We are lucky enough to be able to do this activity writ large, but if you’re not lucky enough to have a dinosaur park nearby here’s how you can do this:
Find a sand box, bury some dinosaurs in the sand. And have fun digging them up. You can talk about how the dinosaur scientists dig for a long time to find any dinosaur bones and they have to be very careful with them because they are VERY breakable.
Here in Austin there was a discovery a few years ago of dinosaur footprints in the area. Since then a couple of the local playgrounds have created a dinosaur dig for the kids to try their hand at being paleontologists. This one is the Austin Science and Nature Center. Great place to do nature studies if you’re ever in the area.
We also compared the size of dinosaur bones to our bones. Notice this dinosaur’s ribcage is bigger than my kids. They get a huge kick out of this every time we go.
After digging up dinosaurs we went over and checked out the various animals they are trying to rehabilitate here. Most of the animals on exhibit are not able to go back into the wild because of an injury, or they’ve been too humanized (not the right word, but it’s what I’m thinking of now).
We then had to check out the birds and it’s always fun to look for the birds in their cages because they’re good at hiding.
As a side note, for those of you who do believe in evolution, you could use this as a chance to draw similarities and see if you can see an evolutionary path, for those who believe in Creationism this is a great chance to talk about how God created such a wonderful world where so many things are interconnected.
And we end the trip by wading in the water and getting the worst of the dirt off.
Over all, this was a very fun way to talk about dinosaur scientists. A great book to go with this field trip is Aliki’s Digging Up Dinosaurs. It’s a little on the high end for pre-schoolers, but it has all the stuff they’re interested in.
Here are some other great dinosaur resources that I forgot to put on my preschool week last week, and I wanted to put them up now, because I know a bunch of you are talking about dinosaur units:
Orange Juice- fun ideas of many different activities, she’s where I first saw the dinosaur dig in a sand box.
Confessions of a Homeschooler- lots of great printouts and games you can make that focus on math and alphabet sklls
1+1+1=1- her dinosaur Tot Pack, has some fun ideas, and I used one as my basis for the open-ended art
Preschool Finger Plays- lots of really fun preschool plays to choose from
Our Homeschool Fun- cute dinosaur puppet, I wish I had enough boxes to make it
Our Homeschool Fun- make dinosaur fossils. I really wanted to do this, I guess I still have some cool ideas for when we study dinosaurs again.
Harris Family- some fun game ideas, including a feed the dinosaur game, I didn’t get the carton I wanted to use empty in time to make a dinosaur, but I’m sure I can think of somethign else
No Time for Flashcards- fun stegosaur dinosaur craft
Our Crafts-N-Things- make a dinosaur skeleton out of popsicle sticks
4 Crazy Kings- another way to make a dinosaur fossil, this one with coffee grounds
That’s most of my ideas, I’m actually fighting a flu bug, so I’m off to take a nice HOT bath!
For more information on what Science Sunday is go here.