In a day and age when many of us are far removed from the farm, teaching kids about agriculture is more important than ever. Luckily, there are tons of great resources out there to help teach kids where their food comes from and spark their curiosity about all aspects of farming. From engaging lesson plans to computer games, gardening activities and virtual farm tours, these free online resources are perfect for agricultural education both in the classroom and at home.
Food Farm 360
Take a 360-degree virtual reality tour of a Canadian farm at Food Farm 360. In each educational video, you can swipe left and right on mobile devices or click and drag on desktop computers to explore the farm around you. Visit a free-range organic egg operation, learn about apple production at a Canadian orchard or watch the sheep graze on a family-owned sheep farm. The unique and immersive experience will make kids feel like they’re really on the farm with up-close shots of the animals and a 360-degree view of everything happening around them. The videos also teach kids what life on the farm is like from day to day, as well as several fun facts about animals and crops.
My American Farm
Encourage your kids to have some fun while learning with educational computer games from My American Farm. The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture started the project with the goal of spreading agricultural awareness through interactive games. All the games on the website are geared toward pre-K through fifth-grade students and cover a wide range of subjects, each teaching where our food comes from and how it gets to our plates. Kids can practice math with the “Farmers Market Challenge,” learn geography with “Ag Across America,” learn about science in “That’s Life” and much more. The website even features a printable “Passport to Sustainability,” where kids can collect stamps as they finish each game. For mobile devices and tablets, you can also download the My American Farm App to play wherever you go.
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National Agriculture in the Classroom
National Agriculture in the Classroom is an excellent online resource for ag education. The program’s mission is to increase agricultural literacy for K-12 students through authentic, agricultural-based content. On their website, you’ll find e-learning resources organized by grade level, agriculture quizzes and worksheets, project ideas, and more. Parents and teachers can also do a quick search on their Curriculum Matrix for lesson plans by subject. You can even create a personalized binder to store your favorite lesson plans and resources for later.
The website also has a Student Center section featuring games, state ag facts, quizzes, virtual farm tours, and Ag Today digital magazines. Kids will especially enjoy taking care of their own virtual farm in “Nutrients for Life” or trying their hand at farming sustainably to feed 9 billion people by the year 2050 in “Journey 2050.”
Virtual Farm Trips
A field trip is one of the best tools for agricultural education out there. But when you can’t make it out to a farm, Virtual Farm Trips is the next best thing. This website offers a collection of video field trips to dairy farms, soybean farms, pig farms and more. Through engaging, live videos, kids will learn about life on the farm and how farmers produce a range of commodities. You can view the upcoming live trips from the homepage of the website and mark your calendar to tune in.
National FFA and Discovery Education joined forces to create AgExplorer, a resource that helps students explore all the different careers that agriculture can offer. Teachers will find a wealth of resources for the classroom as well, including lesson plans, classroom activities and virtual field trips for sixth- through 10th-grade students. Students can also launch the AgExplorer Career Finder to take a quiz that will help to determine their ideal ag career based on their interests and strengths.
American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture
The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture is dedicated to helping learners of all ages understand the importance of agriculture in our everyday lives. Their website is full of excellent resources that teachers and parents can use to teach kids about farming and food production. In the Ag Lit Catalog, you can search for educational resources filtered by topic, grade level, lesson length, learning scenario, resource type and cost. (Many of their resources are free.)
See more: Teaching Kids About Ohio’s Pork Farms
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Help kids learn how to grow their own food with the resources from KidsGardening.org. The website offers tons of fun garden-based activities, lesson plans and growing ideas. In the Gardening Toolbox, kids can browse information on gardening basics and growing guides for all types of fruits and vegetables. Parents and teachers can also print lesson plans on everything from edible landscaping to food preservation, pollinators and garden ecosystems. And the website’s kid-friendly gardening activities include garden scavenger hunts, kitchen-scrap gardening projects, garden art activities and much more. Your kids might even enjoy eating their vegetables when they’ve been involved in the growing process themselves!