A few weeks ago the children and I were chatting and I made some reference to milk coming from cows. Mr D looked at me as if I was mad so I decided that we really ought to do a bit of something around where food comes from. I’ve had the idea of what to do for a while, and on Friday evening I put together a farm and food tuff spot for them to explore.
I firstly printed off images of fruit that grows on trees, apple, oranges, bananas, pears and vegetables that grow underground, potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnips. I also printed images of butter, milk, cheese and eggs.
I created a few areas to the tuff spot – the first area was the muddy area for the vegetables – I made this up by colouring some rice brown to look like mud and leaving in a baking try to bury the vegetable pictures into it for them to ‘farm’ later on.
For the cows I poured out some yellow split lentils and some dried peas to create a field. I hid the milk, butter and cheese pictures underneath and sat some of the children’s toy cows on top.
For the chicken area I used cornflakes, hid the egg pictures underneath and placed a few of the children’s bird toys on top – we only have one chicken toy so I added in some doves too (they got the idea!)
Finally, for the fruit picking I made a 3d tree model to stick the fruit onto – I use these sticky dots a lot for things like this. I stuck the fruit on around the edge of the tree ready for them to pick the next day.
I then added in their Playmobil farm barn, some toy tractors and other playmobil and happyland people and animals.
When the children got up on Saturday morning they were excited to see the tuff spot all set up. We had a brief chat about food and where it comes from and we watched a couple of YouTube videos of cows being milked – both by hand and by machine. The children were pretty captivated by it all.
They then set about playing – they used some empty fruit boxes to collect the vegetables, dairy produce and fruit. There was lots of chatter going on as Mr D explained to his sister where the food was coming from. They then set about with the various tools I’d left for them pouring and moving the different things around the tray.
I purposely used different textures and shapes so that they could use the different tools and also to hear their language as they described them to me. We learnt that the cornflakes crunch and that the dried peas roll. Some things are easier than others to pick up with the various tools too. Mr D had great fun looking at everything through his magnifying glass!
We then read some books about tractors and food in general and had a chat about different things but I mostly left them to play with this as the pleased. I have been saving bottle tops from milk and juice bottles recently for some future activities and Miss E took herself off to the kitchen to get them and set about burying them into the muddy part of the tuff spot tray. Both the children spent ages pushing them in and covering them up.
This was a great activity and the children have taken a lot from it, I’m following it up this week with other activities about the farm and food and will share those soon.