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If You Give a Child an Animal and a Camera They Will Document Many Things

What do you think a child learns from having animals involved in family life? I wrote an article for D&B Supply about expected and unexpected lessons that animals can teach children a few days ago. I recalled many things beyond the most thought of “lessons in responsibility.” Then, I got to thinking of all the photos and videos my children took of animals. The age of the digital camera makes photography much more available to children. It can be a great tool for encouraging them to observe, document, then evaluate what they were seeing compared to the rest of the scene. It also allows them to capture animal behavior, then watch it more than once to help notice things they missed the first time around, thus getting a more complete idea of what was going on.

My children were using cameras extensively long before I felt I could justify spending time doing it. I still associated photography with painstaking set-up and huge developing costs. They didn’t have these mental blocks. Besides, I was chasing seven little people around the acre 24/7. They were chasing animals, who were in essence, their own children.

When I was just learning how to edit video on iMovie, the most footage I had available was video the children had shot of animals. Up until then, I wasn’t quite aware of just how much fun they had captured “on film.” They had everything from the birth of a goat to my dog singing opera. Still, it was my first editing job and therefore not as clean as I might make now. It is just over 15 minutes long, possibly a bit on the slow side for adults, but I predict other children will enjoy it. Don’t they make whole TV shows out of animal antics for children to watch?

To help, I have listed below some highlights and the number count on the video that they occur at. Remember, you can access the video on a device, such as a Roku, that has a vimeo channel. This will let you watch it on a larger screen, depending on the size of your TV, of course. You can also click on the outward arrows near the bottom right of the video screen to enlarge it on the computer screen.

First, the video:

00:00 Goat kid was born a few minutes ago, is dry and up and about already, but the afterbirth is still hanging out of the mama.

00:30 Goat kid is trying to nurse.

00:53 Tiny kittens are playing in the box where they lived until they were a couple weeks old.

01:00 The mama cat taking a break and playing with the net on the soccer goal.

01:32 One year old hens that are very friendly because they had lots of contact with people from the time they were little, but not doing much right at the moment.

01:36 Reinforcing the training of our then young dog. Find another article about my dog training experience here.

01:52 Giving kittens some fresh air and exercise.

02:44 Now the white hens show a little more personality.

03:27 Bottle feeding goat kids so that the mama can be milked and we will get some of it, too. Don’t worry, there was enough milk for the kids.

03:53 Cleaning the old bathtub that served as the goat water trough. Also, digging a trench so it can be drained out of the bottom when needed. One goat can be seen nibbling on the clothing of the daughter with the shovel.

04:28 More very young, barely coordinated, cute kittens.

04:49 Mama cat cleaning and playing with one of the kittens. Then, general nursing time.

05:33 Taking little goats out on the lawn for bottle feeding and bonding time. Every time the goat kids are taken out of the pen adjacent to the mama’s, you can hear her calling them.

06:21 Kissing baby goats.

06:34 Kittens being introduced to tuna water.

06:40 Here the live goat birth is documented. Betharoni, goat owner, stays just close enough to make sure the mama goat will take care of the baby.

07:29 The mama cat visits the goat pen.

07:34 Evaluating the new baby goats.

08:00 Newest goat kids trying to nurse. Again, the after birth still hasn’t disconnected from the mama and is hanging out the birth canal.

08:16 Helping to dry off the newest baby goat.

08:34 Teaching the new goat kids to drink from a bottle is not that easy. They have to have their necks straight up, like they would when nursing directly from the mama, in order for it to work.

08:55 A sideways milking view. Discussing “the key to effective milking.”

09:13 More kittens, somewhat decorated.

09:40 Kitten given liberties with the monopoly game.

09:44 Dog with ball in the snow.

09:57 New chickies eating out of hand.

10:08 What the dog thinks washing the car is all about.

10:45 Whose tail is that?

11:09 When the cat was allowed to look in and drink from the fish pond, before we discovered scratched fishies floating on top.

11:20 Enough love to go around for Grandma’s kitty, too.

11:29 What is the dog looking for during a hike in the Owyhee foothills a few miles from Nampa, Idaho.

11:56 If you look closely, you can see chickens popping up to peck away the fibers of the carpet that was hung to keep the cold air out of the coop at night. Silly chickens. Never noticed anything polyester about their eggs.

12:07 Son catches gopher by hand that is damaging the apricot tree.

12:36 The dog first started singing when this son played the drums. A couple of the children join in the opera and are snubbed. Now she sings to almost anything and we frequently have to tell her to be quiet so that piano practice goes better.

13:43 Lizard on a rock in the Owyhees.

14:01 How fast can the dog run in the snow?

14:23 Son helping to dig out the chicken feeding area so their food doesn’t just disappear into the snow. Plus, they don’t like to walk in snow that deep. Spoiled chickens?

14:38 But the dog doesn’t mind the snow. She thinks it is fun!

14:46 Skipping to a summer vacation on Lake Cascade, where the dog thinks the husband needs to be rescued out of the water.

Feel free to make your own captions on scenes. Just note the time numbers in the comment.

“Are you taking a video?”


  • Ben

    That is a lot of video clips.

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