Apples, chickens, and a straw maze! Fall fun has officially arrived to Tollgate Farm! We signed in by using alligator tweezers to chomp our fish-shaped names out of the pond. Goats were voted upon by the group as the next animal of focus, so we’ll plan on milking Jenna, one of our Toggenburg goats, next week. Farm Sprouts had some fun with farm stamps and finished personalizing their nature journals, along with experimenting with the weight of natural materials with a balance scale.
We greeted each other for the day with Spanish phrases and reviewed the Spanish words for duck (el pato) and pig (el cerdo). We also added rooster (la gallina) to our list in anticipation of our visit to the chicken coop. Our story of the day focused on shapes, titled, Pick a Circle, Gather Squares: A Fall Harvest of Shapes by Felicia Sanzari Chernesky. We also spotted many of the farm animals which live at Tollgate Farm in the book. It was exciting to spot the different shapes in the illustrations and during our adventures around the farm, we hunted for shapes as well. We took photos of our shape discoveries to make our own “Barnyard Shapes” book for our classroom.
In our outdoor classroom space, we made mud for our pigs in the sensory table and took a close look at eggs, including their weight, color, and the parts of a broken-out egg. We also stumbled on some wild strawberries growing nearby.
It was then time to run out some energy by challenging the children to make it through our straw maze! We noted the rectangular shape of the straw bales and fortunately made it through so we could make our way to the animal barn for chores.
In the animal barn, we practiced using quiet voices and slow feet. We greeted the goats and spent some time with one of our hens, observing her anatomy, including her comb, round eyes, feathers, and claws. We heard the rooster call out his “cock-a-doodle-do!” We each had a chance to help collect eggs or carry the basket. Farm Sprouts showed a great team work skills to accomplish the chicken chores and we’ll return to care for them again this season.
Our “Harvest Snack” today involved using the apple picker to harvest our own apples. On our way to a favorite apple tree, we stumbled on a bird’s nest, blown down by the windy weather, and a rather large, yet harmless spider. Each child had a chance to help hold the picker to collect an apple. We sang the song, “Way Up High in the Apple Tree” and munched our apples at the silo.
Finally we returned to the Children’s Garden for nature journaling and our goodbye. We found flowers, bees, a frog, and a giant rock.
Thank you to Ms. Marilyn Diekman, a Master Gardener volunteer at Tollgate, for spending the morning with us! It was truly a pleasure to have you share in our morning!