printout. The kiddos could go up and pretend to squeeze the udders and collect milk in a bucket. One day, we even added real milk to a rubber glove and poked holes in the fingertips to add even more excitement to the experience!
Collect the Eggs
Counting Through Play
Next up, we pretended to collect the eggs from the hens. The kiddos gently grabbed the wooden eggs from the nest and placed them in the basket. Try not to break the eggs! Then, they counted the eggs that the hens laid that morning. (We talked about how it’s a different number every day.) Finally, they used a clothespin to mark the number of eggs collected on the chart. Great way to add in some math with dramatic play!
Herd the Sheep
For our next chore on the farm, we herded the sheep back to their corrals using directional cards. My eldest knows her left from her right because she gets to choose the route on our nightly walks through the neighborhood by telling me left, right, or straight. But it’s definitely different having to set up a route for the sheep to follow home! I love how the kids could set up different paths on the grass and practice directional words all in one!
Pick the Vegetables
As part of our farm, I made this DIY garden. And let me tell you, it was so easy! I really don’t like to make complicated things for the classroom. Ain’t nobody got time for that! You will need a shallow box, pool noodles, a brown piece of cloth (I used an old pillowcase, you know, back from the early 2000s when brown was in), and small vegetables (I used vegetable counters).
First, cut a pool noodle using a large knife and a cutting board. Make sure to cut them a little bit longer than the box so they stay put. Continue cutting pool noodles until the box is filled. Next, tuck your brown piece of cloth into the cracks and the sides of the box. I didn’t even glue the cloth because the pool noodles were so snug. Last, add in some vegetables and your garden is ready to go!
The kids could go to the garden each day and pick the vegetables. There were a watering can and baskets for them to use in the garden. After the kids were done, they had to put the vegetables back into the garden, matching the vegetables in each row to add in some sorting.
Feed The Pigs
Next up is feeding the pigs! I decided to incorporate some cooking in the kitchen with this one for our future chefs (or really any tot who loves to pretend to cook in the play kitchen). The kids can pretend to chop up the fruits and vegetables and add them to the pot. Boil the concoction until it’s piping hot and then feed the pig slop to the pigs. Who knew farmers had so many different skills?
Care for the Horses
Being around horses is truly calming. The comfort of their steady trot, the wisdom in their eyes, the way they connect us to nature and can transport us to new places. The feelings created when we are around horses is probably why many children love them. Or maybe it’s because they love galloping around the room saying, “Yeehaw!”
In our dramatic play setup, we pretended to care for our horses by combing their hair, cleaning their hooves, feeding them hay, and giving them plenty of exercise. If you have a stick pony, the kiddos would just love it! I’m sure of it!
Plow the Fields
Farm Dramatic Play
When we first set up our barn, we made a corn craft to add to our cornfields. We used a corn outline (which is provided in the Farm Dramatic Play printouts) and a Lego brick to create the look of corn kernels. Just dip the Lego into orange, yellow, and white paint and dab away! Then, I used Velcro dots on top of the corn printouts so the kiddos could really “pick” the corn. So neat!
If you have a riding tractor to add to your farm dramatic play center, that would be so exciting for the little ones. We just used a riding toy and pretended that was our tractor.