Play-Based Learning at Home [ FARMYARD ]

Throughout my time as an early childhood teacher, my programming and planning was founded upon the well-known practice and evidence-based principles of 'play-based learning'. Lately, whilst observing and documenting Sage 'at play',  I recognised that it was time to emulate some of these practices and principles in our own home environment. Her flittings to and from task to toy, with no real sense of purpose, would ultimately result in her becoming frustrated and overwhelmed - evidenced by the chaos left in her wake. 

In our playroom, we decided to remove many of the toys she previously had unlimited access to, in order to foster both physical and mental space. Some were squirreled away in the attic to be reintroduced in weeks or months to come, whereas others were simply placed out of reach, to be brought down at specific, negotiated times. In their place, we established a small 'investigation' area - both to encourage deeper focus and direction during play and to instill engagement for longer, more meaningful periods of time. 

A 'farmyard' experience was created, based on Sage's ignited interest in farms and their animals {due to visiting the animal nursery when the annual show came to town, and feeding the cows on a recent outing to a friend's farm} to ensure the 'investigation' was relatable, relevant and authentic. Pivotal to the space are its elements - mindfully chosen to inspire dramatic play, facilitate sensory development and aide hypothesising and problem solving skills through construction. Puzzles, games and fine motor activities are also featured, as are quality, print-rich resources {including both fiction and non-fiction texts}.

Amongst the images below, I have complied a list of the books we have been reading and the resources used to create this space {all of which I already owned from my days teaching Kindergarten}. Our farmyard investigation will remain for a few weeks and once Sage's fascination begins to wane we will create a fresh space based on her interests, understandings and ponderings at the time... {and no, it does not stay this tidy for long!} 

Farmyard Reading

     Families  by Alison Jay
     I Went Walking  by Sue Machin
     My Farm  by Alison Lester
     Mrs Wishy Washy  by Joy Cowley
     Who Said Moo?  by Harriet Ziefert
     Noisy Farm  by Rod Campbell
     The Very Busy Spider  by Eric Carle
     You Are My Baby  by Lorena Siminovich
     Old MacDonald Had a Farm  by Wendy Straw
     A Year on Our Farm  by Penny Matthews and Andrew McLean
     What the Ladybird Heard  by Julia Donaldson

     At the Farm  by Judith Heneghan
     Chick Life Cycle  by Elizabeth Bennett
     Animals on the Farm  by Elizabeth de Lambilly
     Mighty Movers Farm  by Hinkler Books
     My First Book of Farm Animals  by Miranda Smith
     Down on the Farm Series  by Hannah Ray
     Farmyard Friends Series  by Camilla de la Bedoyere

Farmyard Resources

     Farm animals {here}
     Large beech tree {here}
     Small mopane tree {here}
     Wooden fences {here}
     Wooden trees {here}
     Rabbit hutch {here}
     Garden accessories {purchased instore, unable to find link}
     Word labels {here - printed and laminated}
     Cork board and hammer set {here}
     'At the Farm' puzzles - set of four {here}
     3D 'Duck and Friends' puzzle {here}
     Tractor, grass material, baskets and bowls {op shop purchases}
     Pond {cut from scrap felt}
     Animal feed {pearl barley from the pantry}


  1. My sister and I had a farm set that we played with for years. The base was a green-painted piece of mdf with jam jar lids. These could be filled with water for the dams.
    We would play for hours setting up the fences and grouping the animals as we pleased.
    Your set up is lovely. I'm just picturing all the possibilities.. underwater, in the garden, desert, outer-space, a forest.

  2. Oh Anna, I love this.
    You have inspired me to set up an investigation for Leah.
    I look forward to reading more in this series :)


  3. Do you have any suggestions into some reading material for myself so that I could start planning something like this to do for my own kidlets? I've googled a bit, but I feel I always look to much into it I'm sure and don't want to overwhelm them. I'm thinking that I may set up a winter one for a few weeks until interest wains.

  4. Wow........How niche and how to play you in this designee? Thank you for sharing.

  5. This blogsI like for the above article, very helpful for beginners that plunged into the world of blogging; new
    if pleased may stop in my small blog .

  6. I recognized who's was time to emulate some practices and principles in your own home environment. Your ex flitting to and via task to toy, without having real sense of function, would ultimately result throughout her becoming frustrated.

  7. I was looking for similar project, Thank you for your good contribution. I have learned a lot.

  8. Great idea for kids! I will make this project for my kids. This will be in my garden next summer.

  9. That i recognized that this was initially a chance to imitate examples of these strategies together with standards with our home conditions. Your girlfriend flitting that will together with with endeavor that will game, with out legitimate feel for motive, will in due course trigger your girlfriend being annoyed together with overpowered - denoted by way of the confusion placed during your girlfriend wake.


Your comments brighten my day, thank you!