For years, even prior to E and V’s birth, we have gone to a corn maze at a favourite farm. A family traditions. Last year was the first time E and V truly participated; walking around, choosing routes, and cleaning up the corn on the trail. This year they enjoyed having more of a say in the routes and telling us all about the animals they saw.
The girls have been into farm animals for some time, even before they received their barn for Christmas last year. Prior to this farm trip, showing that they were ready for more, we began to learn the names of mama and baby animals. We previously used these cards for matching to animal figurines but started incorporating these (which we will soon use to match with figurines, as well).
They also enjoy pouring. Water, pom-poms, sawdust…they love to pour it all.
When I noticed a potential texture preference I wanted to ensure that, one, there was a sensitivity and, two, that if there was I wouldn’t be exposing her to it purposely if it was indeed a sensitivity. That’s when I decided to put together an activity that would allow me to observe in a more contained and precise way. Also, an activity that they both would enjoy (they just love “feeding” their farm animals).
In setting up this activity I included two different textures: the potential sensitivity and one I knew wasn’t. This was so that she could still enjoy the activity, because how cruel would it be to just put out a potential sensitivity, right!?
What I used:
-A Melissa and Doug tray that looked like a fence (this particular one)
-Schleich farm animals (here’s one of our favourite sets)
-A container that they could open and close that looked like a trough. While ours was thrifted. I love that the closure is a latch hook as it offers a little fine motor challenge.
-The trough that came with their farm set.
-Sage bundles. These are something I’ve had for some time and not something I recommend purchasing or will be purchasing again, at least unless I can guarantee it can be obtained ethically. As I learn better, I do better. I would highly recommend dry cut grass or hay.
-Small animal feed, like birdseed, oats, or dried corn.
I cut the felt to fit at the bottom of the tray. I didn’t glue it down so that the tray may be used again for other purposes. I like to hold on to the felt for future projects–although I’m sure it will be used to represent grass for some time.
If you’ve followed our journey for some time (thank you!) you may remember that we avoid using food as play. But why am I okay using animal feed? Because we use this vacuum to clean up. I’m able to fully see what’s in the canaster and ensure that it is, indeed, just the animal feed and still safe to use as feed. (Did I mention I am able to completely clean the vacuum fully, which makes my Mrs Hinch fangirl heart happy, haha.)
After the farm activity was set up I placed it on their weaning table as an invitation to play and practice their skills. No presentation necessary.
As expected, it was a huge success. I was also able to observe all materials being played with, repeatedly, by both E and V assuring me that there is no sign of sensitivity, at least not at this time.
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