April starts the warm weather and a great time to get children involved in the outdoors. One great activity is to visit the days of old stepping back into the farmland that the Midwest is known for. The Wagner Farm located in Glenview, IL. The Wagner Farm is one the few remaining farms in north suburban Cook County, IL which sits on 18.6 acres of land. The farm was owned by the Wagner family until 1997.
The Wagner farm has cows, chickens, draft horses, pigs, a farmhouse, and a restored barn. This represents a time period of the late 1890’s through the 1920’s in the northern suburbs. This farm allows children and adults to interact with the animals and experience the connection between farms, people, and the circle of life. It is a great way to show children how we are able to get food on our table and keep the balance of preserving the animal kingdom. The Wagner farm has well informed volunteers who can answer any questions on animal’s diet, exercise, and daily farm life.
The Wagner farm hosts variety events including art projects which incorporate the daily farm life and the animals. The farm also has many educational programs for surrounding schools geared for children in grades Preschool through 8th grade. For children up to 7 years old some of the hands on activities are grinding corn to feed the live stock, and pumping water for cows, even make sample butter to take home. It’s a great introduction to the connection of farm life and today’s world. Admission is free and hours are Monday thru Friday 9am-5pm and Sunday 9 am-3pm.
Another program for children up to age 12 is the farm to table expo; children get a chance to meet a dairy farmer and local grocer to learn differences of goods and services. Children will use teamwork to explore how to get items they need for their dinner table to feed everyone. Programs are currently between 75 minutes – 90 minute s and price is $5.25-$5.50 depending on school being in district. Exploring the farm and days of old can be fun and very informative.
The experience of teamwork and needing animals to help improve our lives can be invaluable lesson.
Objective: To show animals have emotions just as we do and the connection between farm life and our home life.
Materials: Animal cut outs
White Drawing paper
1. Place cut outs, markers, glue, and glitter glue on the table with the white drawing paper.
2. Ask the child what kind of animals they want to place on their farm, and what colors represent the feeling of the animal. They catch match the color of their feeling with the animal and the color they want to be in the picture.
3. The discussion that follows this activity should be one on how animals have feelings just as humans do, they just can’t speak our language. It’s important to show animals love and take care of them so they can help feed us with their milk, eggs, etc.