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This literature based unit study includes lessons and activities based on the book Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown.

Thanks to Christa Stepien for preparing this Big Red Barn Unit Study.

Big Red Barn Unit Study Lessons

Here is a sample of the lessons found in this literature based unit study:

Social Studies

Farm Animals: This story takes place on a farm. What kind of animals live on a farm? Help your student make a list. You could write the names and she could add illustrations.

Farmers: What kinds of chores does a farmer have to do? What evidence of this can you find in the pictures? (harvesting corn, mucking stalls, collecting eggs, bailing hay, milking cows etc.)

Language Arts


  • Great: meaning “big” (This is also used in Goodnight Moon.)
  • Scarecrow: describe what it is, and show your student the picture. They might be familiar with it from The Runaway Bunny.


  1. Find the butterfly on each page spread.
  2. Find the big & little things. Which is big and which is little? (horses, cows, piles of hay) Find big and little things throughout your house.
  3. Look at the sunset picture. Can your student identify the animal silhouettes? Discuss why this is more difficult without color and details. If desired, make your own silhouette. Stand against paper on the wall and use a light to shine on the person. Trace the shadow and cut out the image.


Counting: Count flowers in the field. Count the eggs. Are there ten? Count the kittens and puppies. Explore the concept of more and less in comparing kittens and puppies.


Weathervane: What is a weather vane used for?

If your student is ready, discuss the compass directions. If it is windy, go outside and see if you can figure out which way the wind is blowing.

You can make a simple weathervane, if interested.

Materials: Straw, Paperclip, Dowel, Tape, Pin, Note Card, Scissors.

  • Step 1: Straighten a paperclip. Then, make a small loop in the middle of it.
  • Step 2: Cut a vertical slit in one end of a straw. It should be 1 or 2 inches in length.
  • Step 3: Cut a small triangle out of a note card. Stick it into the slit so that it is positioned like an arrow flight. Put some tape over the connection to strengthen it.
  • Step 4: Use a pin to poke a hole through the straw somewhere near the center. Slide it onto the paperclip. It should rest on the loop in the middle of the paperclip.
  • Step 5: Tape the paperclip onto a dowel so that it is facing straight up. Push the dowel into the ground so it will stand straight up.

Reflection: Look at the reflection of the moon in the water. Does your student know what it is without you telling them? If your student is interested, explore reflections in a glass or bowl of water.

Animal Sounds and Animal Babies: Various animals live on the farm. Does your student know what sounds each of the animals make?

Notice the families on the farm (point out the mothers and babies). What different names do mothers and babies have?

When the animals are in the barn at the end of the book, which animals are nursing their babies? Which animals do not nurse their babies? You may wish to mention to your student that all mammals (can) nurse their babies.

Additional Ideas

  • Visit a farm
  • Go outside at night to look at the moon
  • Make a big red barn out of paper with doors that open. Find pictures of farm animals in a magazine and let your child cut and paste them in the barn.
  • Make a farm themed emergent reader.

You can grab a copy of the entire Big Red Barn unit study in an easy-to-print file at the end of this post.

How to Get Started with the Big Red Barn Unit Study

Follow these simple instructions to get started with the Big Red Barn literature based unit study.

  1. Buy a copy of the book, Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown, or grab one from your local library.
  2. Print the Big Red Barn unit study.
  3. Choose the lessons you want to use with your student (a highlighter works great for this).
  4. Enjoy a week of book-based learning with your student.

Download Your Free Big Red Barn Unit Study

Simply click on the image below to grab the free unit study.

Big Red Barn Unit Study

Big Red Barn Lapbook Printables

Would you like to add a set of printables to your unit study? Check out this Farm Lapbook from the Tip-Top Printables Shop.

Your preschool student will love the printables included in this lapbook.

Big and Little Sorting Pockets

Sort the animal adults and babies into the “big” and “little” pockets.

Farm Sounds Tab Book

What do the animals on the farm say? Sing the words on the pages of this book. Sing to the tune of “The Wheels on the Bus.”

The cows on the farm go moo, moo, moo,

Moo, moo, moo–moo, moo, moo.

The cows on the farm go moo, moo, moo,

In the big red barn.

Colors on the Farm Barn Book

The doors on the barn open to reveal a Colors on the Farm book. Students will learn or review these colors: orange, black, green, blue, pink, yellow, red, brown, and gray.

Counting Eggs Mini-book

Students will practice counting eggs; this book includes numbers 1-10 (just like the ten eggs in the story, Big Red Barn).

On the Farm Mini-book

Students will learn what grows on the farm with this book.

Get Your Copy of the Farm Lapbook

Grab a copy of the Farm Lapbook from the Tip-Top Printables Shop. Thanks for supporting Homeschool Share!

If your student enjoys hands-on activities, you may also want to try this Farm Create-a-Scene.