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Story Time: Big Red Barn


Story Time: Big Red Barn - Crafts, printables, and activities for the pictue book

This is the time of year when things really get hopping on a farm.  The garden and fields are being prepared for planting, baby animals are being born, and there is a general air of activity every day from dawn until dusk.  It’s one of my favorite times on the farm, because everything seems new and full of promise.

Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown encapsulates that feeling.  I love the way the story starts with the bright day and all the activity and ends with moon riding high over the sleeping animals in the barn.  Of course, I can tell you from experience, geese are never quiet all night.  But that’s okay.  They make a lovely sound.

I’m a bigger fan of the original, soft, pen-and-ink illustrations of Roselia Hartman than the new board book versions (which are more cartoon-ish) but it says something that this book has remained popular for over 60 years regardless of who does the illustrations.

Big Red Barn Activities

Story Time: Big Red Barn - Crafts, printables, and activities for the pictue book


There are a couple of things you can do with this book to promote some language practice.  Doing a KWL chart to lead into science will help your littles do a bit of critical thinking.  With that in mind, here’s a free KWL download.

big red barn kwl chart


It will also be fun for your littles to pick an animal from those who play around and in the big red barn and imagine a day in the life.  Here’s a free download that gives them space to both write and illustrate a story.

a day on the farm



Make a weather vane like the one in the story.


What you need:

  • a piece of clay
  • square piece of cardboard – maybe 3″x3″
  • pencil with a fresh eraser
  • a sewing pin
  • straw
  • scissors
  • construction paper (color of your choice)
  • tape
  • Lit Mama’s Weathervane Template
  • markers
  • compass

What you do:


  • Cut a notch in each end of the straw
  • Use the template to cut out the arrow and tail of the weather vane and insert them into the notches.




  • Cut the horse from your template and tape it to the arrow piece



  • Use the pin to affix the straw to the pencil eraser.  We used a ruler to find the center of the straw.  You might want to work the pin around a bit to make it spin easily.



  • Use your compass to find North
  • With the markers, right the directions on your cardboard: N, S, W, E
  • If you don’t have a windy day to observe your weather vane, break out the hair dryer.    This is a simple and cool science experiment you can add to your spring weather station or observe by itself.


Big Red Barn Craft Stick Craft for Story Time: Big Red Barn - Crafts, printables, and activities for the pictue book

Big Red Barn Refrigerator Magnet


What you need:

  • About 16 craft sticks (2 cut in half)
  • Red and white craft paint
  • Glue (I found that tacky glue worked better than school glue)
  • 1 magnet
  • paintbrushes
  • scissors

What you do:

IMG_20160328_105141930Line up 9 craft sticks side by side

Use a 10th stick to glue across the back of them, holding them together.  This is your basic building.

IMG_20160328_110133766Turn your building over.  Paint the front red

Paint the four pieces you cut in half white

IMG_20160328_105643978Turn the white pieces over and arrange them into a barn roof shape.  Glue into place.

IMG_20160328_110705760Glue the barn roof onto the building

IMG_20160328_110754389Turn the barn over

Use 3-4 craft sticks to run vertically across back of the roof, creating the barn loft.


Trim the excess from the horizontal sticks

Glue magnet to back of horizontal sticks

Turn over and paint your loft red


As you can see, we had a warped stick on the right side that Would Not behave.  That’s okay, we still hung it on the fridge. Also, the supervisor cat wouldn’t get out of the pic.  Also okay, he hasn’t been in one for quite a while.


Farm talk requires farm food, but this tastes a lot like pizza and is healthy, so I think your littles will love it. Also, easy peasy.

Mozarella Tomatos Recipe for Story Time: Big Red Barn - Crafts, printables, and activities for the pictue book

Mozzarella Tomatoes

This is so simple.

What you need:

  • Medium tomato
  • 1 cup mozarella cheese
  • About 1 tbsp olive oil
  • About 1 tsp oregano

What you do:

  • Preheat broiler to low
  • Slice a tomato into medium slices
  • Sprinkle some mozzarella onto each slice
  • Drizzle with olive oil
  • Sprinkle with a small pinch of oregano
  • Broil on low for about 2 minutes
  • Eat that delicious stuff!

Remind your littles that fresh food is one of the benefits of living on a farm, tell them all these ingredients are in pizza, and watch them dig in.

Here’s to a much better week than last week.

Love wins,


Want even more spring book fun?  Check out:

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KT Brison

KT Brison is a former children’s librarian and educator who gave all that up for the most important job in her life—homeschooling her boys.Though she loves the outdoors and rambling around her farm, she can usually be found with her nose in a book. Any book. As long as it has words.
KT Brison
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About KT Brison

KT Brison is a former children’s librarian and educator who gave all that up for the most important job in her life—homeschooling her boys. Though she loves the outdoors and rambling around her farm, she can usually be found with her nose in a book. Any book. As long as it has words.
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  1. I love Margaret Wise Brown! Thanks for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday on Mommynificent.com this week!

  2. I love the barn idea and the weather vane craft. Books about farms are always fun books to share with my grands. Thanks for sharing on the #LMMLinkup this week.
    Mary recently posted…#LMMLinkup: Pushing ForwardMy Profile

  3. Thank you so much for linking at #overthemoon! I look forward to seeing what you share every week. Please come back for #WonderfulWednesday or #ThursdayFavoriteThings. Don’t forget to comment your link #’s so I can be sure to visit and you get a chance to be featured! Pinned and shared.

  4. I thought I’d read all of Margaret Wise Brown’s books, but I somehow missed this one! Thanks for bringing it to my attention with this absolutely fabulous post! Thanks so much for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday last week. I’m sorry I’m late getting around!
    Tina at Mommynificent recently posted…Booknificent Thursday Link Up Party #142My Profile

  5. Looks like a fun project my youngest child would like. Thanks for sharing at Mom to Mom Mondays.

  6. I haven’t seen this book but we have plenty of farm books since my husband and I both have farming relatives. I love the weather vain science activity.
    Karen recently posted…Yummy Crusty Roast Potato RecipeMy Profile

  7. What an excellent and fun unit study! I’m excited to go check out this book at the library for my sons. Thanks for sharing with #SocialButterflySunday! Hope to see you link up again this week 🙂

  8. Great activity ideas to go with the book. I love the weather vain.
    Thanks for sharing with #LetKidsBeKids

  9. I’d never heard of Big Red Barn – it looks like we’ve been missing out. I really love the play windvane craft you made, and the barn looks like a lot of fun too. Thanks for linking up this week on Everything Kids. I hope we see you back soon!

    • ktbrison@gmail.com

      It was very popular when I was a librarian, which wasn’t too awfully long ago… I’m so glad you like the crafts and hope you have fun with them. Thanks, Heather!

  10. What a fab craft. Thanks for linking up to #brilliantblogposts

  11. Thank you for linking up at Family Joy Blog Link Up party. I hope you join us often.

  12. What fun crafts to go along with the story time. I think my daughter would enjoy making a weather vane.

  13. My 4 yo loves Big Red Barn, but we’ve got the new board book, and I’ve never seen the original. I’ll be looking for it now. Fun ideas to go with the book. Visiting form LMM. 🙂

    • ktbrison@gmail.com

      Is it terrible that I still have so many books from my own childhood? 🙂 The original is quite beautiful; I hope you’re able to find it.

  14. What great ideas to go along with the book! Thank you.
    Mother of 3 recently posted…10 Flash Card Games & ActivitiesMy Profile

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