Barnyard Banter, by Denise Fleming

This is a fun book to introduce children to the animals that live on a farm and the special voice each has. Older children enjoy the sing-song rhythm of the book and use it as an easy first read. Denise Fleming’s web site has directions on how to make all the animals from the story out of paper plates which are very cute.


  • Goose for Where’s Goose game
  • Butterfly kite and directions
  • Pictures of animals in story
  • Barn- cut the door so that you can put an animal behind and then open and close the door
  • 1 roll of toilet paper, 1 bar of ivory soap, 1 cheese grater
  • Animals without legs (make a second copy of the animals in the story and cut off the legs
  • Clipping clothes pins


  • Banter (playful talk between two people or animals)
  • Wallow (mud pool that pigs like)

Before Reading the Story

Put the different animals behind the barn door. Give the children clues to which animal is hiding behind the door. Open the door and encourage the children to make the animal sound. (This animal is very small and has a long tail. I eats the grain and corn that fall onto the floor in the barn/mouse).

Approaches to Learning/Reasoning & Problem Solving; develops increasing abilities to classify, compare, and contrast objects, events, and experiences.

Reading the Story

Find a simple tune to sing-song through the book. I use Skip to My Lou. You can help the children count the animals on each page as you read.

Mathematics/Number & Operations; develops increasing ability to count in sequence to 10 and beyond.

After Reading the Story

Ask the children if anyone noticed what the goose was chasing on the pages of the story. Did it ever catch the butterfly? Why do you think the goose was chasing the butterfly?

Literacy/Book Knowledge & Appreciation; shows growing interest and involvement in listening to and discussing a variety of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.

Play Where’s Goose? Play this like Doggie, Doggie, Where’s Your Bone but have the children take turns hiding the goose instead.

Social & Emotional Development/Cooperation; develops increasing abilities to give and take in interactions; to take turns in games and in using materials; and to interact without being overly submissive or directive.


Bring in pictures of animals from the story for the children to look at.   If you have a peacock feather bring it in so the children can see the iridescent colors. Talk about how the animals are similar and different.

Approaches to Learning/Reasoning & Problem Solving; develops increasing abilities to classify, compare, and contrast objects, events, and experiences. AND Science/Scientific Skills & Methods; develops increasing ability to observe and discuss common properties, differences, and comparisons among objects and materials.

Music and Movement

Sing Old McDonald Had a Farm.

Sing I had a Rooster putting up flannels of the animals as you go.
I had a little rooster by the barnyard gate,
That little rooster was my playmate.
That little rooster went cock-a-doodle-doo,
Dee, doodle, dee, doodle, dee, doodle, dee, doo.

Cow-moo, dee, moo, dee, moo dee, moo /Chicken-clucka, dee, clucka dee, clucka, dee cluck/Pig-muckadee, Etc using animals from the story.

Creative Arts/Music; participates with increasing interest and enjoyment in a variety of music activities, including listening, singing, finger plays, games, and performances.

Ask the children if they can show you how to move like a waddling duck, a galloping horse, a pig wallowing in the mud, a goose strutting, or a butterfly fluttering.

Physical Health & Development/Gross Motor Skills; shows increasing levels of proficiency, control, and balance walking, climbing, running, jumping, hopping, skipping, marching, and galloping.


Put out farm animals and encourage the children to build a big barn. Encourage them to build pastures with fences for each like kind of animal. Are they able to sort the animals by like kind?

Mathematics/Patterns & Measurement; shows increasing abilities to match, sort, put in a series, and regroup objects according to one or two attributes such as shape or size.


Have the children decorate the wings of the butterfly in any way they choose.

Creative Arts/Art; gains ability in using different art media and materials in a variety of ways for creative expression and representation.

Ask the children to help draw some of the farm animals and hang on the wall near a barn.

Creative Arts/Art; progresses in abilities to create drawings, paintings, models, and other art creations that are more detailed, creative, and realistic.

Library and Writing

Put out the animal pictures and encourage the children to copy the animal names with magnets or pencils.

Literacy/Early Writing; progresses from scribbles, shapes, or pictures to represent ideas, to using letter-like symbols, to copying or writing familiar words such as their own name.

Sand and Water

In the story the pigs were enjoying the mud. Add dirt and water to the table or try making clean mud with the children. (Children rip the toilet paper off into squares, and grate the bar of soap. Add water a little bit at a time until you have a nice consistency for squishing and making balls with)

Science/Scientific Knowledge; shows increased awareness and beginning understanding of changes in materials and cause-effect relationships.

Math and Manipulatives

Cut out the animals without legs and cover with contact paper. The children use clip clothespins to add the correct number of legs to each animal.

Mathematics/Number & Operations; demonstrates increasing interest and awareness of numbers and counting as a means for solving problems and determining quantity.

Outdoor Play

Take the children’s butterfly wings, straws, and tape outside to make simple butterfly kites with the children. Let them pretend that they are running away from the goose. Can they recall some of the animals in the story? The children can pretend to be these animals also as the butterfly runs by.

Literacy/Book Knowledge & Appreciation; demonstrates progress in ability to retell and dictate stories from books and experiences; to act out stories in dramatic play; and to predict what will happen next in a story.


Put all the animal pictures in a basket and have the children take turns picking one. They must then make that animals voice as they move onto the next activity.

Language Development/Speaking & Understanding; develops increasing abilities to understand and use language to communicate information, experiences, ideas, feelings, opinions, needs, questions; and for other varied purposes.


enlarge for art and butterfly kite
About Kerry CI am an Early Childhood Educator who has seen daily the value of shared book readings with my preschoolers. I use the book theme in my centers and can daily touch upon a variety of Early Childhood Domains which makes assessing the children easy and individualized.