Learning to Write: Labeling at the Farm #PlayfulPreschool

Welcome back to the Playful Preschool Series.  For the past few weeks we have been building off our trip to the apple farm.  First we went apple picking and created a name apple orchard to practice letter recognition in our names.  Last week, we used the apples from the farm to make apple butter and create a memory book of our experience.  This week we are building and labeling a farm to help us work on our writing skills. This week’s Playful Preschool theme is the farm!

Learning to Write: 4 Strategies to Teach Labeling  from growingbookbybook.com  #playfulpreschool #learningtowrite

Learning to Write:  Labeling

Why We Chose This Labeling Activity

A big part of preschool is learning to write letters and words.  Many preschoolers begin with scribbles and marks and then progress to making recognizable letters and words.  My son is at the scribbles and marks stage.  To help encourage writing we decided to create a playful farm mat. To get the writing piece in we labeled the parts of our farm.

Labeling is an easy low-stress activity for young writers whether they are scribblers or letter writers.

Preparing the Writing Activity

Materials needed:  shower liner curtain, a piece of large paper, permanent markers, magnetic letters, farm toys and stickers

creating a theme web map

1. Brainstorm with your child things that you would find on a farm.  Create a web on a large piece of paper to collect your ideas.  At this stage you are generating ideas.  So as not to disrupt the brainstorming flow,  the adult can do the writing.

2. Using permanent markers draw a farm scene on the shower liner.  For this activity we used a cheap $1 shower liner.  It was a bit flimsy.  I prefer a heavier one for repeated use.  If you are comfortable with your child handling permanent markers, then she can help at this stage.

3. Children can add farm sticker details or use farm toys as props to outfit the farm.

How to Label with Kids

creating a farm playmat

Beginning writers travel through different stages of learning to write.  Labeling is a perfect place for young writers to begin to leave their mark.   Some preschoolers are not yet writing recognizable letters on their own.  They make marks on the paper to convey that marks have meaning though and that is a great early step.  This is where we are in our house! You might have a preschooler who can form letters accurately.  Labeling is great for all stages of learning to write.  Here are several ways to help preschoolers with labeling.

labeling with magnetic letters

  • Using magnetic letters, have the child pick the correct letter that represents the first sound they hear in the word.  For example if the word is pond, ask the child what sound they hear at the beginning of the word pond.  The childs says /p/.  Then, ask the child to find the letter that represents that sound.  They place the letter p next to the pond and then the adult finishes writing the word.
  • Name an object.  The adult writes the word in a light colored marker and the child traces over the word in a darker color.
  • Share the marker.  Have the child write the beginning sound in the word.  The adult then fills in the trickier parts.  The child joins in on letters or sounds they feel comfortable writing.
  • Use the web that you created at the beginning of this activity for your child to reference when writing.  More confident writers will be able to find the word on the web and then copy it onto the farm mat.

farm mat playing

Now, let the farm playing begin!

We’ve teamed up with some great bloggers to share themed preschool ideas to help you with your little ones.  Each Wednesday you will find literacy, math, science, social studies, cooking, technology, music and more ideas based on a theme.

Here are more playful preschool ideas about the farm.

Plan Your Learning Week with Preschool Activities for the Farm Theme

From the ‪#‎PLAYful‬ Preschool Education Team!

Literacy, Mathematics, Science, Art, Sensory, Songs and MORE!!!!

Farm Animal Letter Sounds by Mom Inspired Life

Learning to Write: Labeling the Farm by Growing Book by Book

Make a Who Am I Farm Animal Book by The Educators’ Spin On It

Corn Life Cycle & Sequencing Cards for Preschool by The Preschool Toolbox Blog

While at the Farm:  Children’s Farm Song by Capri + 3

Farm Animal Counting and Sorting Sensory Bin by Life Over C’s

Farm Themed Count and Add Activity for Preschool by Rainy Day Mum

Corn Painting – An Art Activity for a Preschool Farm Theme by Fun-A-Day!

Preschoolers DIY Farm by Tiny Tots Adventure

Preschool Science: Duck Feather Experiment by Raising Lifelong Learners

Farm Animal Sort by Powerful Mothering

Wash the Farm: Fruits and Vegetable Sensory Play for Preschoolers by The Kennedy Adventures

Farm Activities Discovery Table from Little Bins for Little Hands

Join us next week when we explore a new theme:  Harvest

About Jodie Rodriguez

Jodie Rodriguez is a mom of two young boys and an early childhood/elementary educator with over 18 years of experience. Jodie's passion is helping parents, teachers, librarians and anyone else interested in nurturing our youngest readers.


  1. Love this – my preschooler likes anything BIG, so this would be right up his alley. We may try it with butcher paper or a large tagboard!

  2. I love the idea of using a shower curtain for the writing surface! It’s a perfect, reusable surface with plenty of space for creating! I have a shower curtain to use as a floor protector, so we’ll have to try this!

  3. I love your suggestion of using magnetic letters to have preschoolers help to label things by recognizing the beginning letter sound. What a great way to get pre-writers involved!

  4. I love the idea for the early writing to have them trace over my word. I got my preschooler to recognize words and read easy sight words so this would be a great help to getting her to write. I have a huge roll of paper that I got from our local newspaper to do this activity.

  5. I never would have thought to use a shower curtain as a writing/play surface. That is such a great idea! Now I am thinking of all the ways I could use one in the future. 🙂

  6. Awesome! My son would adore working on this together. This is a great extension to our farm theme!

  7. What a great way to encourage literacy with the Farm Theme! Love the web you created! Nice post!

  8. Brilliant – I’m adding a shower curtain to my shopping tomorrow this would be great for T who loves anything where she can crawl about on it as well.

  9. Jodie, I absolutely adore this and cannot wait to add it to my classroom!

  10. love it! I cant wait until mine is at the stage to do this

  11. This is adorable. I’ve seen the idea of putting labels on items to help kids read, but getting them involved in the labeling is so much better!

    Stopping by from the Homeschool Creations linky. 🙂

  12. This is such a fun post, but then again, I love all your posts! I LOVE the shower curtain idea! GENIUS!

  13. Seems like a really fun way for the kids to learn to write!


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