We have done dinosaurs before, but Button was a lot younger and really enjoyed it. That time we made some frozen dinosaur eggs that she had to melt to hatch the dinosaurs, footprints with her toy dinosaurs and we made a fossil using salt dough. We also took her to the natural history museum to see the dinosaurs, which she loved and talks about wanting to do again. She loves to watch shows like dino Dan and Dinosaur train. If you have little ones who love dinosaurs i would recommend both. Dinosaur train is on Netflix and Dino dan is amazon. 
   It's a lot harder with the twins to plan ahead as I never know how much they will let me do, so for me this theme was all about grabbing at opportunities whereever possible and seeing how Button could lead. 
  We decided to do it again now as there was a local exhibition with a few dinosaurs. She has been excited for this local exhibition since before Christmas so it made sense to use it as an opportunity to re learn some bits and add to her knowledge. It has been a joy to watch her sink herself into this theme. The evening after the exhibition she got her blocks out and built a museum just like what she had gone to see, including the drawing area and cafe. She then played with it and we left it out for the following day when all her lottie dolls came for a visit.
 We even found some old tattoos that she must have received as a Christmas present a few years back and me being an opportunist I used them for simple counting and to explain time. We had to hold the damp cloth on the tattoo and count to 30. This Button did easily and remembered 20 and 30 with no issues. (She forgets in which order the 0s go, so for example will count 27,28,29 but forget if its 30 or 40 etc) I then explained that we can count in seconds and we just counted 30 seconds which is half a minute. We then did the second one, counting to 30 again and then i explained that 30 seconds twice is a minute. 30 + 30 = 60. I want to do more work on seconds and minutes so this was a good start to see how interested she was.
 Button loves doing yoga and one evening when we were setting it up we found a dinosaur one, so she had to try that. We use cosmic kids on youtube.

We read her story book "how to grow a dinosaur"which she loves and always sparks her imagination.
  We also found some dinosaurs print outs for moments when I'm busy with the twins. We have a wipe clean clear folder, she can slip the worksheet in and answer the questions and then we can reuse the sheets. The first day she loved them and the freedom to pick and choose what she liked to do. She did two alphabet dot to dots, a maze and a spot the odd one out, all on her own. She then came back to the workouts a few other times during our dinosaur weeks. 
  Daddy spent some time teaching her the history of dinosaurs and we also made a volcano. She went to nanny's for the day and made bread, while making the bread she decided to make dinosaur bread. So even when with family she carries on her learning. Its been a lot of fun this section and we will definitely be adding on more to it in the future.


Our small world volcano activity is under small worlds and we also wrote up about the trip to tge local show, under day trips. Below is a link to cosmic kids yoga. 

Dinosaur craft

You will need:
Paper plates,
Toilet roll holder,
Paints or pens (we used greens, reds, browns and greys to learn about camouflage),

1. Cut your paper plates and toilet tubes in half and cut small slits in the toilet tubes. 
2. Feed the cut paper plate into the slits so the tubes act as legs and the plate acts as a body 
3. Using the other half of the plate cut out a long neck and head. Or cut out triangles on the plate u r using to form spikes. 
4. Dismantle it to decorate. 
5. When dry, glue together. 

Button loves arts and crafts so I knew she would enjoy this one. As she painted we talked about why we thought of using these colours. Where the dinosaurs could hide being these colours. I explained why they needed camouflage. She then talked about animals around now that use camouflage. So Button learnt another fact while painting.

T-Rex footprint 

This was a lot of fun to do and Ayla didnt even realise we were doing maths. 

You will need:
A big sheet of paper,
A tape measure,
Colouring pens (optional),

A T-rex footprint measures 46cms. 
Using the tape measure draw a line 46cms long and 46cms high. Then draw ur footprint using those lines. 
 If you want, get ur child to colour it in. Then get your child to stand on it to get a feel for how big it is. Ask them to guess how many shoes or pairs they think will fill the footprint. Then fill it with shoes. 

Button enjoyed this maths lesson. She estimated 7 shoes but we needed 11. She decided to try out her calculator so I said put in 11 and take away 4. This will tell us how many more we needed after your 7. We also lined the pairs up and counted in 2s. This showed her how many shoes and how many pairs. It was a quick and easy activity which got some important information across. Her fact to remember from today was the size of the footprint.

