In previous post, we’ve given the example of how to play the Wooden Wonders Busy Barnyard Farm Animal Playset. The key to make children able to learn about farm animal by playing the toy is by setting the knowledge we want to introduce to children in the beginning of play. Once children have grasped and understood a knowledge, we can introduce them to another ones and create the new pretend play. Here are the tips of how to do it:
- Write down the list of knowledge we want to give to children. Always start introducing children from the basic knowledge and global to the complex and specific ones. For example:
- First we introduce the farm animals’ names.
- Then, we tell about the sounds.
- Later on, we continue with the food and drinks
- Next time, we can introduce the farm animals’ body parts. Do it by introducing each animal body parts one by one.
- Then, we can tell about what we can get from each animal such as egg from the chickens, the milk from the cow, the fur from the sheep, etc.
- Next time, we can tell the process of getting the egg, the milk, the fur, etc.
- And many more. It is so because the more we’re being specific about the farm animals, the more questions will be raised by children or even by ourselves. Those questions we can use to find out more about farm animal and we can simulate the answer of those questions in the pretend play.
- Always give the knowledge bit by bit. Too much knowledge at one time may make children confused. So, the examples in point above are better given in several pretend play.
- Set the knowledge we introduce suitable with children’s age and ability to absorb it. This way children will grasp it easily. For example:
- The knowledge goal for 2 and early 3 years old are the farm animal vocabularies.
- The knowledge goal for 3 years old are the recognition of farm animals body parts recognition, the food and drinks, the daily activities at the farm, etc. Stimulate also children to be able to simulate those in the pretend play which they would love doing as at this age they like playing pretend so much.
- The knowledge goal for 4 years old and above are more facts about farm animals. For example, we can tell about the life cycle of chicken, the reason why duck has membrane on their feet, etc. It’s possible for us to tell and explain more as children at this age have been more curious about everything outside their daily surrounding. Therefore, they would love to know more about farm animal and would ask many questions about it.
- As in the example in the Learning about Farm Animals through Pretend Play (Part 1), it’s better to write the steps we’re going to do in the play. This will make us guiding the play easily and not forgetting the goal of the knowledge we intend to introduce to children during the play.
- Always give and explain the knowledge in children language level. If the information we get from the books or from other sources we think is too difficult to understand by children, we have to change the explanation in language children would understand. However, it’s sometimes not easy to do. Here are the tips of how to make it easier to do:
- Use the books which are given the information that meant for young children. The language in those books usually has been leveled for young children. Just follow what’s written in the book and deliver it to our children through pretend play.
2.Browse the facts from the internet. Use the keywords ‘farm animals facts for kids’. The information we’ll get is usually explained in language level suitable for children. The same as the information we get from the books, we can just follow and deliver the knowledge to our children through pretend play.
- Be creative to make additional props we can use to the pretend play. For example, if we want to pretend shearing sheep fur, we can print the image of the sheep shear used in shearing sheep and prepare cotton (pretend it’s the sheep fur). This way children can do the play as similar as the real one. So, the concept will be understood well. It also will make the play more fun.
- Make the play more fun by creating situations which will make children stimulated and curious. For example, ask what happen with the farm animals when it rains, or when the snow falls down, etc. This will make children thinking of many possibilities. But, do not forget to find out what actually happen in those situations and simulate those in the play.
Once children have played the farm animal toy with variety pretend play, there are advantages they can get. What are those? Read about those in Learning about Farm Animals through Pretend Play (Part 3): The Advantages.