Big Red Barn, by Margaret Wise Brown

What do farm animals do all day? This book is a nice introduction to farm animals and the barn.


  • Small amount of hay or grass.
  • Large box to make a barn, or a sheet to cover the table to make a barn,
  • Several jars of bubbles and bubble wands (bubble wands can be made by bending pipe cleaners)


  • Weather Vane (A device that sits on top of a barn and points the way the wind is blowing)
  • Tomcat (a big Daddy cat)

Before Reading the Story

Ask the children to name all the farm animals that they can think of. Write all the answers on a large piece of paper.

Social & Emotional Development/Knowledge of Families & Communities; begins to express and understand concepts and language of geography in the contexts of the classroom, home, and community. AND Approaches to Learning/Reasoning & Problem-Solving; develops increasing abilities to classify, compare, and contrast objects, events, and experiences.

Reading the Story

Show the children the weather vane and explain that it tells which way the wind is blowing. When you get to the page that talks of the sheep and the goat making noises in their throat, ask the children if they know what kind of noise they make.

Science/Scientific Knowledge; expands knowledge of and abilities to observe, describe, and discuss the natural world, materials, living things, and natural processes.

After Reading the Story

Tell the children that you are going to guess farm animals. Say “I see a /g/ pause /oat/. That makes a goat! Now I see a /sh/ pause /eep/. That makes a _____. See if the children can make a farm animal by saying the first letter sound and then adding the rest of the letter sounds. Ask the children if they can recall the animal that was up during the night.

Literacy/Phonological Awareness; shows growing awareness of beginning and ending sounds of words.


In the story the animals were out and about during the day. Which was the only animal that was up in the night? Discuss with the children what they do during the day and the night. Make a Venn diagram that shows the differences and similarities of the day and the night.

Mathematics/Patterns & Measurements; begins to make comparisons between several objects based on a single attribute. Approaches to Learning/Initiative & Curiosity; grows in eagerness to learn about and discuss a growing range of topics, ideas, and tasks.

Music and Movement

Teach the children the Baby Animal Song, to the tune of My Eyes are Little Windows

I had a cute cabalito/pony

My Dad he gave to me,
But now he is a caballo/horse
He grew so big you see.
I had a cute cerditto/piglet
My Dad he gave to me,
But now he is a cerdo/pig
He grew so big you see.

Language Development/Speaking & Communicating; uses an increasingly complex and varied spoken vocabulary.


Ask the children to build a barn and add any farm animals you have.

Social & Emotional Development/Cooperation; shows increasing abilities to use compromise and discussion in working, playing, and resolving conflicts with peers.


Use red finger paint today. Show the children how to make a barn in the paint(using a square and a triangle for the basic structure).  Encourage the children try to make farm animals also.

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

Library and Writing

Make a copy of the animal picture cards and cover with contact paper. Add a small piece of Velcro and the children can use these on the flannel board to make a farm scene. Encourage them to tell a story as they play.

Literacy/Book Knowledge & Appreciation; demonstrates progress in abilities 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.

Sand and Water

Add hay to the table today and let the children scoop it into buckets. If you do not have hay, use grass. Give the children shovels, tongs, and measuring cups to experiment picking up the hay/grass and putting it into a bucket.

Physical Health & Development/Fine Motor Skills; develops growing strength, dexterity, and control needed to use tools such as scissors, paper punch, stapler, and hammer.

Dramatic Play

Use a sheet to cover the dramatic table to make a ‘barn’. Make sure you can easily observe inside the barn. Or if you have room, use a box. You could take it outside and let the children paint it red the day before.

Creative Arts/Drama; shows growing creativity and imagination in using materials and in assuming different roles in dramatic play situations.

Math and Manipulatives

Make several copies of the barn picture and color them different colors. The children can then use small cubes, chain links, etc to match the color object onto the correct color barn.

Mathematics/Geometry & Spatial Sense; shows growth in matching, sorting, putting in a series, and regrouping objects according to one or two attributes such as color, shape,or size.

Outdoor play

Ask the children if they remember what the weathervane is used for. Then ask them if they can think of another way to tell which way the wind is blowing. Bring out the bubbles and let the children blow bubbles into the wind and away from the wind, what happens?

Science/Scientific Skills & Methods; begins to use senses and a variety of tools and simple measuring devices to gather information, investigate materials, and observe processes and relationships.


Dismiss the children by asking does this animal live on a farm? Name animals that do and do not live on a farm. The children respond yes or no. You can also have the children make the animal sound.(growl-no, meow-yes).

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

Dear Parents, today we read a story about animals who live on the farm. You can play a simple game called, ‘does it or does it not live on a farm’. Then begin naming animals and see if your child can recall if it lives on a farm or not. Let your child have a turn asking you about some animals.

 Accompanying Book, Farm Animals, by Wade Cooper


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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.