Down on the Farm Activities, and a Freebie!

I have always been inspired to teach kids by theme. Since I was raised on a farm, I have always enjoyed teaching my kids about what it's like to be on a farm. I especially like cows, and so today I'm going to share my favorite activities that have a "cow theme" to them. 

To begin, I'd like to share some terrific books about cows! 

The first book, I'd like to suggest to most teachers is "The Milk Makers" by Gail Gibbons

"The Milk Makers" is a Reading Rainbow book, because it teaches kids how milk is processed. Most kids only know that we buy milk at the store, and put it in our refrigerators. They don't understand that milk starts out on a farm. This book will help them learn how milk ends up on their fridge.

Another great book by Gail Gibbons is "Farming".

 "Farming" gives children an idea of what it is like to be on a farm. The illustrations show what it looks like to be on a farm, throughout the entire year. It shares what kind of chores a farmer and his family must do, during each individual season. Another fun thing about this book is; it describes different kinds of farms, and the animals in each one. 

I would use both books to help introduce this theme! 

The first activity is my favorite, because I love ice-cream! Especially, homemade ice-cream! Now, most of you know that I encourage parents and teachers to get messy with their kids. So that's exactly what I'm going to do! I encourage you to take your kiddos into the kitchen to make homemade ice-cream! 
This is a wonderful activity because kids put their math, reading, and science skills to the test! Before doing this, I suggest that you read "From Cow to Ice Cream" by Bertram T. Knight with your kids. Then explain to them that they will get the chance to make some ice-cream with you! 

Here is what you will need to make your ice-cream:

Pint size zip-lock freezer bags (1 per child)
Gallon size zip-lock freezer bags (1 per child)
Crushed Ice
Rock Salt (6 tablespoons per child)
Liquid Measuring Cups
Paper Towels
Plastic Spoons
Whole Milk (1/2 cup per child)
Sugar (1 tablespoon per child)
Vanilla Extract (1/2 teaspoon per child)


1) Pour your milk, sugar, and vanilla into your pint-size freezer bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible. Seal your bag and shake to mix the ingredients.
2) Put ice into your gallon size freezer bag so that the bag is half full. Add about 4 to 6 tablespoons of rock salt to it.
3) Put the pint size bag with your milk mixture into the gallon size bag. 
4) Close tightly and shake. If the bag gets too cold, you can wrap it in paper towels to keep your hands warm. Your mixture will become thick, when it is ready. 
5) Open your bag carefully and enjoy! 

While eating, you will want to make sure to review what food group ice cream comes from and what milk does to help our bodies be strong. You can also talk about what causes the ice cream to freeze. The salt lowers the freezing point of the water so that it can get colder than ice. The cold water and ice mixture cause the milk (a liquid) to freeze and become a solid.

Do you remember, how I suggested reading "The Milk Makers" by Gail Gibbons? Well before this next activity, I would read it, because you'll be teaching kids how to "milk a cow" the old fashion way. {If you are not sure, how to do this... Make sure to "Google It", and learn how before proceeding!}

What you will need is:
One or two Latex-free gloves
Twist Ties 
White Tempera Paint and Water
A Bucket
A pin

1) Fill your glove with a thin mixture of white tempera paint and water. Tie the glove closed, at the top, with a twist tie.
2) Poke tiny holes in the fingertips of the glove with a pin.
3) Place the bucket underneath, and let the kids take turns "milking the cow". 
** Make sure to do this activity after discussing the "old fashion" way of milking a cow- explain to the kids that cows are no longer milked that way. You may show pictures of how cows are milked today. Another great idea is to see if a local dairy farm will allow you to make a video of their milking process. You could then show your kids the video and talk about our modern day technology.

I hope you liked my ideas, and suggestions! If you visit my blog, you can grab a "Rebus Story- Barn in the Country Printable". I hope all of you enjoy it, and can use it to teach your kids about being on farm!


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