Sight word nests

This was all Button's idea. She prefers to learn her words through play. I was rearranging her school supplies when she spotted the plastic eggs and hay and shared her idea with daddy. I love it when she comes up with the idea because then Button completely buys into it once it's set up. She was very excited about doing her idea and spoke about it on her way home from her trip with daddy, to find i had already set it up for her.

You will need 
Straw or shredded paper
Plastic eggs that open
Letters or words (depending on ability)

1.Place the letters to spell the words they are working on inside the eggs
2. Use the straw to make nests and place the eggs on the nests
3.place the dinosaurs around the nests. 

I knew that if I used the words she would be able to read them and it would of been quite easy. She asked for the letters to make the word and I thought this could be a new challenge for her. While in her head, she was more comfortable with letters than words and so it gave her more confidence than of she had been faced with words. Some she worked out easily, others were a little harder. She knew all the letters and sounded them out in different orders till she found the right one. Once she had done all her words we left her to play. She had bought some new small dinosaurs on her trip so they acted like babies and she placed them in the eggs. She had also learnt about a dinosaur that steals other dinosaurs eggs so she used it in a story she was telling herself. She was hiding all the babies and the unhatched eggs and then had "the naughty dinosaur" looking in each nest. We left her alone to play for well over an hour. So not only was this a learning tool it also became a game.

Dinosaur Biology: - Diet and teeth

You will need:
Dry wipe pens

It is best to laminate this sheet to make it easier to correct and discuss mistakes and also so that you can do in stages if you wish.

The aim of this sheet is to discuss teeth shapes and diets. Then to match the pictures of the teeth with the correct diet (picture) and description (herbivore etc) and then to the correct dinosaur. I used dinosaurs that Button knows.

Button surprised me by knowing the difference between carnivore and herbivore and could match the dinosaurs to them quite easily. Once we had gone over the teeth types she was able to pick out the herbivore teeth but struggled with the fish eaters. She worked it out through process of elimination by working out which two were most clearly red meat eaters.

This was a bit long winded at times and may have been better laid out or even split into different work sheets, but using the dry wipe pens made it viable. Button enjoyed it regardless and it is definitely one we can use again in the future.

dino teeth.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [407.2 KB]

Dinosaur history

The history of the world is a difficult concept to grasp especially for a four year old. However, Button seems to have grasped that there were were three time periods that we then looked at. I started with a rough outline of what a time line is... God created the Earth.... Dinosaurs... Man... Egyptians... Greeks... Romans. I then said that we were breaking the Dinosaurs into three periods: Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous. 

We then played a game of finding what dinosaurs were in which period and gluing them.

You will need:
Small pictures of dinosaurs cut out,
Glue stick,
Table with a column for each period (attached)

I selected dinosaurs that Button already knew printed out small pictures of them and cut them out in advance.

There were none that Button would know in the list of Triassic Dinosaurs that I looked at so I found one that lived in United Kingdom and had an interesting fact (size of a cat) and used that to teach Button about another Dinosaur.

I then asked Button to name a Dinosaur, we then discussed what period it was from. We used a very sweeping generalisation that the Triassic period had the smallest Dinosaurs, Jurassic the biggest and Cretaceous the toughest. Dinosaur train on Netflix had also helped! Once Button had it correct she glued it in the right column.

Button really enjoyed this and engaged really well saying it was fun. By the end Button knew the names of the three periods and could more or less recognise their names printed out with some coaxing and encouragement. Not 100% perfect but still fairly impressive!

Dinosaur hatching

You will need:
Small dinosaurs,
Tap water,
Warm water,
Tray to "hatch" the eggs in and catch the water

Place a dinosaur in a balloon and add water until egg shaped. Put in freezer over night.

Peel balloon off to reveal ice "egg". Let your little one hatch the egg using salt and warm water to see which is most effective.

Button loved this, spooning a little salt on at a time, then warm water. Button did find it took a bit too long for her patience. So Button would add the salt then warm water and then wander off and do something else before returning to it. However, she did enjoy it and named rhe dinosaurs that hatched.

In the future I would do this as a science activity with a grid to compare the salt, warm water, salt and warm water and do 3 eggs at same time.

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