Hatching Chicks

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As you may know from following us on Instagram or Facebook, we had the incredibly fun and educational experience of hatching chicks in our home. We used the lovely program from Chirpee Chicks and highly recommend them! They provide chicken and duckling egg hatching for educational and promotional purposes in Brisbane, Logan and Ipswich, Queensland.

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Our program included 10 fertilized eggs in an incubator and two baby chicks in a brooder box. Much of the work was done for us so we could just enjoy the final days before hatching and observe as the magic unfolded.

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Cameron loved spraying the eggs and incubator with water a few times a day to increase the humidity and fed the chicks.

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We had many opportunities to practice being gentle and observe the chicks up close. In the short time we had them we were able to watch their wings begin to develop and grow feathers and see them increase so much in size compared to the newest hatchlings!

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Cam and Lucy found every element of caring for the chicks fascinating. From watching them keep warm under the heating bulb and watching them poop. We talked about how they usually would have a mother hen on them keeping them warm and about their natural diet and how amazing it is that they begin to eat only a day or two after hatching from their egg!

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We tried our luck at egg candling after some Youtube research. We used a smartphone torch and were amazed to see the air sac and we were able to see a couple of the chicks moving inside their eggs!

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The first egg pipped was an amazing experience as we were so excited and in awe as we heard the tiny chick chirping from inside the egg! This was a phenomenon that I was unaware of and the kids reactions were priceless.

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It took hours before any other action took place and it was a real lesson in patience for all of us! Here Cameron was holding the egg and could see the chicks beak and egg tooth.

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I printed out these free chick nomenclature cards when Cam was asking more about the egg tooth and where their ears are.

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As the new chick emerged, it seemed as though it triggered a reaction as many of the other eggs started pipping and chirping more.

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We left the hatchlings to do their thing in the warm humid environment of the incubator. I had to snap a pic or two of the incredible hatching process. We watched through the incubators clear sides as the chicks slowly pecked their way around and ‘unzipped’ the egg. Cameron said it looked like a whole lot of work!

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The membranous eggy aftermath was pretty amazing too. You could see the veins and some tiny remnants of yolk that sustained the chick. Cameron really wanted to understand how the chick could live without breathing and it created many in depth discussions!

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7 out of 10 eggs eventually hatched. Unfortunately the final chick to hatch had issues and died the day after hatching. It was so cute to watch the chicks dry out and fluff up before transferring them to the box. They sleep a lot in the first day (understandably!) and the kids were surprisingly understanding of letting them rest after having watched how hard it was for them to hatch and seeing how tired and tiny they were!

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Before we knew it we had 6 new hatchlings all fluffy and eating only a day later! They sure peck away and make lots of mess. We loved the noise and all the discussions and learning that the experience brought!

Our favourite book to read through on the topic of chicken hatching (and other life cycles) was on display in Jess’ recent weekly excerpt:

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My Little Book of Life Cycles in the background there!

Story Box Library

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Today I wanted to introduce you to a lovely program – Story Box Library! Story Box Library features fun online Australian stories read by some of Australia’s finest storytellers.

What I love about Story Box Library is that it so thoroughly and beautifully nourishes the art and magic of storytelling. From the moment we opened up our first video, I knew we had found an absolute treasure and have been recommending them to friends ever since. The quality stories and voices provide a meaningful resource for families and homeschoolers alike. I love that my kids adore the experience and that it allows them to extend story telling beyond the page.

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Story Box Library would like you to think of their program as an online ‘reading room’. A place where the wonderful world of Australian children’s literature is on permanent exhibit to engage and delight. Story Box Library is committed to supporting and encouraging the ageless practice of storytelling – inspiring young imaginations to flourish!

The best part is that Story Box Library is so affordable. The familstory-box-logoy memberships are only $19.95 for a 12-month subscription!

This is so very worthwhile and would be a unique and meaningful Christmas gift idea that will continue to entertain and inspire all year round.

Life Without School | Weekly Recap

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This week has been very productive. We have still had Mike home which has been lovely. The Christmas train has had a work out!

