Welcome to day 15 of DIY Summer Camp at home. On this third week of DIY Summer Camp, we’re going to learn about animals, including jungle animals, farm animals, and family pets. This makes for some fun activities that you can do right in your own backyard. Or, even better, you can send the kids out to do, while you relax.
Sleepy sheep and munching cows
We’re headed out to the farm for today’s animal fun. Let’s play with the sheep, cows and pigs, while we dance and learn more about farming today.
Activity: Sheep Herding
What you need:
- white balloons (at least 2 per player)
- black permanent marker
- black paper
Here’s what you do:
Blow up the white balloons. Use the black paper and permanent markers to add tails and faces to the balloons to make the “sheep”.
Give each player a broom. Use tape or paper to create a “pen” for the “sheep”. Assign each player their “sheep” and have them use the broom to “herd” their sheep into the pen. Who can do it the fastest?
Activity: Milk the Cow
What you need:
- A large thick piece of cardboard
- a rubber glove
- rubber band
- a very small pin
- white & black paint
What you do:
Draw a cow on the cardboard, and paint it white and black. Fill the rubber glove with water, and use the rubber band to tie it shut. Then staple it (above the water!) to the cow in the right place.
Prick each finger with your pin, and put a bucket underneath the glove fingers. Then invite your kids to “milk” the cow by squeezing the fingers. As they squeeze the fingers, the water should shoot into the bucket.
- Popping corn (microwave? air popper?)
Pop your popcorn and enjoy! Corn is a staple of many farm animals, and people love corn too. Try flavoring your popcorn with cheese, caramel, or chili powder.
Activity: Chicken Dance
To play: Do you know how to dance the chicken dance?
Activity: Pig snort contest!
To play: Make piggie sounds. Who has the best snort? And how many times can you do a pig snort without giggling??
Farm facts for you to share
Farming has been around almost as long as there have been people. But farming as we know it today really didn’t start until after the Industrial Revolution. That’s when people invented farm tools that allowed farmers to produce more than they needed on a regular basis.
Today, about 1 in 5 people world-wide are employed in farming of some kind. In the US, farmers and ranchers only account for 2% of the population, but in less developed countries, just about everyone grows their own food.
Today, industrialized farms can produce nearly 250% more food than they did just 75 years ago. But now, the concern is on sustainability, and not damaging the environment, especially as less developed countries look to improve their ability to produce food.
The biggest farm in the world is in China, and covers 22.5 MILLION acres!
The largest amount of farmland in the world is today is planted in wheat. That’s closely followed by potatoes, rice and corn. But the largest fruit crop in the world are bananas. And the top world producer of bananas is India, while China grows the most wheat.
In the US, the most important crop grown is corn, with the majority of corn grown going to fuel. The second most important crop is cotton, which isn’t a food, but fiber, used in clothing and fabrics.
In Canada, the most important crop grown is wheat. The same goes for the UK.
Livestock farming refers to raising animals for human use, either as work animals, for clothing or for food.
The earliest domesticated animal we have evidence for are for sheep and goats. But humans have domesticated and farmed all kinds of animals, from cows and pigs to alpaca and ostriches. We’ve even attempted to farm elk and capybara. A capybara is a large rodent from South America, in case you didn’t know.
Today, many animals are raised in what are known as “factory farms” which have sometimes not been the best situations for the animals (or for the food produced!). These kinds of farms aren’t always healthy or sanitary for humans or animals, but they are profitable, which is why they continue to exist.
Farms look very different around the world. In the US, Canada and the UK, farms are managed using hi-tech equipment and computers. Large machines plow, plant, water, fertilize and harvest the crops from the field, using the latest in GPS and even sometimes automatic driving technologies.
But in less developed countries, farmers might still plow using simple tools, plant and harvest by hand.
End of the day: read aloud time.
There’s nothing that settles kids down like storytime at the end of the day. So after all the farm exploration today in our farm animals theme, grab a classic read-aloud and read a chapter every night this week.
Try one of these:
Come back tomorrow for another day full of animal-filled adventures. And don’t forget to subscribe so you get every day of the DIY Summer Camp at Home right in your inbox.