Fun on the Farm: Teaching Preschool Skills Using Farm Toys
If you're looking for a well rounded toy to develop attention, language, and play, a farm themed toy can do all that and more!
With birthday season in full swing, it can be difficult to think of quality toys and games to gift your favorite children. Farm toys are some of our favorite toys for little ones! We find that farm themed toys are particularly fun, and useful for developing a range of skills your kiddo will need for preschool and into elementary school.
The familiar animals of farm toys keep the youngest kids interested. Plus, making the noises of each unique farm animal adds to the excitement! (It also provides grown-ups with confirmation that their children are having fun.) Fun and laughter are contagious, and make play more inviting for young learners! When our kids are laughing and having a blast, they don't even realize how much they're learning.
Here are some ways you can use your favorite farm toy to skill-build with your child!
- Teach Concepts. Inside / outside, in front of / behind. Ask your kiddo to place an animal in a certain location. For example, "Put the pig inside the barn".
- Language Development. Believe it or not, making animal noises helps us develop language skills! Play a game of hide-and-seek with your farm animals. When your child finds the animal, ask them to make the noise of that animal before placing it back with the farm.
- Following Instructions. Place the animals around your space. Ask your kiddo to play "farmer" and find their lost animals. Give them instructions to follow depending on their age and skill level. For your 1-2 year-old, stick to simple instructions like, "Where is the chicken?" For 2-3 year-olds, try two-step instructions such as, "Find the cow and then find the sheep". For 3-4 year-olds, use three-step instructions! For example: "Find the pig and then find the chicken. Next, find the cow." If your child speaks well, you can also let them give you instructions. Your kiddo will learn about taking turns and interacting with others in a positive way!
- Matching. Make a noise and ask your child to find the animal that matches the noise they hear.
- Imaginative Play Skills. Help your kiddo make up a story about their farm. Teach them about what a day on a farm might look like (waking up early, feeding the animals, moving the animals to different fields, etc.).
- Naming Animals. Hide the animals around the room and turn off the lights. Give your child a flashlight (or your phone's flashlight) and go on an "animal hunt". When you find an animal, say its name before placing it back with the farm!
- Recognizing Diversity. If you have other farm animal toys, you'll need them for this activity. If not, you can also print pictures to match your farm animals. Now, ask your kiddo to match the cow and the cow, the sheep and the sheep, etc. This activity develops awareness about diversity in your child's world. The same animal can look different and still be the same thing!
Why We Love These Games
When you use the fun ideas above, your farmhouse toy is now an interactive educational tool. You're developing understanding and use of language, imaginative play, attention and listening, social skills, and taking turns! These skills will serve them well in preschool and beyond.
Where To Find Great Farm Toys
For a list of suggestions, and to purchase, please visit our Best Farm Toys for Toddlers and Beyond blog post!