Farmyard Friends
Years 2 - 10

Have fun on the floor with the whole family.


  • Print these Animals and cut out as many sets as you need.
    You can have a set each, or you might work in pairs, or you might have just one set for the whole family.
  • Collect enough pieces of paper, or paper plates or... so you have one pen for each animal.
  • Write the title of this challenge and today's date on a fresh page in your maths journal.
You might want to connect your computer to the TV so everyone can see the Farmyard Friends information on this page.

Farmyard Friends Puzzle

  • You have to put the animals in their pens so that the clues are true.
  • Here are the Farmyard Friends Clues. You don't have to print them. Just read them on the screen and go for it.
  • When someone finds a solution, everyone stops to check it.
  • Record the solution in your journal. Perhaps you would like to photograph it.
  • You could use your social media to show what the family is doing together.
Have fun exploring Farmyard Friends.

Guess What

Well done finding a solution, but guess what...
  • ... there are more solutions.
  • Who will find the next one?

Family Challenge

  • How may solutions are there?
  • How do you know when you have found them all?
Hint: Think about the language in the clues. Is there room for interpretation?
Remember to keep a record of your work.
Time to take a break.
There's lots more that can be asked about this problem, but you don't have to do it all in one day.
A mathematician is never finished with a problem.
They are only finished until someone asks the next question.

Just Before You Finish

Open this Working Like A Mathematician page and read through it together. Look for ways you worked like a mathematician.
  • Everybody get an A4 piece of paper.
  • Your face on it so it shows how you feel about doing Farmyard Friends together.
  • Add a speech bubble to say what you want about learning from Farmyard Friends.
  • Make a 'graffiti wall on your fridge, or a door or ... with your pictures and any photos you took.
We would be happy if you sent some photos for our Farmyard Friends gallery too.


More Farmyard Friends Questions

Come back to these questions any time and see where they lead you.
  • Can you change the clues so that there is only one solution?
  • Put the animals in the pens your own way. Now make up a set of clues and try them out on another group.
    Perhaps you can challenge other families through your social media networks.
  • If there were no clues at all, how many ways could the animals be arranged in the pens?
  • What happens if there is only one clue, eg: The cow is in the pen at the end.?
  • What happens if the only clue is a negative, eg: The horse is not next to the pig.?
  • What happens if there are only two clues, eg: The cow is in the pen at the end. and The goat is not next to the cow.?
  • Can you write a set of clues so the puzzle has exactly 4 solutions ...10 solutions ...29 solutions ...any number of solutions up to 120?
  • How do you interpret the problem if the pens are in a circle?

Children's Reports

The first two reports are from Ashburton Primary School.
The third is from Holy Rosary School, Derby.
Click an image to see a high resolution version.


Answers & Discussion

These notes were originally written for teachers. We have included them to support parents to help their child learn from Farmyard Friends.

Send any comments or photos about this activity and we can start a gallery here.


Maths At Home is a division of Mathematics Centre