His cute little dimples appeared each time my friend’s toddler turned the page in Little Blue Truck and cheerfully called out each farm animal noise. It was the same book that my twins had devoured as toddlers but the setting was drastically different.
As toddlers my kids had driven daily along country roads in rural Wisconsin. They learned about cows and horses by watching them out the window and visiting friends who had chickens and goats roaming their yards. Today I was sitting in a small New York City apartment with a child who had rarely seen a barn, let alone met a farm animal. His delight was nonetheless real and it emphasized the universal truths of childhood.
Some things are engaging for young kids regardless of environment. Trains and other vehicles. Airplanes. And animals, particularly farm animals. The theme for this week’s Virtual Book Club for Kids is Farms and I encourage you, wherever you live, to have some fun with these comical, fascinating animals with your child.
Read: Little Blue Truck
Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle
A big dump truck barrels down the country roads entirely too busy and important to be bothered by the friendly farm animals. A little blue truck follows and happily beeps hello to everyone he sees. When the big dump truck gets stuck in the mud he quickly learns the value of a little kindness. The brief text full of onomonopeia and playfully illustrated animals make these the perfect read aloud for toddlers. They will delight in recognizing animals and making farm animals and truck noises. Parents will enjoy the subtle but important lessons about being kind to other people. Order on Amazon
Play: Farm Animals Number Invitation
The fun thing about learning numbers is that they can be applied to any situation and interest. You can count taxi cabs, train cars, or fire hydrants with your child. This number invitation can be easily adapted to work on counting, sorting, and/or number recognition depending on your child’s number skills.
Materials to Gather:
How to Play
To set up this invitation I put farm animals, numbers and blocks in baskets on the table. I used some of them to set up an example with a pen made of blocks, a number, and counted animals that matched that number inside the pen. I also set up a nearby empty pen with a number.
My five year olds worked on building their own pens, filling them with animals and then assigning the correct number to the pen. This worked on the concepts of capacity (bigger pens could hold more animals), problem solving (how to build different sized pens with the materials), and number recognition (as they counted and then found the matching number).
Adaptations for Younger Kids:
To work on Counting:
Number recognition (knowing that a 4 means four animals) is a more complicated skill. For slightly younger children, remove the numbers and simply encourage them to fill the pens and count how many animals fit in each.
To work on Sorting:
Sorting things (such as sorting pigs from horses) is another important math skill. For the youngest kids, work together to build pens and then encourage your kids to sort the animals. Toddlers will do best with just two or three kinds of animals to sort. Older kids could sort many animals into different pens.
Additional Farm Books for Kids
There are tons of fabulous farm books for kids. You can see my full list of our Favorite Farm Animal books here, but I highly recommend these to continue working on numbers.
More Farm Activities for Preschoolers
Here are some more fun farm themed activities from my Virtual Book Club for Kids co-hosts:
Farm Animal Beginning Sounds + Bingo Game from Rainy Day Mum
Little Blue Truck ABC Animal Pick Up from Growing Book by Book
Farm Alphabet Scavenger Hunt from Sunny Day Family
Farm Animal I SPY and Graph Printable from School Time Snippets
Number Games Based on Little Blue Truck Books from JDaniel4’s Mom
Little Blue Truck Sensory Bin from Adventures of Adam
Haystacks : Snack for Kids from Views from a Step Stool
Mud Pit Chip Dip from Preschool Powol Packets
Color Learning Activities
Farm Animal Color Matching from Clare’s Little Tots
Decorate a Farm Animal from Mama Smiles
Little Blue Truck Farm Animal Story Retelling from Powerful Mothering
Roll-a-Story Fun (Includes Character Printables) from Chickadee Lit
Farm Themed Brain Breaks from Sugar Aunts
Hide & Match Farm Animal Puzzle Game from Toddler Approved