Activity time: 18 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Copies of Handout 1: Who Shares the Barn Home? for all participants
- Sheets of blank paper for all participants
- Scissors (including left-handed scissors), glue sticks or tape, and crayons, markers, and/or colored pencils for participants to share
- Optional: Pictures of farm animals in their homes, for viewing and/or to cut out and paste
Preparation for Activity
- Photocopy Handout 1: Who Shares the Barn Home? for all participants.
- Gather sheets of blank paper, scissors, glue sticks or tape, and drawing/coloring implements.
- Collect photographs to show the group of real farm animals in their homes. Good sources are magazines, children's picture books, and websites. Try this farm sanctuary website.
- Optional: Find and photocopy images of farm animals for children to cut out and paste in their "barns"; be sure you have enough for all participants.
Description of Activity
In this activity, children understand that some animals have been taken out of the wild and domesticated by humans to help meet our needs for food and clothing. Stewardship of these animals is humans' responsibility, in a reciprocal relationship that yields us eggs, wool, honey, and many other products including, for many, meat. The children will identify common farm animals while learning about the homes humans provide for them and the functions these homes serve.
Ask the children to name the homes of various farm animals. Prompt or redirect as necessary to draw out the information that horses live in stables or stalls, chickens live in chicken coops, hogs and pigs live in small buildings called sties. Dairy cows live in fields and barns.
If you have brought pictures of farm animals in their homes, show these to the children.
You might ask the group, "Can a horse build a barn to live in? Can a hen build a coop to sleep in and lay her eggs?" Point out that humans need to create shelters for farm animals to use as homes. A farmer builds a barn, and many animals share the shelter of the barn. Farmers build a chicken coop and fill it with hay, and chickens build their nests from the hay and lay eggs in the coop.
Distribute Handout 1: Who Shares the Barn Home? Tell children they may color or decorate the barn as they wish, though real barns are usually red, white, grey, or brown and are even sometimes made of stone. Distribute crayons, markers, or colored pencils, and invite the children to begin coloring.
As they color their barns, bring scissors around and demonstrate how to cut the double doors of their barns and fold the doors open. If you have photocopied pictures of farm animals, distribute these now, along with scissors. Or have paper available and invite children to draw and color animals themselves.
Give each child a piece of blank paper to place behind the handout. Show them where to draw or paste their favorite farm animals so the animals can be seen when the barn doors are opened.
Help children tape or glue the pages of animals behind the handout and "close" the doors to their barns. Then, invite them to open the barn doors and show one another who shares the barn home.