We had a very dino-rific long weekend over here! It was entirely by chance that we went to the Natural History Museum on Saturday and then decided to do the local dino park on Monday. Both exhibits were amazing, the Museum had quite a few assembled skeletons to view and the park had dozens of life sized replicas so we've seen the dinos inside and out now!
It was also completely coincidental that I had been planning to do a dinosaur themed week of activities with the kids, but man did it work out this time! I've been gathering ideas and supplies for a few weeks now, trying to choose activities that would allow us to build upon logic and reasoning skills and learn about the history of dinosaurs.
I'm not much in to guided crafts with my 3 and 1.5 year old, rather, I prefer hands on activities that allow them to explore their senses and learn via play and I think that the dino theme is going to be great for this! We can learn logic such as noticing that dinos with big teeth eat meat, and dinos with spikes on their back are better able to protect themselves from said meat eaters. We'll be learning about the food chain and how if the leaves disappear the herbivores die, and then the carnivores die. And, we'll explore some possible scenarios about what happened to the dinos to end their mighty reign.
If you remember my coffee sensory bins from a few weeks back, I took the remaining coffee grounds and made up some coffee dough with the recipe from Diary of a Mad Crafter, you can click on over to get it, it's super simple and is a great way to reuse sensory materials!
The volcano is made out of the dough and then sand, leaves, some obsidian and dinosaurs fill the bin. I added a dead dino for realism.
I stuffed the volcano with baking soda and then gave the kids a glass of red colored vinegar and some eye droppers to practice fine motor skills and enjoy the reaction slowly. Eventually we got crazy and poured the entire cup in!
Such bubbly fun! This was a great time to talk about the obsidian, how it is formed from volcanic rock, Aurora is surprisingly interested in collecting rocks (mostly just the pretty ones), so she found this tidbit of knowledge interesting (or at least as interesting as a three year old ever finds a rock that isn't made out of candy)!
We talked about the different dinosaurs present in the bin, we examined their characteristics to learn about what they ate and how the interacted with the other dinos. We compared the live and dead dino and noticed that they had the same shape and that bones are what give all of us our shapes. She was really curious about that as we poked at our knuckles and knees to feel our own bones beneath the skin!
Grayson just did his messy boy thing, filling the volcano up with sand and trying to bury the dinosaurs head first in it. Boys will be boys.
Tomorrow I've got another themed day planned, I can't wait to get messy!
For more sensational sensory ideas, check out my Pinterest board devoted to exploring the senses! Follow Brigette @ Life Lesson Plans's board Kids: Sensory & Small World Bins on Pinterest.