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Not Just a Day at the Farm

My little lady and I had a beautiful spring afternoon to ourselves. I decided to take a little detour and stop by Smolak Farms in North Andover. This farm was a frequent stop for me as a kid having grown up in town AND it was the first place I worked so my ties run deep to this place.

Lily is currently 21 months, she is very mobile, very explorative and adores animals so I knew this outing would be a hit. Her speech is also exploding and we have been diving into naming animals and identifying the sounds they make at home. We also have been digging into my Fall Tote, which has tons of farm-related activities (see the end of the blog for links to other specialists’ awesome farm totes that you can rent!)

We began our journey stopping for a doughnut treat in the farm stand and then headed to the fun! Behind the farm stand is a massive (newly renovated) playground and a bunch of farm animals to visit.

We stopped and admired the deer, llamas (my personal favorite), pig, goats, ducks (Lily’s favorite), and geese. Afterward, we played on the playground and had our snack.

The above sentence is just the tip of the iceberg of what we did. That’s it in brevity. Here’s the thing though, any outing (even in your backyard) is FULL of learning opportunities even though it may just seem like basic “playing”. Here’s the deeper dive into what Lily learned from just 30 minutes at the farm.

With the animals:

+ I helped her identify the animals we saw and used the name repeatedly as we were observing the animals.

+ We talked about their body parts (eyes, legs, hooves, tails, etc) and how their fur/feathers feel (adjectives such as fuzzy, furry, smooth, bumpy, soft, etc)

+ We spoke about the color of the animals too. Right now everything is “blue”, so this was a great chance to talk about brown, white, black, etc.

+ I narrated what the animals were doing to beef up more vocabulary (the deer are eating lunch, the llamas are walking around slowly, the pig is taking a nap, the goats are running and playing, the ducks are drinking water).

+ With my older son (who is 7), we stop and he reads all the plaques out loud with the animal facts so that it adds a different level of learning for him, but Lily and I obviously didn’t stop to do that.

+ I also reminded her about the sounds that the different animals make so that she could connect it to what we’ve learned at home.

+ We learned some life skills like not to put your fingers in the cage (so sorry mama goose!).

At the playground:

+ We talked about the colors we saw on the playground structures.

+ She used her gross motor skills to climb, pull, run and slide.

+ She found tiny insects such as ants and beetles so we stopped to observe them too!

+ We found dandelions and had to use our fine motor skills to pull them out.

+ There was a music wall and we discussed loud vs soft sounds.

+ On our way out, we obviously had to explore and splash around in the puddle. We used words like “wet”, “muddy”, “dirty”, “yucky”. It was a very sensory experience for her!

We drove home and Lily promptly fell asleep muddy and exhausted. That’s a sign of a good day! I drove in silence just listing all the things above to myself and realizing that it wasn’t just an outing to the farm; it was an outing full of new, exciting teachable moments for her. It was a day well had!

Next time you are out and about with your kiddo, try watching your kid play and explore through those educator glasses. See what words you can introduce them to, what questions you can ask them and how you can scaffold what they already know.

Love the farm too? Want to pair a tote with your next farm adventure? These specialists have you covered:

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The Teach at Home Mom
The Teach at Home Mom
May 30, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

I love Smolak Farms!

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