Thursday, August 23, 2018

Fun with dinosaurs.

Now that Matt is back to work, it has been fun doing "school" time again with the kids. To be honest, I missed it. 

Before we left for our summer travels, I decided to end our school year with two units: 1) dinosaurs (kids' choice) and 2) kindness (mom's choice). We were in the middle of a dinosaur unit for our "school" time when we left for our summer vacation, so we picked up where we left off when we got home. 

Just the other morning, Everett was at the kids' art table, and when I went to check on him, he said, "Mom, I'm doing school by myself right now, and I'm drawing a map of Yosemite." He then proceeded to show me all of the landmarks he had drawn. It was fun to see him playing school like I did so many times when I was young (and am doing again as an adult with him).


Books we enjoyed from the library:
Edwina, the Dinosaur Who Didn't Know She Was Extinct (one of my favorite dinosaur books)
How Do Dinosaurs Learn Their Colors? (board book for Cambria)

Books we own and love:
Dinosaur Dance (board book for Cambria)

Chapter books we read and enjoyed:


Dinosaur egg science:
Inspired by this activity, we first created eggs for our dinosaurs by mixing water and baking soda and forming it into balls around the dinosaurs. Everett just wanted to play with the baking soda and water for awhile, and Cambria joined him. We set the balls or "eggs" on a baking sheet to dry and then excavated the dinosaurs the next morning. With the first couple eggs, we used a medicine syringe and a bowl of vinegar to make the dinosaur hatch. Then, they wanted to use their paleontologist tools. They were entertained by these dinosaur eggs for four days in a row, which is a win in my book.

I froze some of our dinosaur skeletons in cupcake tins, so Everett could be a paleontologist and excavate the dinosaurs using his tools. This activity also provided a couple days of entertainment.
Painting dinosaurs:
I bought Everett a T-Rex and Cambria a Triceratops, and they painted them using q-tips instead of paintbrushes. This turned into an art project like the painted truck at the New Children's Museum, where they painted these several different days and just added more and more paint over the already dried paint. This was fun for my kids, because it is an art project that they can then play with after.
Dinosaur puppet show:
We created dinosaur stick puppets by printing out and coloring dinosaur illustrations that are available on the American Museum of Natural History's website. Out of all the dinosaur books we read, Everett got to choose what book he wanted to do a puppet show on to practice reading comprehension. Unsurprisingly, he chose the The Magic School Bus in the Time of the Dinosaurs. I'll give you one guess about who got to play the school bus in the puppet show, as seen below.
It was me, post-workout, post-shower, in my pajamas, just playing a school bus in a puppet show (who am I)?
They still haven't quite figured out how to hide behind the blanket and only show their puppets, but they do deliver an enthusiastic performance. 
Cambria coloring her life size Allosaurus tooth:

Dinosaur Pop-Up book:
This dinosaur pop-up book is one of the most impressive books we have ever owned, and it is a favorite of all of ours. It's a special thing that Everett and I read together while Cambria is napping, because he knows he has to keep it out of her reach so she won't break it. 
Field trips:
For one field trip, we literally just went to see a wall, but it is the wall that is home to Everett's favorite mural in all of San Diego. 
For our other field trip, we went to the Natural History Museum.
Volcano explosion:
After learning through our books and then at the museum how dinosaurs became extinct, we played it out with our volcano. This was the end of the volcano that we have had since Everett made it last fall. It finally cracked apart with this final eruption.
Dinosaur hide and seek:
Almost all of our "school units" have involved some kind of themed hide and seek game, because it is one of Everett's favorite games to play. For our final dinosaur activity for school, we played dinosaur hide and seek. We brought out the dinosaur costume he has been wearing since the Halloween when he was two and decided he wanted to be an orange dinosaur. He was kind enough to share it with his sister. Then, we played hide and seek. Simple and fun.

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