Monday, June 20, 2016

Dino Playdate

Dino Playdate
By Angela
My two year old is out of school for the summer and I really didn’t want us to zone out in front of the TV every day to pass the time. I decided to create some fun playdates for him and his friends that involved learning. Here is one I did this past week!
Agenda (about 2 hours):
Homemade Dino Dig Kit
Dinosaur sticker scene (Melissa and Doug)
Stegosaurus art collage
Homemade fossils
Dinosaur story time

Homemade Dino Dig:
This was so fun and so easy! In fact, I plan on making them for Christmas gifts as well. Here are the supplies you will need:
Plaster (found at Michael’s or any craft store)
Kinetic sand (found at Michael’s or any craft store…or outside)
Plastic dinosaurs (I got mine at the Dollar Store)
Plastic Tupperware containers (found at the Dollar Store)
Digging tools (plastic knife, magnifying glass, rakes, shovels, paint brush, etc…)
Label (optional, but adds a cut touch)
I started the night before the playdate by making the dino digs. Make sure you use a disposable container to mix, I found out the hard way! Mix half plaster and half sand in the disposable container followed by a little water. Start to stir it together until you get a thick consistency but not so thick that it doesn’t stir anymore.
Make a smooth layer at the bottom of your plastic Tupperware containers and place a few plastic dinosaurs in the mixture. Layer on some more of the mixture to cover the dinosaurs up. Just a tip, but I found that if you leave part of the dinosaur’s body sticking out of the dig, the toddlers are more willing to dig and see what is inside. Let the mixture dry overnight, leaving the tops off the containers.
You can assemble a cute little digging kit to go along with the dig. I put together a magnifying glass (from Dollar Store), paint brushes (from Dollar Store), a rake and shovel kit (from Dollar Store) and a plastic knife (not sharp). I also added a cute little label to go on top.
The kids loved digging for their dinosaurs and pretending to be real paleontologists!

Dinosaur Sticker Scene:
Next we took a break from digging and tapped into their imaginations. At Michael’s I found some Melissa and Doug Habitat reusable sticker pads for 40% off, coming out to about $4. They have multiple habitats in them, but I used the dinosaur habitat for this playdate. The kids were able to assemble their own dinosaur scene using the reusable stickers. We made dinosaur noises, and went over what each dinosaur was in the process!
Stegosaurus Art Collage:
Colorful Foam sheets (found at Michael’s)
Glue and scissors
Googly eyes
This was a cute way to teach the kids about dinosaur anatomy, at least for the stegosaurus. The night before, I precut tails, spikes, torsos, heads, and legs of a stegosaurus out of foam sheets (found at Michael’s or any craft store). I used various colors so the kids could practice saying their colors as they put together their dinosaurs. I used the foam sheets because they add a 3D effect to the art work and are easier for their little fingers to pick up as opposed to using paper, but really you can use any type of material. I also premade one to show them what they were trying to make.
When they were finished with their stegosaurus bodies, I gave them each a googly eye to put on its head. They turned out a bit abstract, but cute nonetheless!
Homemade Fossils:
2 cups flour
1/2 cup salt
1 cup water
Plastic dinosaurs
Parchment paper and cookie sheet pan
These were so fun to make and remake! I started by pre-making the dough by mixing the flour, salt and water. I brought the dough out on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and rolled it out. The kids used the dinosaurs from their dino dig to make fossils. You can use their feet to stamp out footprints, you can press their bodies down for a full fossil, or even use plants if they came in your plastic dinosaur packs.
Once the kids were done, we preheated the oven to 200 degrees, and baked the dough. The kids can paint their fossils or keep them as is!

Dinosaur Story Time:
To wrap up the playdate, we had a story time with dinosaur books. I had a touch and feel dinosaur book and a Mickey Mouse dinosaur book, but there are really so many dinosaur books out there; just Google it! The kids really enjoyed this activity and I hope yours do too!

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