Young farmers

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By Jean Evansearly years consultant and author

Set up an outdoor role-play farm to explore the work of the farmer

Children feeding goat

Outdoor role-play farm

Set up the farm around any fixed building or playhouse in your outdoor area, or use a pop-up tent. Invite the children to help find resources to transform the building into a farmhouse and discuss how they might set up the farm around it.

Decide how to define the fields, for example, with chalk on hard ground or rope on grass. Use available resources to build walls, gates, fences and hedges. Consider where the animals will shelter and adapt resources accordingly.

Ask parents to donate any unwanted items, such as small plastic dog kennels, rabbit hutches and guinea-pig runs. Make sure that the items are washed thoroughly before use and check for any sharp edges.

Provide vehicles for transporting the animals and food, and make some child-sized tabards in animal fabrics for the children to pretend to be farm animals.

Initially, interact with the children to suggest ways of using resources and to provide additional materials linked to the direction of their play.

Suggested resources

Playhouse or pop-up tent; clothing for ‘farmers’; tabards for ‘animals’; crates; benches; planks; boxes; ride-on toy vehicles such as tractors, cars and trailers; chalk; rope.

1 Sheep farmers

Learn about the various aspects involved in taking care of sheep

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

Behaviour and Self-control

Development matters: are aware that some actions can hurt or harm others (22-36 months); show care and concern for others, for living things and the environment (30-50 months).

Early learning goal: consider the consequences of their words and actions for themselves and others.

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