Since we brought home 6 little chickens at the end of April, we have been doing a summer chicken study. They are wonderful pets with the added bonus of not buying eggs. This month I took some time to do some preschool chicken activities with the kids to help us all learn a little more about the fun creatures roaming our yard!
Backyard Chicken Study
Backyard chickens are so much fun! Since we have them living with us now, I thought we would put together a chicken study for our children to learn a little more about them. Hands on, child led learning from my observations is one of the best ways our kids learn. I hope you will enjoy the process of learning with your child too.
We bought chickens to supplement our at home egg use. My husband has eggs every morning with breakfast and our children love eggs in a variety of recipes, but for sure in homemade chocolate chip cookies! When we bought our chickens they were 4 weeks old. It has been so much fun to watch them grow and use them as our own personal chicken study. The kids have learned a lot over the last couple months, but we took our learning to a little more focus as I guided our time and conversation to encompass the fun personalities in our yard.
Much of our learning comes from observation. The children will be interested in something they see and we stop to take a look, much like our mushroom lesson. This beginning observation is what makes children so wonderful. They are always interested in the world around them and, I feel, it is our job as parents to help foster that curiosity. Once we had our backyard chickens in our yard, there was a lot of observation going on.
Samuel was introduced to chicken care and love years ago with my mother. I couldn’t pass up sharing this sweet picture of him collection eggs at my mother’s coop when he was about 2.5 years old.
Now, in our daily life, I let the children observe and talk with the chickens for as long as they like. This really seems to foster a love for animals for them and they exjoy this relationship a good bit.
We like to pick up our Americana/ Easter Egger. I named her Molly and she has such an amazing temperament. I have been working with her to come when she is called, but we still have some work to do. The kids love to pet our chickens! We do make sure we wash our hands really well when we are done working with the chickens like you would at any petting zoo. (Did I just call my backyard a zoo?!?)
Read About Chickens
Usually, after a little observation our kids are ready to take their interest to the next research level. My children love reading book, so that type of research is always on our list. When we went to the library I talked with the kids about searching for chicken books on the computer so we could go right to the type of books we were looking for without wandering aimlessly throughout the library. This trip became it’s own type of lesson on library navigation and computer databases. I love how life presents all types of wonderful opportunities for us to teach our children!
Here are a couple great books we found as wonderful resources (aff):
We have been picking up stories on CD at our local library too and listened to the Canterury Tales story of Chanticleer. Samuel is a real story teller and he LOVES retelling this story. We expanded a bit on the Chanticleer story to add to our preschool chicken activities.
If you are interested in the story, you may want to look at your local library or they have it on Amazon.
Layers of Leaning has a great free printable to help recreate the story of Chanticleer. We have made props like this before and the kids had a blast. Glad to have another hands on craft to add to this preschool chicken activities post!
The Hard Lessons of Life
When we brought home our 6 chickens, we didn’t expect all of them to live. They were 4 weeks old and our children are young. We assumed something would happen to one if not more of the chickens as they grew up and as the children explored them, sometimes a little to rough. But our chickens are troopers and we had all 6 live through to 6 months old.
As they grew we found we ended up pick 3 roosters or cockerels and 3 hens or pullets. We DID NOT want one rooster let alone 3! So what to do with the roosters? We chose to process them and keep the meat as organic, free range chickens. This was a hard decision, but a lesson in life for our children. The kids were not around for the processing part, but we did talk with them about where our roosters went in a gentle and compassionate way. We thanked God for the wonderful birds that gave their life for us to eat. Lessons like this are hard, but are children are compassionate and understanding.
Montessori Chicken Work
Trillium Montessori has a great FREE package of 3 part cards that includes a wonderful set of Common Birds. They are a perfect collection to our nomenclature cards.
Natural Beach Living has a wonderful post on Life Cycle of a Chicken plus Egg Science post.
His Mercy is New has a fun post on Learning All About Chickens with the Kids!
I Heart Crafty Things has a super cute post on the Life Cycle of a Chicken
There’s a fun flannel board work on Ten Fluffy Chickens rhyme by Storytime Katie.
I have a Pinterest board with all chicken crafts, life cycle works, science experiment, and unit study ideas for preschools. I’ll be continually adding to this board so be sure to follow!