We are continuing our farm unit in preschool and this week is pigs! This unit involves learning through play and books about farms, but each week is focused on one farm animal.
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My goals for the week were to teach G vocabulary related to pigs (squeal, piglet, curly, mud, sty, etc.), reinforce letter and color recognition, and teach basic pig facts, while having lots of messy fun!
Normally I start our week’s activities with a sensory bin, but we had a problem finding pigs appropriate for sensory play. We have lots of stuffed pigs, and a few piggy banks, but those would not work for what we needed. I scoured the stores and came up empty, so we decided to make our own! For a more detailed post about how we made our pigs, please click here.
I was so glad we made these pigs from egg cups because they turned out to be perfect scoops for the sensory bin we created. G’s favorite activity with the sensory bins has always been to scoop and pour the sensory material, so we definitely needed something for this purpose.
The sensory material this week was two boxes of chocolate cake mix and a bale of craft hay. I originally set the bin up with the cake mix on the bottom and the hay bale, in tact, sitting next to the pigs. As we started playing I showed G the hay bale and started to break it up, showing her the texture of the hay was “rough.” Once the hay bale was broken up, we mixed the hay into the cake mix to make a perfect pig’s mud. One word of caution, this is a very MESSY sensory bin. G was covered head to toe in cake mix dust. And it only got messier on subsequent days.
We talked about how pigs love mud, love to roll in the mud, and live in a sty. I also taught G how to call a pig, which delighted her no end. We giggled a lot as we called the pigs and they answered (“Sooie!” “Oink, Oink, Oink.”). Since we had five little pigs we recited the nursery story of “This little piggy went to market…”
Later in the week, we transferred our pig sty to our new water table and added a small amount of water. We mixed it all together to make a fabulous muddy mess for our pigs. G, my organization and cleaning enthusiast, was not very interested in getting muddy, but she did not want to stop playing. Quite the conundrum for a child of her age. She was mostly content to make birthday cakes (a current obsession) and then discuss just how messy her hands were. When she talked about how messy she was, I would remind her that her pigs LOVE mud and love to roll in it.
One of G’s absolute favorite books right now is Huff and Puff by Claudia Rueda. She loves to interact with the book by blowing (huffing and puffing) the little pigs’ houses down. We read this and other farm books on her pig (a large pig pillow) in her room.
Arts and Crafts:
We didn’t do any specific craft projects other than our pigs, but we still found some time to put some pink paper down on the table and examine the letter P. I cut out some circles of different sizes in pink cardstock and traced two (one large, one smaller) onto a piece of pink construction paper. Then I made them into the letter P (an uppercase and a lowercase) by adding thin rectangles next to the circles. When I put this in front of G, I asked her to put the pink circle on the P. She selected the right size circles the first time through (maybe I didn’t make this hard enough). Then we colored the letters and drew pigs on the paper.
I also took some pink construction paper and started tearing it with G and putting it into a pink shoebox. I was trying to encourage her to tear the paper (working on fine motor skills), but she was not having any of it. She was discouraged by her inability to do it the first time, and refused to try again. So I just kept tearing it. As I was tearing it into long strips I showed her that the paper was “curly”, like a pig’s tail. So we made a box of pig’s tails that we can use in a future art project.
In the Kitchen:
G LOVES to help in the kitchen! I put her in her sister’s high chair and she helps me measure and pour and stir. But she really enjoyed the project we did together this week, even if the results were less than appetizing! We made pigs in mud brownies. Warning: do not try this same recipe/procedure unless you want largely uncooked brownies! This recipe ended up being all about the process and the fun we had making them, instead of yummy results. Here’s what we did:
We mixed together a batch of boxed brownies and poured them into a pan (I placed a no-slip cloth under the pan, to make sure it was stable and wouldn’t slip and break). Then we sprinkled some crushed graham crackers over the top, to add to the “mud.” Then we put our “pigs” (big pink marshmallows) in the mud and pressed them into the “mud.”
We put them in the oven for the directed time and they still needed some more time, so I left them in there a while longer. When they came out and had cooled, the results were less than desirable: only the outside edges were edible, the center was not cooked through! Oh well! We had fun doing the activity!
We had such fun with our pig play this week! Next week we are playing chicken!