Children have always been fascinated with farms and the various animals that can be found on them, and this simple collage captures some of the magic of country life.
The activity is suitable for children of any age and can be as simple or complex as your young artist desires. As seen above, my collage has been done on a small scale, suitable for just one child, with a very basic theme – trees, barn, fence, animals and farm house. However, as no farm is exactly the same, there is also unlimited potential for variation. Perhaps your farm can be a dairy farm, a sugar plantation or even an orchard – it’s entirely up to you. On a larger scale, it’s also a great activity to work on with a group. Using a large strong piece of cardboard or thin wood as a base, educators may enjoy working on it with their class, as a collaged mural.
As with all collages, this project is basically a cut-and-paste activity – great for very young children as it helps them to develop fine motor skills. Although I’ve mentioned many materials and specific steps in the article below, this is very flexible. Just use it as a loose guide. As with all collages, children should have the freedom to work in whatever sequence they choose. Encourage them to use their imagination and see what evolves.
Time: 60 - 90 minutes
Age: Any Age
A strong piece of cardboard to use as a base - the side of an old box would be perfect, as the cardboard is thick and will easily support the various items you’ll be sticking on it.
Good quality craft glue
A small amount of hessian (less than a quarter of a metre) - if you want to use this as your farmhouse walls
Felt tipped pens in various colours
Acrylic or water paints in various colours
Old cardboard box
Clear adhesive tape
Green crepe paper
Junk mail or scrap paper
Plain paddle pop sticks
Cotton wool balls
Recycled brown paper bags
Pictures from old magazines of farmyard animals – or draw your own
Take a piece of cardboard or thick paper and place it so that it’s at a ‘landscape’ angle. If you want a larger area to work on, attach a couple of pieces of board or paper together, using masking tape.
Encourage the children to paint the bottom part of the paper green to create grass, and the top in light blue, for the sky above.
Using a pencil, draw the basic outline of the farm house on a piece of hessian or brown cardboard from an old box. For our small collage we made our cottage approximately sixteen centimetres wide by thirteen centimetres high. This can then be cut out, as well as small gaps for the door and windows.
Glue the farmhouse onto the board. However, make sure that there’s plenty of room for the roof, which will be attached later.
For the roof we used a piece of cardboard from an old box. This had a slightly corrugated appearance which reminded me a little of the corrugated iron roofs that many old Australian cottages have. Alternatively, you could use fringed strips of brown paper, which will give the roof a thatched appearance. Scrunch up the pieces of paper first, to give them a more textured appearance and then straighten them out again - cutting them into narrow strips that will fit onto the cottage’s roof. Fringe the edges of these and glue them on in layers.
The farmhouse is now almost finished. To complete it, draw the door and windows with felt-tipped pens, and if you have any pretty scrap fabric or paper, perhaps glue this on as curtains. If you like, you can add a chimney as well, either using a small piece of hessian (as was done with the cottage walls) or by drawing it on with felt-tipped pen.
Farms need plenty of trees, and creating these is the next thing we need to do. Paddle-pop sticks or small wooden spoons make great tree trunks, so stick these firmly onto your collage with craft glue.
For the trees’ foliage, cut small pieces of green paper (either craft paper or pieces from your junk mail) and glue them onto the tree. Try using different colours and shapes, as this provides a more textured appearance. If you have any, green crepe paper is especially good to use and very affordable. Crepe paper can be used in a couple of ways – either by sticking small pieces of ripped paper directly onto the tree, or by rolling the pieces into balls and sticking these on. Any leftover crepe paper can be used for grass and other bushes.
Create sheep for the farm by sticking small pieces of cotton wool under the trees, and drawing heads, tails and legs onto these with black felt-tipped pen.
Other farm animals can also be added, if you like, by using cut-outs from old gift wrap and junk mail, stickers or even by drawing your own.
Fences are important on farms, and these can be made using match-sticks (for smaller collages) or paddlepop sticks for larger murals. Alternatively, you could draw them on, as I have done.
If you like, add some extra flowers and foliage to your collage as these will make it more colourful. You can draw your own flowers, cut them out from old gift wrap, adhere flower-shaped craft jewels , or use stickers.
If you’d like your farm to have some fluffy white clouds above, these can be created by gluing on cotton wool. Your farm is now complete.