We’ve been loving summer – and much of our ‘Structured Learning” has been taken over by trips to the beach, park, and splash pad.

We have been reading a TON and spending time delving into different ‘unit’ type studies, which we love.

Dinosaurs are so much fun for kids to learn about.  We checked out as many books as we could at the library, and also have a huge pile of Dinosaur-related books from our Usborne stash as well.

Some fun “dinosaur sized” activities to try (har har):

Making Dinosaur Fossils

We found some great books about fossils at the library and learned about them before doing this project.

What you’ll need –

– Plaster of Paris (or similar)

-Raw Noodles and various objects to make shapes/bone designs in the clay

– Some sand

– Water

-White liquid glue/paint brush

-Parchment paper

How to do it –

1. Mix the Plaster of Paris the way the instructions tell you to, but add in some sand, making the mixture more pliable and like a play dough texture rather than soupy.

2. Once it’s ready, separate the plaster into as many pieces as you want/need.  You’ll need to work relatively quickly, as it dries pretty fast.

3. Roll the plaster out onto a piece of parchment paper so it’s about 1/2 inches thick and have the kids press the dry noodles, etc. into the plaster then pull them back out (like stamps).  This will make great designs that look like Dinosaur bones/fossils.

4. Brush the top of the pieces with a light layer of liquid glue – this helps solidify and maintain the stamping.

5. Give them a couple hours to dry… and VOILA!  FOSSILS!

“Dino-Size Me!” Activity –

Kids love to learn things in a hands-on way, that’s no secret.  I love this activity, because it makes dinosaurs and their immense size come to life in a very understandable way for kids.

It’s simple – all you need is 2 pieces of string or rope (1 piece is 50 ft., the other about 5ft.), scissors, and a measuring tape.

1. Go outside with your child and have him/her help you stretch out the 50 ft. piece of string.

2. From the 5ft. piece of string, cut out a piece the size of your child (or cut various, if there is more than 1).

3. Lay your child’s string next to the “T-Rex” string and talk about the size difference, asking your children questions as they come to you and related to their interest.

4. How many of your child’s length would it take to make up the height of a full-grown T-Rex?

A NOTE – When we did this activity, I had the kids lay down next to the T-Rex string for them to get a better understanding and visual of the size differences.

(Picture shows Audrey, age 3, at the bottom of the T-Rex string with Simon, age 5, standing at the top end.  These guys were HUGE!)

These ideas were taken from one of my absolute favourite activity books for preschoolers – “Kitchen Table Play and Learn” by Tara Copley and Andrea Custer.

Some GREAT Dinosaur Reads from Usborne (Please, feel free to ask any questions!)

The BIG Book of BIG Dinosaurs (an interactive book for preschoolers and beyond!)  $15.95

Dinosaurs (Information for your readers books) $6.95

Dinosaur Fun (a FANTASTIC preschool craft book) $15.95

World Atlas of Dinosaurs (an engaging, educational look at Dinosaurs around the globe – age 8+) $19.95

As always, happy exploring and I hope you are all enjoying your Summer!