Wow, I can’t believe that summer reading is more than halfway over! What a great four weeks it has been! In fact, it has been such a whirlwind that I am just now able to sit down and recap some of it! During weeks 1 and 2 of our school age program each of our four branches enjoyed visits from Chehaw Park (see here for a slideshow) and Dino Camp.
Dino Camp consisted of four activities: make your own dinosaur skeleton with pasta, experiment with fossils, measure the T-Rex footprint, and dig for and classify baby dinosaurs.
I got the idea for this craft over at Prekinders, but I made my own worksheet so that the older kids could write down information about their dinosaur, such as its name, color, how big it was, what it ate, and where it was discovered.
The fossil activity was fairly straightforward, but the kids loved it–I put out little plastic dinosaur and sea creature toys and the kids made impressions of them in dirt-colored clay. I used Crayola Model Magic, which had an awesome consistency and didn’t get everywhere like regular Play-doh. Model Magic is supposed to air dry, so if you were doing this at home you could set them out and let them harden. Since I was reusing it, I just kept mine in a large Ziploc bag and it was fine.
For the T-Rex footprint activity, I cut out and painted a footprint that was approximately the size and shape of a T-Rex footprint. I taped it on the floor and provided rulers to invite the kids to measure the foot and compare it to their own feet.
The most popular activity BY FAR was the digging for and classifying baby dinosaurs. I got these dinosaur eggs from Oriental Trading, but I decided that the eggs were too difficult for the younger kids to open, so I transferred them to some plastic Easter eggs. (Note: I didn’t use all of the dinosaurs, just the ones that we had the most of. Also, I wanted them to be fairly easy to recognize and distinguish from one another. I ended up using Brachiosaurus, Mososaur, Spinosaurus, Parasauolophus, Apatosaurus, Stegosaurus, Plesiosaurus, and Corythosaurus.) I “buried” them in dried rice and beans and put the container on sand-colored fabric with an inflatable palm tree (also from Oriental Trading). Then, I printed out pictures of each dinosaur (along with one or two distinguishing characteristics) and attached them to paper plates. The kids were instructed to get an egg, open it, then try to match the baby dinosaur to the picture. To make it more scientific, I provided a couple of magnifying glasses so that they could look closely at the characteristics of each baby dinosaur. Even the older kids LOVED this activity. The rice was a little messy, and traffic flow was something of an issue with our larger groups, but it was definitely worth it.