Friday, April 6, 2012

Here Come The Dinosaurs!

Well, now that the spring fever madness is over, I can relax a bit and try to spend some time sprucing up this blog… Yay for Spring Break!

Spring fever was at an all-time high this week! The munchkins were super talkative and just weren’t into really listening very well this past week. I tried my best not to mention spring break too much around them but I think they sensed both the exhaustion and excitement about spring break from me and my aides.

I had my Dinosaur week all planned out but I left room for flexibility because the week before spring break is never easy! Since it was a short week I knew I wasn’t going to be able to do all the dinosaur activities that I had in mind and I admit, I was a bit bummed out about that, but I knew a Dinosaur theme unit would hold their attention long enough to get through the 4 day week!

On Monday we began the week by talking about the letter of the week. We discussed things that begin with the letter Dd, which then led into Dinosaurs and they managed to have a very extensive discussion about dinosaurs and I could see their excitement and I knew they were hooked.
So, I took their enthusiasm and ran with it.
In this post, I will highlight just a few of my dinosaur activities that were a huge hit with my munchkins!

Dinosaur Egg Surprises
I started the unit by making homemade dinosaur eggs. I had done this once before but I only made five the last time… My son and I made 20 little dinosaur eggs and placed tiny dinosaurs toys that I had bought at the Dollar Tree. The recipe is as follows: (I had to double it to make 20 little eggs)
  • 1 cup of flour
  • ½ cup of salt
  • ¼ cup of sand (I used craft sand purchased from Michaels)
  • 1 cup of coffee grinds (or dirt)
  • ¾ cup of water  

Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Slowly add water and knead with your hands until it has dough like consistency. Take toy (or other item that you wish to put inside the egg) and mold the mixture around it to form an egg shape. 

These can be air dried for a day or two OR you can place them in the oven, (which I did b/c of time constraints). Bake at 150 for about 20 minutes.

                                                        When I brought them in the next morning, the munchkins were very curious about what they were! Some of the guesses I received were that it was a big cookie, a rock, and an egg made from dirt.

The excitement of exploring the egg (touching and some even smelled it!) and using tools to open it up was amazing and I was thrilled that I was able to get some of their facial expressions as they were” in the moment” and as they  were investigating their egg.

The looks on their little faces as they "discovered" what was inside:
(*I try my best to not photograph the munchkins directly, but for this one time, I had to do so, in order to capture the true excitement in their faces!)

 Paleontologist Play

In our sand table, they had a blast pretending to be paleontologists and used brushes and sand sifters to discover and find the toy dinosaur skeletons that were buried beneath the sand. 

Dino Nest
I turned our water table into a Dino Nest by using paper like hay (I am not sure what it really was, I just found it in the art closet and used it!) and I placed eggs, filled with dinosaur counters, inside the nest.

Math: Spin & Graph Dinosaurs
We worked on our counting and graphing skills by playing a Dinosaur Spin & Graph game, compliments of

Many of them really enjoyed this and were excited to try to be the first one to reach the number 10. They even asked to play it again the next day, so I am sure I will be making other Spin & Graph types of games for future math units!

       Math: Dinosaur Patterns
  We also did a patterning activity with dinosaur cutouts that I was very excited to make with my new teacher toy – Cricut Expression 2. 
   As many of them can continue a simple AB pattern, I decided to challenge them a little. Our focus for the patterns was on the shape of the dinosaur cutout (Spikes vs. No Spikes) rather than the just the color and type of dinosaur cutout.

Egg Relay Races
   And to help alleviate the madness caused by Spring Fever, I decided to get the munchkins outside for some fresh air and we had an Egg Relay Race. 

It was an awesome way to promote teamwork and to get outside to release that energy! 

They LOVED it!

Dinosaur Books

I have a very extensive library of Dinosaur books. (These are all available on Amazon.)  Some of this week’s favorite books were:

·         Patrick’s Dinosaurs
·         Danny and the Dinosaur

 One more thing: 
    When I asked the munchkins “What do you think happened to the dinosaurs?”, one girl answered: “Maybe an asteroid came and only hit one part of the Earth and the dinosaurs who lived there died but the other ones who live far away did not die and they are still alive somewhere!” 
How do you like THAT theory??!!

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