Encourage the child to tell a story using the rug and horses. Perhaps the chestnut horse wants to go for a walk around the lake, but he is afraid to go alone and so the white horse offers to come along. Encourage the child to give the horses names and to imagine what their favorite things to do might be.
Ask the child to put the horses into the stalls in the paddock, counting as each one goes in. Move one horse to the pasture and help the child count how many horses remain in the stalls. Repeat, removing one horse at a time until all four horses are in the pasture.
Ask the child to help each horse find a water trough. Are there enough for each horse to have his or her own? Next, ask the child to move each horse to a bale of hay. Do they each get own or do some have to share? Talk to the child about sharing.
Move a horse around the ranch from one location to another. For example, the horse might go from the barn, around the track in a figure eight, then to the pasture to eat some apples. Ask the child to watch you and then follow the same route from memory. Take turns being the leader and the follower as you change the route around the rug.
Add your own toys: Round the Farm Horse Rug is designed to play perfectly with toys you already have! Use additional horses and other animals, wooden cars, chunky puzzle pieces, and play people to fill the scene and play make-believe. You can use blocks to make extra jumps for the horses, add fish to the lake, or use pebbles to build up the wall; and more. Get creative and have fun!
Help the child to count different details on the rug, such as the number of apples on the tree and on the ground, or the number of black rocks on the wall near the path. As the child becomes able to count independently, ask him or her to find a specific number of items on the rug. For instance, you might say, "Show me three bushes with red flowers and three bushes with yellow flowers." Or, "Can you point to five trees?"
Put all the horses in the pasture, and then ask the child to help a horse to do an activity following specific directions. For instance, you might say, "The white horse wants to go over a bridge." Or, "The spotted horse is going to go around the exercise track twice, and then she needs to go to her stall in the paddock." Build on the number of activities to practice memory and concentration skills.
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