by Evelyn Birkby
Fun on the Farm
No one has yet discovered a better place to play than
a farm. For example, the hay mow in a barn has been,
for generations, a prime play area for children.
Dress up clothes out of an attic box often went up
into the hay mow with the youngsters where they outfitted
everyone into imaginative costumes .
When all the wild things that peek out around the
dark high corners were shooed away, when the blankets
were smoothed and placed facing the breeze, and when
all of the things necessary for a play house were
settled into place, the parade back to the house began.
Various-sized little children would go tramping into
the kitchen. First they needed a jar of water, filled
with ice cubes, please, it is hot on the desert. Next
it was a pillow--the ground is hard out on the prairie.
Last it was a request for peanut butter sandwiches
as a grub stake for weary prospectors.
Once their imaginative play grew tiresome, the search
for baby kittens began. Mother cats have a way of
secreting their babies away from meddling eyes, but
many childish hands searching behind the hay bales
and listening ears soon heard the tiny mewings of
the babies. These wee furry creatures, as soon as
their eyes were open and they were sturdy enough,
became like dolls to be dressed, pushed in a doll
carriage, and carefully tucked into a doll bed out
in the woodshed corner where they could be found easier
than in the barn.
The animals that live in and near the barn were favorite
companions for children as well. Gentle ponies, tiny
lambs, baby piglets and the chickens. Teaching baby
chicks to drink and eat was a favorite activity for
younger members of a farm family. And helping bottle
feed the babies that for one reason or another could
not be fed by their mothers was great fun, especially
if they were kept warm and safe behind the stove in
the kitchen for as long as special care was needed.
The only limitation to play on a farm was the limitation
to individual imaginations. Not one of these children,
now adults, will ever forget the fun they had playing
in a haymow in an old barn or with the animals that
Today with fewer farms with barns and with the changing
dynamics of childhood fewer days are spent in haymows
or with baby animals. Would that every child could
somehow experience fun on a farm.