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Five Ways to Explore Dinosaurs

This week during our summer enrichment program we are exploring our favorite prehistoric animals Dinosaurs! Through reading books, singing songs, and setting out different invitations to explore all things in the land before time through open ended play.

Small World Dinosaur Play: This Small World Play was set in our Discount School Supply Tuff Tray to explore the land of dinosaurs with sand, rocks, wood rounds, flat marbles, dino footprints , plants, and jumbo dinosaurs.

Small world play such as this, accompanied with sensory materials are a great way for extending literacy, language, imaginary play, & tactile play. Through this play they can reenact what they see in stories, shows, experiences, & environments around them to deepen their understanding of the world.

Invitation to Paint on Dinosaurs: This invitation was set in a Tuff Tray by placing a whole bunch of different types of dinosaurs and the children were invited to paint on them freely with fluorescent paint.

So much rich language naturally happens with discussion of what colors they use and create with, the different names of the dinosaurs, and comparing the similarities/differences of the prehistoric animals. The more a child is exposed to different types of art, leads to them seeing the world in different ways, becoming more observant, feeling creative and appreciating the different forms of art.

Dinosaurs in Lava: This invitation was set in Tuff Tray by placing a bed of baking soda, volcanoes, rocks, fern, and dinosaurs, as the landscape. In beakers lava colored vinegar and pipettes. We invited the children to create and explore lava just like prehistoric times.

The children were able to engage in imaginative small world play and even explore real science through creating chemical reactions! The chemical reaction between the vinegar, which is an acid, and baking soda, which is a base, creates carbon dioxide. As lava is created lots of excitement over the baking soda and vinegar reactions occur, amazing discussions/observations, and such engaging play!

Mary Anning Excavation Site: In the Tuff Tray provide rocks, sand, dinosaur bones + skeletons, fossils, shells, flat marbles, magnifying glasses, paint brushes, shovels and shifters. Before inviting the children to become Paleontologists read the story Dinosaur Lady, which explores the daring discoveries of Mary Anning, the first female Paleontologist.

Through this type of hands-on play and exploration they can reenact what they see in the book, build comprehension skills, enhance their language, ignite their imagination, experience various textures through tactile play, and feel empowered to have the ability to discover just like Mary Anning did!

Dinosaur Stomp Painting: Children love experimenting with different ways to paint, so set aside your paint brushes from time to time and let them explore by painting with other materials like DINOSAURS.

Provide butcher paper, dinosaurs, and bowls with tempera paint. Invite the children to dip the dinosaur's feet in the paint and dino stomp prints all over the paper!

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