In 2019, Child’s Play Tarneit’s first excursion of the year was to visit Animal Land; a farm in Diggers Rest. We visited in early March with about 40 children in tow. It’s an excursion we enjoy doing as we really value the different learning opportunities available in conjunction with the excursion itself.

The excursion preparation began in the week’s leading up to the big day, with different forms of exploration about what the children might expect to see, hear and experience whilst at the farm. On the day itself children began with a bus trip to the farm location, many children spoke about what they might see at the farm, but also about the different places and houses they could see from the bus as they travelled from somewhere very familiar to someplace new.

Once we arrived, the children were allocated groups with specific teachers and then went off to begin exploring the farm with some help from two of the farmers themselves. Our first stop was a rise on a pony. Each child was given the opportunity to have a short ride on the pony; Sally. The children seemed to really enjoy this experience and even those who were apprehensive were invited to pat Sally.

From here we took a tractor ride exploring some of the farm in style and were then invited to feed some goats and sheep. As well as have a look at some newborn piglets- born the night before. The children really enjoyed cupping their hands full of pellets and then feeling the animals eat them right out of their hands. We then hopped back onto the tractor and did the same with some ducks. Feeding the ducks was a more exciting experience for the children, as when they were handed some food, many, many ducks approached them trying to eat from their hands. From here we went to see the chickens and also visit where they lay their eggs.

We were even invited to meet some baby animals and have them sit on our laps. We each had a turn to hold a baby rabbit, baby guinea pig and baby chicken. Most of the children were very intrigued by the different animals, and even those who were wary of them was able to pat them as someone nearby held onto them.

Our final activity was to milk a cow named Pip. During this time, we explored the different foods we could get from a cow and were then even invited to churn the milk we had collected into butter. After each child had their turn milking the cow, we then took some time to eat our lunch where we were each offered some biscuits with the butter we had created on it.

Throughout this excursion, we were presented with opportunities to explore the farm lifestyle, as well as the role different animals have on the farm and even explore where some foods come from.