We have been truly enjoying our extended farm unit. I try to make our units only last a week, but we end up having so much fun, we extend them. This week (or so) we focused on chicks, hens, and roosters.
My goals for the week were to teach vocabulary, reinforce letter and shape recognition, and teach a comforting concept on security (we are having some bedtime struggles lately, so I thought I would throw this in). These goals are in addition to learning chick and chicken facts.
The sensory bin for this week was relatively simple but was packed with fun things. I bought some popcorn kernels to use as the sensory material. And I added in a set of chicks we have had for some time. They are one of our most popular toys and they ended up being perfect for our sensory play. Each chick is inside the bottom of an egg. The chick squeaks when you press it down into the egg (“cheep, cheep!”). Each of the eggs is a different color and has different eyes. The tops of the shells have coordinating eyes on them, so it is a matching game for little ones. For our sensory play, the tops of the egg shells were perfect scoops for the kernels. G loved feeding the chicks (“peck, peck, peck”) and swirling around the “feed.” As the week went on G added some extra containers to the sensory bin and even took some of the feed to the kitchen to “cook” it for the chicks.
As I mentioned, we are having some bedtime struggles. G cries each night as we put her down to sleep and refuses to sleep in her big girl bed. So we have been racking our brains trying to come up with solutions, comforts, whatever works to make her feel calm and relaxed as she goes to bed. The solution we came up with seems to help and has made an impact on G such that she asked the other night before bed, “Mama, will you be my chick?” I ended up writing an entire post about it, that you can check out here.
Our conversations for the week included talking about mama, daddy, and baby chicks. G enjoyed knowing that Daddy is the rooster, Mama is the hen, and she and her sister are the chicks. She also loves to review the animal sounds for rooster, hen and chick.
We have a few books that are specifically about chickens, so we added them to the pile of books we read this week.
One of G’s favorites is The Scarecrow’s Hat by Ken Brown. The protagonist is a problem-solving, deal making chicken. The repetition keeps kids interested and the introduction of lots of animals makes it FUN! I like that it reinforces our trading system.
The other chicken book G loves is One Little Chicken by David Elliott. It is a counting book where each group of chickens is doing a different kind of dance. We made this one fun by laying it on the floor and reading the dances the chickens were doing and then standing up and doing the dance ourselves. This was great for getting some energy out of our busy girl and she loves to dance, so this reinforced and taught different dance styles. I am not the best dancer, but we made it fun by learning and being silly together!
Arts and Crafts
The chicks from our sensory bin were also useful in our art project for the week. Each of the chicks has a different shape on the bottom of its egg. I thought these would make perfect stamps! So, I wrapped the tops of the chicks in sticky plastic wrap and got some washable paint (in yellow and orange) and we stamped the shapes onto paper. This was so fun and helped reinforce G’s knowledge of shapes: circle, square, heart, cross, star, triangle. She loved to look at the shape, say it, and then press it down on the paper to see the shape.
During the art project, I also introduced making lines or rows to G. I had initially set up the chicks in a row so she could see them. When we had stamped with one of them, we would return it to the row. After a little while G began to notice that they were in a row and we started to talk about putting them in line or in a row. She enjoyed playing with them and then returning them to the row.
The chicks washed up well and they still cheep!
We learned lots of things this week about chickens, but more importantly, we had FUN! Next week we are going to do some fall themed things, but after that we are going to return to our farm unit to talk about cows!