Word Recognition- Muffin Tray with Farm Animal Figurines

Farm animals is probably one of the first few themes that your child learns about. For introduction, you can read to your child picture books or interactive books on farm animals. Check out our list of English and Chinese books on farm animals.


For this post, I am using the example of Chinese characters. To prepare the learning tray, I stuck the word cards in each compartment of the muffin tray. Three to six new words is about the right number to introduce to your child if she is fairly new to them.


How to use the learning tray:

1. Point to each new word in the muffin tray and read out the words to your child.

2. Show each farm animal to your child and name the animal.

3. Then place the animal in the right compartment to match the word.

4. Repeat the same process until your child can name and match some animals.

5. Once your child is confident, let your child use the learning tray independently.

You can introduce other new words and animal figurines once they master the word recognition. This play-based approach can be applied to new English words.

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Dramatic Play

In the process of using the muffin tray, my girl like any other child, likes to do imaginative play with the farm animals. She started narrating a story about the farmer getting the farm animals to line up and used the animal figurines to dramatise it. She lined the animals up on the side of the tray, according to the sequence of animals in her story. When you see your child having a play episode, seize the moment to allow your child learn through play! Make animal sounds and ask your child to guess the animal. Use descriptive words to describe the farm animals. It is through these playful moments that your child gets to pick up new vocabulary from you! 🙂


Where to get the animal figurines:

I bought these from a party and toy supplies shop, which can be found in heartland neighbourhoods. The more expensive ones can be found in Mothercare or Motherworks.

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