At your morning circle time, show children a few pictures of cityscapes and a few pictures of country landscapes. Create a classification game by holding up a picture and having the children shout "City!" or "Country!" when you flash the picture. After the game, hold up one country landscape and one cityscape picture and ask children to note as many differences as they can. Point out the more subtle differences that the pictures may not show, such as how many people live in the city versus the country. Touch on the vocabulary words "urban" and "rural".
Provide paper, markers, crayons, colored pencils, old magazines and glue. Ask children to create either an urban or a rural picture using the materials provided. When the pictures are complete, use these later in a large group classification game such as the one you played in your first morning circle time. By repeating the activity, children will gain a deeper understanding of city versus country landscapes.
Before beginning the unit, create and cut out several different types of vegetables from construction paper that grow on top of or under the ground, such as potatoes, carrots, lettuce, corn and cabbage. Also, create and cut out several fruits that grow on trees such as apples, oranges, lemons and pears. Lastly, create a large farm landscape on a piece of butcher paper showing the outline of a tree and the outline of the ground. Allow children to work collaboratively to cover the ground part of the paper with glue and sprinkle potting soil or dirt to create a textured ground on the paper. Use tissue paper squares or torn construction paper to cover the tree in bark and leaves. Once the landscape is finished, have children place the fruit and vegetables where they belong on the farm, either in the tree, on the ground, or underground.
There are several picture books as well as non-fiction books that are appropriate for preschool country themes.
City Mouse, Country Mouse by John Wallner
- Cowboy Small by Lois Lensky
In The Country by Dawn Sirett
Mrs. Wishy-Washy's Farm by Joy Cowley
Living on Farms by Allan Fowler
On The Farm by David Elliot
Frozen Vegetables (Where Does Food Come From?) by Gretchen Mayo
Where Does Honey Come From? The Story of Honey by Rachel Scott
Jobs on a Farm by Nancy Dickmann
A Day in the Life of a Farmer by Heather Adamson
Using old magazines, have children cut out pictures of urban and rural landscapes, jobs and animals. Once you have a large collection of pictures, have the children classify them into three different categories: landscapes, jobs and animals. As a small group activity, have children classify one of the categories of pictures into two themes: urban or rural. Use a large posterboard to paste the pictures in the correct column. Use the created posters later to count and graph how many urban versus how many rural pictures children were able to find.