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We visited Jess which was tons of fun with books and dress ups, creativity and imaginary worlds!

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Cam and I made a crown out of sandpaper because he wanted to be a King to protect the princesses (Jess’ youngest and Lucy)

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Lucy is BIG on accessories lol

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I love the little worlds Lucy creates with doll houses. I always forget to snap a pic at home.

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Lucy loved the playdough tools and cutters.

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This is Cam’s imagining of the dragon that Jess’ eldest and him were fighting against.

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We had TONS of fun with their marble run! This is on our wishlist now!

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Lucy has been collecting items of the same colour and drawing/’writing’ about it. I love seeing this because unlike with Cam, we’ve taken the natural learning route with Lucy from the beginning and she’s still learning all the same things without intervention.

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The chicks still featured a lot through our week until they went home to the farm on Friday. One of the chicks had troubles and died which lead to lots of discussion. I printed out these free chick nomenclature cards when Cam was asking more about the egg tooth and where their ears are.

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Lots more discussions and cuddles before goodbyes.

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Cam saw someone in a Facebook group that I was browsing doing a similar activity to above so asked if we could. We traced around their bodies with crayon and the kids added features (Cam added some organs before colouring in clothing) and had a blast discussing their work.

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Cam has been doing more dentist and doctor role play and added an old keyboard into the mix for pretend computer work. It’s so fun hearing his imagination through his dialogue.

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Jess visited to say goodbye to the chicks and the kids had a big play including creating a little Duplo world above and expelling lots of energy running around on the verandah while it rained and stormed around us.

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They all did some stamping and drawing too which had Cam drawing a shark and dugong.

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Finally, stay tuned for more info but we have been loving some magical stories and fun with Story Box Library.

I hope your week was as lovely as ours!

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Remember to check out what Andrea from HippyHappyMama, Jess from Memoirs of a Childhood, Sara from Happiness is here and Kate from An Everyday Story have been up to too!

I still have lots planned to share! Remember to follow us on Facebook for the latest!

Dinosaur Activities

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My son loves dinosaurs. This has been an epic long interest of his and I wanted to share some of the fun ways we have learned and played with dinosaurs.

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With my home education group, we had a relaxed dinosaur exploration day where I created clay fossils with toy dinosaurs. Schleich dinosaur figures are awesome for their detail with proper foot prints and detailed skin which make them perfect for dough or clay imprints!

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Cam and I froze some discount mini toy dinosaur toys inside balloons for fun excavation with our friends. We talked about how some prehistoric animals have been preserved in ice because of the ice age and had fun melting and smashing them apart.

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I also tried making ‘dinosaur eggs’ with a simple salt dough recipe and cheap mini dinosaur toys baked in the oven. These were messy and crumbly to break apart!

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Cam and Lucy stomped around with their dinosaur stilts and we talked about footprints.

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I find it fascinating to see what Cameron focuses on in his interests. With regards to dinosaurs, he really loves finding out how they defend themselves and the fact that they went extinct. He shared some of his learning at our recent Show & Tell alongside his favourite Schleich dinosaur figures and a drawing of an asteroid impact. We love the Dinosaur Encyclopedia in this photo too – it’s brilliant!

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On our recent Sydney holiday we went to the Australian Museum and Cameron got to touch a real 75 million year old dinosaur specimen. He loves museums for their dinosaur skeletons and documentaries. Speaking of documentaries, we ADORE the BBC series Walking With Dinosaurs.

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As I said recently, Cameron got a Wooden Stegosaurus Kit which he made up. He decided with his Dad that it was best to glue it together after constructing it and waited a day for it to dry. He was so excited to paint it and I thought he’d paint the whole thing.

He carefully prepared his paints and started painting the plates. Then after painting each one he put it up to dry. He told me that he painted the plates because Stegosaurus’ used their plates to warn predators and rushed blood to the plates to flash colour and scare other dinosaurs. After asking him more about it I found out this was something he had learned from the Walking With Dinosaurs documentary and I was amazed to see him putting together this knowledge and his memory and interest!
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Cameron also has and loves the Melissa and Doug dinosaur stamp set.

