Ask the child to identify the colors on each play piece, starting with the trees and animals. Challenge the child to choose an animal or tree, name the colors on it, and then to find buildings and other pieces that feature the same colors.
Have the child identify the animals by name and what sounds they make (don't forget the chickens, birds, and even the bunny!). Make an animal sound and have the child pick out the animal that makes it, then switch and have the child make the sound while you find the matching piece!
Have the child sort the pieces into groups--just animals, buildings, things that grow in the ground (i.e., carrots, corn, trees), and "other"--and talk about how each piece is an important part of life on a farm Have the child count the pieces in each group. Ask which group has the most pieces and which has the least. Have fun discussing into which group the child wants to put pieces like the chicken coop or the fence with a rabbit eating carrots.
On a hard, flat surface, challenge the child to stack the pieces in different ways. For instance: all of the animals lying flat; all of the buildings standing up; as many pieces as possible in the trailer (how long can tractor pull the tower before it topples?); farmhouse, gate, goat, doghouse, scarecrow; or all the pieces with yellow on them. See how high the child can build a tower of pieces and what different shapes and designs he or she can create! Take turns stacking pieces, trying to build a tower as high as possible before it topples over.
Have the child use the pieces to set up set up a farm. Use string, yarn, blocks, paper, or chalk (if surface is erasable) to add features such as fields, ponds, or roads. Add other toys and play pieces the child already has, such as vehicles, animal figures, play people, or chunky puzzle pieces. Ask the child to take you "on a tour" of the farm he or she has created. Take turns telling a story about people who live and work on the farm.
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