Friday, February 28, 2014

Dinosaur Nesting

Dinosaurs took over our igloo last week which meant it was time to move on,
       take down the igloo and create a space for the dinosaurs.
I used a child’s wading pool and covered it with brown paper to make a nest. 
Then added fabric, a variety of dinosaurs and eggs and a play structure beside it.
          The dinosaurs look like they are trying to escape.

At first the grown ups weren’t sure if the children should go in the nest but
that was the most direct way to get to the eggs.  Plus climbing over the edge
helped work their balance and ability to manoeuvre around objects.

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I’ve also noticed that some children like to be inside a smaller space.
So I added a box for a cave.  We’ll often see at least one child tucked inside playing, telling themselves stories or just getting away from the busyness of the room.  (Just like how they used the igloo)
The older children' play is more involved with the dinosaurs.  They tell each other what the dinosaurs are doing.  They create story lines, and scenarios.  They move around more so most of their play takes place on the outside of the nest. 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Dinosaur Egg Hunt

        Last week we took our hunting for dinosaurs outside.
The inspiration came from this book by Anna Milbourne and Mandy Field
                               called “The Dinosaur”.
It is about dinosaur (stegosaurus) hatching from eggs in a forest, growing
             big and discovering the world around him.
At the same time I found a recipe for coffee dough that is baked.  I wrapped
the dough around little dinosaur toys and baked them so they were hard.

On the day of our hunt, Rosilyn, a volunteer in my program, hid the dinosaur
eggs in the forest around the big rock.  There were similarities between the
forest in the book and our forest.  Like the prickly plants that had berries or
sticks and twigs for the dinosaur to eat.

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We got ready with our nature bags full of tools (hammer, brush, clipboard
                     and pencil) and headed out to the woods.
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The children were sceptical of finding any real eggs.  As we walked one child said he
could smell dinosaur eggs.  What do they smell like?  Cucumbers, strawberries
        were some suggestions as the children took sniffs of the air.

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I was the first to find an egg as we reached the big rock.  I took out my hammer
to demonstrate how to break the egg open but soon realized that the eggs
                                weren’t as brittle as I hoped.
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Improvising I started to bend the egg and I made a cracking sound then out
poked a long tail.  One child said ‘It’s a worm!”  So I continued to bend the
                       end until two feet could be seen.
That sent everyone off to find their own egg and the cracking began.

Once they found an egg they pulled out their clipboard and hammer
              and set to work trying to break it open.
Most times the hammer was put aside to use our hands to do the work.
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Sometimes help was needed.  Grandma helped this child crack it open
                           and pull out her orange dino. 

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We tried to predict what kind of dinosaur would be in each egg. 
What colour it might be?  Or how big it might grow up to be?

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I encouraged them to make notes about their dinosaur. 
What did it look like?  What would you call it?
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As we were heading back to school, one child asked me
“Are they real dinosaur eggs?”  Not wanting to spoil the magic
of our discovery I answered with a question “What do you think?” 
He thought for a moment and then quietly said “Yes.”

The next day at school one of the parents, who is a teacher at our
school, shared with me that her son told the whole family about
the experience and ended it with "You never know what you find
in a forest!"

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Introducing Dinosaurs

About a week and a half ago a local gentleman, who collects fossils
from around our area, hosted a fossil scavenger hunt.  I joined in the
                  fun with some of our families.
Skippy the Fossil Freak hid about 1000 fossils of various sizes around
a park in town.  It was so enjoyable to watch families hunting in the bushes
and under rocks looking for treasure.  I managed to find a few myself.

Back at school I decided to expand on dinosaurs and see where it takes us.
                      I started with a small world invitation.
The toddlers really like it.  It is the right size, height and not too busy. 
They move the dinosaurs around, sometimes hiding them under the volcano.  
Although they don't say much while they play I can imagine the stories that
                   are happening in their imaginations.
Scooping up the coffee dough and letting it filter through their fingers was
also a favourite activity.  (I placed a little broom and dust pan under the table
for clean up.)
At the same time I added dinosaurs, rocks and sticks to the sandbox. 
It seemed that the older children were more interested in this area. 
By the end of each morning I had to dig in the sand to find the toys. 

Hmm maybe we have to explore 'the hunt'.... searching and finding

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Stain Glass Art

Browsing Pinterest on the weekend looking for art ideas I found this one
                                     at Pure and Noble.
                           It looked like stain glass to me. 
I felt it would be an activity the children would like to try at our program.
    Instead of using a clip board we used our sheets of plexi-glass. 
        You could use cardboard too or whatever you have handy.
    The tricky part, for the children, was stretching the elastics. 
    We gave them a hand so they could get on with the painting.
I noticed different techniques being used depending on the age of the child
                             or their past exposure to art. 
       The child above is filling in every area with the same colour.
  The next child is choosing several colours but brushes over the
      whole sheet of paper (even slipping beneath the elastics).
   As the age of the child increases so does their ability to see the
individual sections and acknowledge them each with a different colour.
            Some of the designs became more structured.
          Regardless of their age they all enjoyed painting.