The Grassy Farm Barn - Enhancing imagination and learning

Are your children fascinated with Animals? Mine are.
Its a great idea to follow a child's lead and provide them with enriching play areas based on their interests. If they're interested in something they pay more attention, enjoy themselves more and this means that they learn more.
Both Dimples & Miss Cherub love animals so I set up this little Pretend play barn yard.
If you missed it, I have this post that goes through WHY Pretend Play is so important in early childhood and the benefits of it.

I still strongly advocate the benefits of pretend play  so following the interests of both Dimples and Miss Cherub I set up this Farm barn play area on a low lying coffee table that they both could access freely and explore easily. I aimed to use materials that resembles a real life farm yard in order to capture their imagination and attention for longer more enjoyable pretend play. I think it worked! They love it.
I added some artificial grass covering the play table to give it a realistic look and feel. This enhances the imaginary play experience and makes the play area more inviting. I then added a pebble patterned mat (it was a small shower mat), a blue foam cut out in the shape of a pond and a fake silk plant to really give the Grassy Farm area a realistic feel.

The farm area is complete with a little plastic barn and of course a variety of plastic farm animals. Both Dimples and Miss Cherub have enjoyed the area and engaged in pretend play together and alone at different levels of play. Dimples, nearly 5 has a vivid imagination and pretends it a real working farm, the dog does the herding, the sheep need to be sheared and the cows eat grass, the rooster crows at the crack of dawn, the tractor maintains the pastor, the pig rolls on the edge of the pond and so on. He labels the animals and is learning the different names based on the animals gender eg. a sow, a boar & a piglet.  In the book shelf next to it I have some farm yard board books for him to expand on.

Where as Miss Cherub (nearly 1) explores the texture of the grass with her finger tips (and sometimes her mouth) and the feel of the foam pond, she is following Dimples through imitation and makes Moo sounds, "roff roff" barking sounds and she gets the horses to trott up and down clicking her tongue and jiggling around as if she is riding a horse. Its so cute to watch her learning through observing the way big brother plays. This also gives me an opportunity to introduce new vocabulary to her by labeling the animals for her.

Learning Concepts:
Pretend Play & Developing imaginary play scenes
Early vocabulary
Turn taking and sharing,
Learning animal names, sounds, diet and place in the farm.
Exploring real life concepts

Other ways to create a play space to enhance imaginative play
A fun Science Lab conducting real experiments
Magical Gnome Garden
Banking & Sorting: using real money & a trip to the bank
Sensory Play: Ice cream dough

Have you used any materials in a play area to immitate real life?

Happy Adventures 

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Mud Kitchen Outdoor Play Renovation

Summer time in Australia means outside play for us, we are lucky to have a large double yard with some big shady trees to play under. 
Over a year ago we made this Magnificent Mud Kitchen which has been well and truly used, enjoyed and utilized in many ways which adds to the outdoor adventures but it was time to update and add some more elements. There are some new storage pots, a few jugs, his own toaster (our old one with cord cut off) and a spice rack with jars among other things. 

Here it is.....


I love to encourage Dimples to play outside, although he is such a movie/TV lover, i think if I put the TV or a movie on he would sit in front of the screen all day!  So most days the television stays OFF all day, and to avoid the question of  "can i watch a cartoon?" and encourage some active, imaginative and outdoor play we have been renovating (so to speak) Dimples outdoor Play space; We have been working on a music wall, a large sandpit, A PVC Pipe Water Wall   and   a Dino themed play garden in a tyre. 
its a work in progress and it is coming along nicely. 

We have updated and renewed the Mud Kitchen in many ways....
First I laid down some rubber mats under the mud kitchen, then i dug a dry creek bed that goes under a sweet little bridge (just to add the element of imagination into the play setting) I bordered the entire area off and laid down some plastic, then got a heap of bark chip in so now Dimples Outdoor Balance Stumps are embedded in the bark chip. He still has his Pirate tree house there, hop-scotch and many climbing apparatuses.


I added some pots and utensils to the Mud Station and screwed in these cute Orange metal buckets across the front so that Dimples could store his cooking ingredients in them. They make the area more practical and more appealing as everything Dimples needs is within arms length.
He can now tie in some Nature Play by collecting his own seeds, rosemary from the garden, seashells when we are out, gum nuts, dandelions, pebbles and flowers to store in the orange pots and use in his cooking creations.

A favorite meal is still Wombat Stew.
He often cooks meals, chatting away to himself, narrating his own pretend play  "just a table spoon of this, a sprinkle of that, mix it, cook it for 15 minutes, add a handful of this" I love his role playing and listening to his vocabulary develop.
He enjoys pretending to be a Master Chef at the "Dog Club Cafe" and serves up dishes full of things from the garden, add some mud, water and sand to season then he gives it to our 3 dogs.
Get this.... they actually sit and eat it (or sit there and lick the water out but Dimples is convinced he cooks gourmet style).

Another coat on the chalk board renewed its life. Its been a great addition to the mud kitchen, it aids in early literacy by providing a writing surface to practice/pretend writing a menu. I usually write a menu up to read to Dimples of he will ask me to write certain things, like Wombat Stew and watch me.
The soft outdoor rubber Mats underneath mean we don't have grass popping up everywhere any more and if Dimples drops some ingredients they can be scooped right up and reused. They also give it an indoor feel, like its a real kitchen.
I think out of all our outdoor play and DIY projects this has been consistently the most used and enjoyed.

Do you have an Outdoor Kitchen?

What is the most loved ingredient to create with?

Happy Adventures 

You can keep updated with all our Adventures by following Adventures at Home with Mum on Facebook, follow us on Pinterest, or check us out on Instagram.

I love reading your comments 


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