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Storytime at Home: On The Farm

Posted about 1 month ago by Sarah Fenninger
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Welcome to the Storytime at Home series! Every other week, we share a list of book options tied to a kid-approved theme, a craft you can set up to go along with the theme, songs/rhymes you can do during storytime, and additional enrichment activities. All books are available at Richmond Public Library, and crafts will involve items you likely have at home already! Our hope is that we can make it easy for you to share stories with your little ones and create a little bit of library magic at home. 

P.S. Love library storytimes? Take a look at all in-library storytime options here. There is a storytime for your child every morning at our various branches!

Okay, now to the fun stuff…

Farms and farm animals is a classic childhood topic; from books, to songs, to movies – children learn about farms from a very early age. This makes the topic a great one for exploration, learning, and development! You can practice animal noises, count animals you see, learn about fruits and vegetables, explore colors you see on the farm, and more. You can also learn about farming, planting, and gardening as well. The library has many wonderful farm book options, and we’ve included some of our favorites below. When you visit, you can also search ‘farm’ in our catalog, or ask a librarian to help you find the perfect one for you and your child.

Reading to your kiddos turns them into confident thinkers. Making books a regular part of your daily routine is a great way to build children’s love of reading and learning. Storytimes also help build excitement around reading to support their literacy development. 

Here are a few book options you can choose from for your farm-themed storytime.

There are many ways to make reading fun and engaging for your little one! Click the arrow below to see some of our favorite tips for bringing stories to life at home.

Click here to see some of our favorite reading tips
  • Point at the pictures and ask your child what they see. Help build their vocabulary by pointing to pictures and saying the word aloud. 
  • Ask your child questions about the story: What do you think will happen next? How do you think this character is feeling? This character is going to the park; do you remember when we went to the park? 
  • Read with expression and enthusiasm, and use different voices for different characters. 
  • Act out what’s happening in the story. For example, if you’re reading about animals, make their sounds as you go. Similarly, if the animals in the book are grumpy, pretend to be grumpy; if they are dancing or wiggling, dance and wiggle!
  • As your child gets older, count objects in a book, discuss the different colors they see, point out shapes in the story, etc. What colors are the animals? How many sheep do you see?
  • Snuggle up and be patient. Reading is great bonding time for you and your child. Take your time walking them through the story. If your child wants to turn the page or be finished with reading, that’s OK too. You don’t have to read every word or even every page for reading with your little one to be beneficial for their development. 

We love adding songs and rhymes to our storytimes. This is a great way to practice language with your child and support their physical (motor) development through movement. 

Here are two songs and rhymes you can use for this themed storytime.

Sing: Old MacDonald Had A Farm
Old MacDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-O.
And on his farm he had a pig, E-I-E-I-O.

With an oink, oink here,
And an oink, oink there,
Here an oink, there an oink,
Everywhere an oink, oink,

Old MacDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-O.

Repeat with other animals

Sing and Move: Five Little Ducks
(Do motions in italics as you’re singing)

Five little ducks went out one day (hold up hand with all five fingers)
Over the hill and far away (mime going over hill and then put hand behind back)
Mother duck said, “Quack, quack, quack, quack!” (use other hand to make a mouth and quack)
But only four little ducks came back (bring hand back out front, holding up four fingers)

Repeat, counting down to one

One little duck went out one day (hold up hand with one finger up)
Over the hill and far away (mime going over hill and then put hand behind back)
Mother duck said, “QUACK, QUACK, QUACK, QUACK!” (use other hand to make a mouth and quack)
And all of the five little ducks came back (bring hand back out front, holding up all five fingers)

Adding a craft along with a book is a great way to continue allowing your child to learn, explore, and grow. Crafts are a nice supplement as they encourage motor development, creativity, self-confidence, and more. 

In fact, art and craft activities:

  • Build fine motor skills. Actions such as painting, coloring, gluing, and cutting develop small muscles in small hands and improve coordination skills as children learn to use both hands at the same time. 
  • Support early literacy. When children make art, they learn vocabulary and how to follow directions when getting verbal instructions from parents and caregivers. They also boost their communication skills via talking about their work!
  • Teach early math concepts. Math skills are used frequently in arts and crafts. Kids learn about and recognize different shapes, count and sort art supplies, and even measure out materials. 
  • Encourage creativity. Art helps develop creativity, self-expression, problem-solving, and curiosity. 
  • Boost self-esteem. Doing arts and crafts can give children a sense of achievement and allow them to take pride in their work, which builds confidence. 
  • Offer bonding time. Kids love spending quality time with parents and caregivers, and arts and crafts are a great opportunity for this.

Here is a craft activity you can do along with the farm theme. 

Materials Needed

  • Construction paper
  • Black marker
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Optional: cotton balls, streamers, feathers

Source: Buggy and Buddy

Directions

  • Help your child cut out the shapes needed to make each animal face
    • Pig: Large circle, small circle, two small triangles
    • Sheep: large pear shape, two small black triangles
    • Chick: tall diamond, folded in half to make a beak, two wings
    • Cow: Triangle, oval, two ears, cowbell, spots for body
  • Have your child glue the shapes together in the top center of a sheet of construction paper to create a face
  • Add eyes to the faces
  • Roll the paper into a cylinder and staple or glue into place
  • Add accordion-folded paper strips or streamers on the bottom
  • Add string to the top to hang
  • Optional: Add cotton balls to the sheep’s face, add feathers to the chick’s head, add a curly tail to the pig

The fun doesn’t have to end at books, songs, and a craft. There are many ways to enrich a storytime with additional activities and lessons. Here are a few ideas for you and your child: 

  • Visit local farms to see animals! Maymont Farm and Meadow Farm at Crump Park are free to visit!
  • You can also visit working farms to see what they’re growing. Shalom Farms offers tours on a sliding scale payment system.
  • Visit a farmers’ market to explore in-season crops. Walk through the stands and talk about which foods you see, what color they are, what size they are, etc.
  • Join us in the library for a visit from Teeny Tiny Farm in June. Check your branch’s calendar to see exact dates.
  • Create farm-themed sensory bins! Fill a container, box, etc. up with popcorn kernels/cornmeal, dirt, grass, oats, etc. and add animals, tractors, scooping and pouring utensils and more. Let your kid explore the items as well as pretend play with the animals.
  • Read Mrs. Wishy Washy’s Farm and then have your child paint farm animals before giving them a bath – just like in the book!
  • Get messy with tractor mud painting.
    • Did you know: Some of our branches have seed libraries where you can pick up seeds (for free!) to plant at home. You can visit Main Library or the West End branch to pick up your seeds.
  • Do more farm crafts! Here is a great list with more ideas.
  • Make farm-themed treats for your child.

We share these Storytime at Home posts twice a month, so be sure to check back soon for more. You can also search “#storytimeathome” to see all past posts.

Sarah Fenninger

Sarah Fenninger is a lifelong book worm and library lover, and an enthusiastic appreciator of puns, creative outlets, silliness, and FUN. She considers herself lucky to be able to combine all of these things into a role as a Library Associate in Youth Services and Outreach with Richmond Public Library. Sarah loves interactive children's books and singing songs that promote motor development and movement. When she's not at work preparing crafts or reading silly books about dinosaurs in underwear, Sarah can be found at one of Richmond's many local parks/trails and spending time with family, including her husband, daughter, cat, and two chickens.

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