Finally, his latest project was a volcano model. This was so fun to watch unfold!

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Cam is always playing with his Schleich dinosaur figurines and wanted to make a big volcano for them. He painted it and put a lot of effort into it. I suggested a basic baking soda and vinegar reaction and he loved the effect.

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The best part was using it over and over and we have started to read our volcano book and I have printed some Montessori volcano nomenclature cards to extend his interest.

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For more dinosaur related activities I’d recommend Deb’s dinosaur unit Pinterest board!

I hope you enjoyed seeing some of the ways we have explored dinosaurs aside from the usual play! Be sure to check out the latest on Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram !

Life Learning | Weekly Recap

This week we have had my husband home most of the time and it’s been awesome to spend time as a family.

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My hubby is making a mud kitchen for the kids and they have been helping him prepare things and measure out lengths of timber.

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After Cam’s volcano model dried, he was so keen to paint it. He chose some bright colours and was carefully applying them at first…

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But as he mixed and realised they made a brilliant muddy brown (perfect for a volcano!) things took a sensory-related turn with help from Lucy!

Tuesday morning took an exciting turn after an impromptu house (rental) inspection when Chirpee Chicks arrived with our hatching program! 2 chicks and 10 fertile eggs meant for much exploration and fun and learning which I’ll talk about in a separate post!

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We then went to We Live. We Learn.‘s home for a play day. They are currently fostering a couple of pregnant guinea pigs and one of them gave birth that morning. There was lots of gentle hands and awe as we got to see the littlest one’s as well as play with her other guinea pigs. Herbs were picked for guinea pig treats too. Lucy has now asked for guinea pigs and want to know everything about them.

I loved watching my two swim in the pool with their family and the interactions between the ages. It’s always inspiring to spend time with other unschoolers, but I especially love interacting with and observing older children and my kids.

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Once the volcano models paint dried, it was time for some good old fashioned coloured baking soda and vinegar reactions! Cam did this all independently with observation. He tried a funnel at first but found it was more efficient without.

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The chicks and eggs truly took over our week aside from working around the home and my husband continuing to do yard work with the kids and make the mud kitchen.

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This is Cam’s representation of a chicken, eggs and a little chick to the left.

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We tried some egg candling and observed the air sac and could see some chicks moving! Cam was amazed.

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Cameron’s Aunty got him a wooden Stegosaurus skeleton puzzle kit which he made up. He decided with his Dad that it was best to glue it together after constructing it and waited a day for it to dry. He was so excited to paint it and I thought he’d paint the whole thing.

He carefully prepared his paints and started painting the plates. Then after painting each one he put it up to dry. He told me that he painted the plates because Stegosaurus’ used their plates to warn predators and rushed blood to the plates to flash colour and scare other dinosaurs. After asking him more about it I found out this was something he had learned from the Walking With Dinosaurs documentary and I was amazed to see him putting together this knowledge and his memory and interest!

The next day our car broke down and made for an interesting couple of hours including the kids being thrilled to watch a tow truck up close and a long taxi ride home!

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We came home to see one of our eggs was pipping and we could hear the chick chirping inside! This was something I didn’t know happened – fascinating! Cameron was amazed and thought it was so cute to hear the chirping. Lucy’s little shocked face was priceless and she said “baby! inside!”

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Cameron has been writing a lot more lately as well as drawing all manner of animals and characters (lots of pirates were about the other day!) I adore instances like above where his writing is becoming legible.

The rest of the week passed with a home haircut for Cam, cleaning and some documentary watching as well as lots of lots of chick-related goodness I’ll get into next week.

I hope your week was lovely!

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Remember to check out what Andrea from HippyHappyMama, Jess from Memoirs of a Childhood, Sara from Happiness is here and Kate from An Everyday Story have been up to too!

I hope you had a brilliant week! I have lots planned and to catch up on! Remember to follow us on Facebook for the latest!