Saturday Summaries: Dinosaur Week

I was inspired by Rainy Day Mum’s Storybook Summer to do a dinosaur theme for mom camp last week. She has great ideas and activities for free!

My kid has not been naturally “into dinosaurs.” He wasn’t excited about dinosaur week. But once we got started with the activities and books he has been absorbed in it all and fascinated by them all. I showed him the nonfiction dinosaur shelf at our local library and he was so excited he wanted to bring every single book home to learn more. Success!

Dinosaur in a Digger (not pictured because it is being stored beside the toddler’s bed at all times) The best intro to dinosaur week for my truck loving kid. It’s pretty basic as far as plot but the illustrations are great and it feeds into the toddler need to label. We have really enjoyed naming each dino and truck on each page.

Dinosaur Farm is the book recommendation from Rainy Day Mum. It’s very cute. Nowhere do the words mention that it’s a dinosaur farm but the illustrations make it very clear. We loved the play on this disconnect and, well, there is a page with dinosaur poop…you know it’s a hit.

I Am Not A Dinosaur is a fun introduction to some other prehistoric creatures.

Oh My Oh My Oh Dinosaurs has been a Boynton hit for a long time it our house. In fact, it was a popular early potty time choice for my first child. That popped balloon has inspired a lot of conversation. Easy to read and understand with entertaining, rhyming text.

Dinosaurs Roar is a book of opposites with fun, detailed illustrations. Younger kiddos would really enjoy this one.

How Do Dinosaurs Count to Ten is a member of the How Do Dinosaurs… dynasty that I read from repeatedly as a teacher. Lovely, detailed illustrations of anthropomorphic dinosaurs with the name of each dinosaur on the page–very handy for the toddler who enjoys knowing all the details. We enjoy reading books that spark conversation beyond the words on the page and these definitely do.

This week’s activities:

  • The biggest hit this week by far was the dinosaur sensory table. We did it Monday morning and it was requested every day after, sometimes twice a day. It was a great activity for both my kiddos. The baby loved throwing everything out of the table while the toddler loved getting lost in his own imaginary landscape. The sandbox happened to be nearby and that just added a whole new realm of ways to play. Such a great idea!
  • A challenge for me is coming up with ways to keep my boys involved physically. They need movement and, though I try to run them each morning in the jogging stroller, I am by nature a couch potato. Animal actions are always a hit, like this awesome dinosaur action cube.
  • One of the things my kid has found the most fun of these weeks has been themed food. I think it helps him “buy in” to the theme and, well, it is pretty fun. I followed this stegosaurus breakfast tutorial.
  • We were inspired by this post full of wonderful dinosaur ideas to make fossil cookies. Hint: the stomping you do on the raw dough will bake out, you need to stomp on them which they’re puffy and hot. But I didn’t want to do that with my kid so we had fun doing them before baking and I just stomped a few quickly when they came out. I told a story while we prepped the cookies and we had a good talk about dinosaur footprints and fossils.
  • Rainy Day Mum’s balancing dinosaur was fascinating to make and play with! I can’t believe how many ways the kid thought of to move those legs!
  • Because of our Paw Patrol Obsession, we are majorly into anything x-ray (thank you Marshall!), so I knew this dinosaur X-ray craft would be a hit. I did not know how intensely and carefully my child would pick and lay out each bone. One of the best parts of doing activities like this is being surprised by my child’s intense interest in unexpected things. We added cotton balls for skulls.
  • I bought a package of dinosaur skeletons off of Amazon and we went crazy with them. We’ve buried them in sand and rocks, they joined us to eat muffins for breakfast, they watched my toddler sleep, and they were frozen in ice requiring a rather intense excavation. (This activity from last week continues to be a hit. To make it a little harder, I froze all the dinosaurs together in a big metal bowl. It was a challenge to free them!).
  • Not pictured, but worth doing: build a dinosaur and stomp painting.
  • And we sang We Are The Dinosaurs a whole lot!

We had a great week! To top of off, my child surmised me yesterday. He always responds to the question, “What are you going to be when you grow up” with “a construction worker who drives a forklift.” But yesterday, out of the blue, he said, “after dinosaur week, I’m going to be a paleontologist!” So… we’ll see if that lasts but at least we made an impression.

A note on these “Saturday Summaries”: I plan activities each week to do with my children as part of a strategy to have an orderly, interesting home for our toddlers. I’ve found that planning something fun helps me parent better–when I’m excited and invested in the day, my children are too. This creates an atmosphere of respect and mutual cooperation that carries over to better behavior.