EY Info
TNL Jobs
Content FilterS
Reset Filters
The latest and best ideas in early years
Early Years Info
All about the sector, from A - Z
Tools, plans and resources to use everyday
Activity Plans
Filter by EYFS area & children's ages
Hear from interesting sector colleagues
Up-skill, gain knowledge and develop
New Year
New Year's Content
Policy Packs
Section for downloadable and updating TNL policies
The 12 Activities of Christmas 8: Eight Maids A-Milking
8 Maids a-Milking Activity Plan

Let’s take a trip to the farm (while still in the comfort of your setting) and learn where milk comes from! This activity teaches children about the origin of one of our most familiar food substances. It is best suited for older children in any size of group.

Follow our simple step-by-step guide to have a go at this activity today!

What you will need:

  • Rubber gloves – enough for one per child
  • Pin
  • Buckets/large bowls – enough for one per child
  • Water
  • Milk
  • Cups
  • Cow toy or figurine with obvious udders (you can find a good option here)
Photo from Pexels

Preparing the activity:

  1. Fill the rubber gloves with water and tie the wrists so they’re watertight.
  2. Prepare some cups of milk for drinking after the activity (if appropriate for your group)

Doing the activity:

Start by handing round the cow toy for the children to inspect. Do they know which parts are which? Point out the parts, e.g. legs, hooves, nose. Can any of the children find the udders?

Ask the children if they know where milk comes from. If so, encourage them to discuss it and correct any flaws there may be in their knowledge. If not, explain that cows produce milk in their udders and farmers milk the cows by squeezing the udders to squirt the milk into a bucket.

Give each child a glove filled with water, as well as a bucket. Prick the ends of a few of the glove’s fingers with the pin so that the children can play at squeezing the glove’s fingers and squirting the water into the bucket.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Ensure the children understand what they’re doing; do they know what the glove is meant to be? Why is there a bucket? What would happen to the ‘milk’ (water) if there was no bucket?

Encourage the children to discuss if the work is fun or tedious, easy or difficult. Would they like to be a farmer? Do they think they could milk cows all day?

This activity could lead on to other lessons about farm animals, or even a trip to a farm in warmer weather!

At the end of the activity, if appropriate, reward everyone with a nice glass of milk or water!

Adapting the Activity:

As this plan doesn’t exclusively focus on Christmas, there will be no problem using it as a non-Christmas activity.

Tracking the activity:

30-50 months

Communication and Language: Understanding; “Understands use of objects (e.g. “What do we use to cut things?’); Responds to simple instructions, e.g. to get or put away an object.; Beginning to understand ‘why’ and ‘how’ questions.”

Understanding the world: The world; “Can talk about some of the things they have observed such as plants, animals, natural and found objects.; Talks about why things happen and how things work.”

­­­­­­40-60+ months

Communication and Language: Understanding; “Listens and responds to ideas expressed by others in conversation or discussion.”