Create a play farm with Make a Farm, a free learning activity. Kids learn about farm animals and crops. Free interactive software for a fun and educational learning project.     

Make a model farm, with barn, silo, farmhouse, and chicken coop.




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Make a Farm

A learning project to create a model farm using free software

     Make a Farm teaches children about where our food comes from.  Using a PC printer and "Make a Farm" free software, kids can make their own model farm.  Younger children will learn about farm animals, what they eat, where they live, and what they produce.  Older students can learn how a farm is organized, and some of the economic factors that govern farming.  Kids also learn to visualize how two dimensional shapes become three dimensional shapes.

Materials needed:

Use of a PC computer and printer
Tape or glue
Crayons, markers or colored pencils
"Make a Farm" free educational software program for patterns of farm buildings on your PC printer: Owl & Mouse Make a Farm

Strongly recommended:

Butcher paper, construction paper or heavy paper for "ground"
2 paper clips
index cards (for animals)

     Open "Make a Farm". Print out the patterns for barn1, barn2, silo, silo cap, farmhouse, shed, chicken coop and fence. The farmhouse, barn, chicken coop and the shed need a roof printed out (or you can cut them out of construction paper.) Make as many sheds and buildings as you want.
     You can print on ordinary computer paper, or on thicker paper if desired. (you will probably want to use paper heavier than most computer paper if a number of children are doing the project.) Check your printers instructions before printing on heavy paper--some do and some don’t. You can also take your printouts to a copy shop and copy onto heavier paper, or enlarge them.
     It is best to color the buildings before cutting them out. When coloring, you should turn the building around so that you are coloring each side "right way up". You can decorate and add things to the buildings, especially the farm house (curtains, a doorknob, a cat in the window, houseplants, and flowers and bushes). Barns are traditionally red, sometimes with white trim. Most of the other buildings are typically white or wood colored, but you don’t have to be limited by that. Maybe your chicken would like bright designs on their coop.
     Cut out the patterns on the heaviest black outline, cutting around the tabs where they occur. You can cut the doors on one side and across the top, so that they open. Notice the door for the chickens on the chicken house--on it, cut the two sides (vertically), as it swings from the top.
     Fold the house on all the lines, including the tab lines. When you hold the buildings with the colored side toward you, all folds are away from you (blank sides of the paper together), and at 90 degree angles when you are finished. Fold everything, then glue or tape the tabs on the inner (flat) roof to the sides of the house. Then fasten the back of the house to the sides. The sides will stick up to hold the roof. The tabs on the side piece can be used to hold the roof in place (or cut off, if you prefer). The top of the barn fits onto the bottom of the barn, with a narrow strip on the front and back of the bottom piece to hold it on. The top piece can be secured with glue or tape if you like. If you want the doors to open, be sure to cut the doors before you assemble the barn. Younger children may need help assembling the buildings.
     The silo and silo cap are different from the other buildings. The silo is rolled into a tube and fastened with tape or glue. (If you are using tape, you will need to put a piece on the outside). The silo cap is folded (as if you were trying to put the circle back together) so that the tab is under the opposite edge, and glued or taped. The silo goes next to the barn (either side); you may want to use glue or tape rolled into a circle and pressed flat to join the silo to the barn. If you use glue on the silo and silo cap, you may need to fasten it temporarily with a paper clip while the glue dries.
     Use butcher paper or pieces of construction to make the fields and yards for the farm. If you use construction paper, use brown and green to represent fields in various stages of growth. Brown might be plowed fields, while green represents crops already coming up. Tape or glue together as many pieces as you want to make a farm the size you want (3 pieces x 2 pieces works well).
     You will need enough fence to fence in your cows and horses. Decide what fences you want for your fields.
     Decide what you want to grow on your farm. You might want to include:




peppers (green, red, yellow)
sweet potatoes


orange--yes, in California


soy beans
an herb garden
flowers, (too many to mention)

     Of course you can grow flower all over the farm. Some vineyards grow a rose at the end of each row of grapes.
     Go over what is food for people and what is food for animals. Of course, animals often eat other parts of plants which have a food crop for people.
     What does your farm family eat, and what do you plan to sell? You have to grow more if you plan to sell some of it. You also need to grow food for your livestock.
     Plan which animals you want to have on your farm, and then arrange a place for each kind of animal. The silo is used to store winter food for the horses and cows. The food has to be stored so that air cannot get to it, in order to keep it wholesome for them to eat.

Chickens--chicken coop and chicken yard
Cows--barn at night
Horses--barn at night
Pigs--pig sty
Do you want anything unusual, such as llamas? Ostriches? Emus?

     The chickens go in the chicken coop at night. When do they go during the day? You can arrange a chicken yard for them. Do you have ducks or geese? Where do they stay? You might want to think about where on your farm you want your house. Is it close to the edge of your farm, near a road? Where do you want your barn? Is the barn close to the house? Where are the chickens? The cows? The pigs? Other animals? Do you have a dog or a cat? Where do they sleep?
     What purpose does each animal serve? Why do people keep them?

Horses--pull things, or to ride they live in the barn
Cows--milk and meat
Chickens--eggs, meat
Turkeys, ducks, geese--eggs and meat
Sheep--wool, meat
Goats--milk, meat

     Go over what each kind of food each animal eats, and how you will grow it for them. The chickens, turkeys and ducks eat corn that has been cracked for them, and also bugs they find. Cows and horses eat corn, hay, alfalfa and other plant material. Pigs eat household scraps. Sheep eat mostly grass and hay. Goats will eat brush, tree leaves and most any other kind of plant material.
     You can draw the different animals, or use stickers, or cut pictures out of magazines. You may want to draw pictures of the things you grow on your farm on the butcher paper. You will probably want a path or road out to each of your fields also. You can move buildings around until you have exactly the kind of farm you want.
     Older children can be led to think about the geography and climate of farms: They sell food to people mostly in cities. Are farms in cities? If it takes three days to get to the city from the farm can you have a dairy farm? How fresh are your fruits and vegetables? Where are the farms that raise your food? Where are the farms closest to you? Fifty years ago, were there farms where you live? What kinds of farm products can be raised where you live? Are there differences between plants you can grow in a garden, and plants it is practical to grow commercially?
     Make a Farm can also tie in with discussion of history--the settlement of the West and especially the Midwestern United States, the Homestead Act, etc. Make a Farm shows a family farm, and a discussion of the replacement of small farms with larger farms run by companies, and the economic impacts of this situation could also be discussed.
     For younger students, ask what you ate yesterday, and then talk about where and how it was grown.
     Ask if it is better to be raised on a farm or in a city? Have the kids tell you what they think.


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