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16 Hands-On Farm Animals Activities for Preschoolers

Children love learning about animals!

These farm animal activities for preschoolers and kindergarteners are hands-on, interactive and play-based. They incorporate art, sensory play, dramatic play, stories and more.

Check out the following ideas and games for hands-on fun and learning!

1. Pretend Play

Introduce the theme with a fun story about farm animals – such as the one below and then encourage some pretend play by offering a variety of loose parts for children to play farm: 

  • Plastic farm animals and people
  • Small cardboard boxes
  • Building logs
  • Small vehicles like trucks and tractors
  • Raffia for hay

Play or read Barnyard Banter by Denise Fleming:

2. Sing and Play “The Farmer in the Dell”

Sing and play the traditional circle/ carpet game “The Farmer in the Dell”.

Start with the regular lyrics:

The farmer in the dell
The farmer in the dell
Hi-ho, the derry-o
The farmer in the dell

The farmer takes a wife
The farmer takes a wife
Hi-ho, the derry-o
The farmer takes a wife

Then, for each verse, name a different farm animal.

Watch the game on YouTube:

3. Paint Farm Animal Tracks

Show children animal footprints in non-fiction books or online.

Set out low containers of paint for kids to dip plastic animal figurines’ feet, to then press onto construction paper for fun animal prints. 

You could also cut sponges into familiar animal footprint shapes for them to dip into paint and then stamp onto paper.

4. Dramatic Play Based on Jan Brett’s Books

Read The Hat, written and illustrated by Jan Brett. 

Kids imagine themselves living on a Scandinavian farm and meeting the various animals that could live there. 

On Brett’s website for The Hat, find printable farm animal face masks for children to use while retelling the story or for making up their own tales.

Farm animal face masks for kids

5. Mud Play

Read or watch the readings of books themed around farm animals and mud, such as Mrs. Wishy-Washy, written by Joy Cowley:

In a water table or plastic tubs, set up some sand mixed with small amounts of water to form mud. 

Add small plastic farm animals for playing in the mud

For the children to “play in the mud,” have several soft brown blankets set out for rolling and wallowing on the floor while making farm animal noises.

6. Sing and Move to “Down on Grandpa’s Farm” by Raffi

Sing, make animal sounds and move along with Raffi’s song, “Down on Grandpa’s Farm.”

Watch this video to see the real animals mentioned in the song:

7. Cow Painting

Look at pictures of various types of cows and chat about the similarities and differences. 

Children discover that the skin of several types of cows mixes another colour with white, such as brown or black. 

Using droppers or brushes, get kids to experiment with adding other colours to the white paper, making sheets of  “cow skin” or “cowhide.” 

Those that are similar could possibly be grouped together in making large cutout cow murals for the wall.

Animated picture of farm animals on a farm

8. Farm Animal Matching

Find pictures of adult and baby farm animals or print some and get kids to help cut around them and glue them onto index cards or poster board cut into squares.

When the glue is dry, they take turns or work as a group to match the farm animal babies with the full-grown adults. 

Keys can be added to the backs of the cards for self-checking, such as numbers or images that match the pairs.

9. Birds on the Farm

Read books and look at pictures or videos of the various types of birds that live on farms around the world. 

Discuss the similarities and differences: 

  • Whether they fly
  • What they live in
  • What they eat
  • Why they often live on a farm

Look at and touch assorted types of seeds that birds can eat. These can be added to the sensory table or bins for scooping and pouring with small containers, shovels and scoops.

Connect this information to birds that live in the wild and set up a bird-feeding station outdoors for observation.

10. Farm Dress-Up

In the dramatic play area add plenty of farm-themed clothing and accessories to the bins: 

  • Denim and bandanas for farmers
  • Stuffed farm animals
  • Fuzzy/furry dress-up clothing
  • Animal headband ears
  • Play farming tools like shovels, rakes and hoes

Let kids play dress-up to their hearts’ content!

Children dressed up in farm animal custumes

11. Catch the Piglets!

Blow up small pink balloons and give kids fly swatters. 

The balloons are baby pigs that have escaped the barn, and the children must use only the fly swatters to push them back towards the “barn” made with a large cardboard box set on its side. 

Can they get all the piglets back inside before the timer rings?

This is great for developing eye-hand coordination.

12. Rubber Duckie Water Play

With a permanent marker, add numbers 1-10 or letters of the alphabet to the bottoms of the ducks for some water play

As they float in the water table or plastic bin, children pick up one at a time, naming aloud the numbers or letters written on the bottom. 

Rubber duckie

Added challenges: can they find the number for their ages or all the letters for their first names?

This simple activity builds early maths skills.

13. Hen Nest Bean Bag Toss

For this bean bag activity, make several large hen nests out of straw, hay or raffia. 

Standing a set distance away, children can try to toss the bean bags to land in the nests.

14. Cotton Ball Lambs

Making cute woolly sheep is a fun art activity that will develop fine motor skills.

Give kids plenty of cotton balls and liquid glue. They can glue the balls onto a background of construction paper and create woolly sheep. 

Add googly eyes or colour with marker on several of the balls for eyes.

15. Name that Sound

Buy a CD of animal sounds, record them or listen to some farm animal sounds on YouTube:

Play them one at a time and see if kids can name them.

If they identify the animal correctly, they can then try to imitate how that animal moves.

16. Field Trip

Take children to visit a farm that has animals or to a petting zoo that includes typical farm-type animals. 

They compare what they have seen in the books previously shared to seeing similar animals up close and in real life. 

After the field trip, children can draw pictures of the animals they have observed and possibly write short, commonly associated words: cow, moo, hen and pig.

A unit about farm animals fits in well with community helpers and topics like production/consumption. 

Many picture books address the foods and non-food (fibre) products that come from farm animals. 

On the other hand, when exploring farm animals for preschoolers, adults can also introduce the ideas of vegan (plants-only) farming and farm animal sanctuaries that are growing in popularity to offer a safe haven for injured or rescued farm animals.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these preschool farm activities.

Here is a collection of fun animal games for preschool kids, as well as more preschool theme ideas.

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