This featured nature books for kids Barnyard Banter is a picture book written by Denise Fleming. Barnyard Banter features a variety of farm animals and their sounds written for children ages 2-5 years old. The predictable and repeatable manner of this book allows for young children to practice and/or show off their knowledge of animals and their sounds. It also introduces non-domesticated animals on a farm such as crows, crickets, and mice. This gives children a more developed understanding of the overall workings of farms and raises the question of domestic versus non-domesticated animals. Overall I really enjoy this book and find it fun and exciting for early childhood audiences.
My Experience with Barnyard Banter
I have used this nature book for kids for many events including nature day camp, story hours and at home with my daughter. Most recently I featured this book for a story hour where we visited our 1870s homestead farm. We began the session by reading both Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert and then Barnyard Banter. Once we finished reading and practicing our animal sounds we set forth to complete two different farm-related crafts.
Barnyard Banter Crafts
First was the creation of a farm animal mask. On our homestead farm we have chickens, sheep, pigs and cows so I printed a mask from FunnyColoring.com for each of these animals. The kids loved to color them and we used them later to sing “Old McDonald had a Farm”.
We also made udder paintings by filling vinyl gloves with tempura paint, hanging them from a clothesline and then poking pinholes into the fingers with paint. The children then squeezed the fingers of the gloves and “milked” the paint out of the glove onto a piece of construction paper. The results were quite messy but beautiful! This craft was focused more on the process versus the product and I aim to include one of each kind into my story hours.
Barnyard Banter Outdoor Activities
Once we had completed our crafts we set out to look at the animals. We visited the chickens where I caught one of the hens and allowed the children to pet her back. We then walked over to the sheep where we talked to them and pet them through the fence. When we went over to the cows and pigs we stopped into the garden and picked a few pole beans and leaves to feed to both the cows and the pigs. While transitioning from animal to animal, we sang “Old McDonald had a Farm” and practiced our animal sounds.
Overall, this book is a great introduction to domestic animals and their interactions with wild animals as well as the sounds they make. It also gives a good introduction to repetition and prediction. Read this book with your students or children and have some farm animal fun!