This January has been all about dinosaurs with Mother Goose Time’s Dinosaur Dig preschool theme. We had a lot of fun being preschool paleontologists. We used tools to brush and discover “dinosaur bones” and create our own fossils. These experiences allow children to better understand what a paleontologist does.
We start out each month with a new calendar. We don’t spend a lot of time on the calendar but this is our process: Each month I put up the new calendar with the kids, so they can see we are changing it. I write all the numbers on the calendar and write in special days. This month we have a birthday which is always exciting! The calendar and theme poster also introduce our theme for the month. The kids always like to study the theme poster and talk about what they see. It’s a great way to introduce new concepts and vocabulary words. We also use it to review colors, shapes and count objects we see.
Our daily topic poster introduces what we’ll be learning about each day. Day one is about Paleontologists. That sounds like a big topic for little kids, but when we explain that paleontologists are scientists who study dinosaurs, they begin to understand. Paleontologists look for dinosaur bones like the person in the picture.
We start each month by writing our names. For Dinosaur Dig, the suggestion was to write our names dinosaur style! So I wrote each child’s name and added -saur to the end. That was fun! All month long, we had dinosaur names. At nap time everyone was a “napasaurus”.
Writing the names in highlighter allows the children to copy their letters without being overwhelmed. As you can see, my group is young and most are not yet writing their own names. That’s okay though, they are recognizing their names and identifying some letters. We’ll see progress as the year goes on! These name tags are great for monthly portfolios. Add the date to each one so you don’t forget.
All month long we’ve been working in our “field journals”.
They are coloring books but also include the dinosaurs names so we can learn each one’s name.
We have lots of dinosaurs to play with!
We used the small dinosaurs for learning about numbers 9 and 10.
The dinosaur manipulatives can be used for patterning, counting, sorting, imaginative play, in sensory bins and so much more!
One of the main things paleontologists do is visit excavation sites and look for dinosaur bones so we wanted to try that too.
One of our creative art activities for the week included Excavation Dig. It explored shapes and incorporated fine motor skills through cutting, gluing and brushing sand.
I have a mixed group of ages between 18 months -5 years old so skills vary. Cutting out all the pieces is a lot of work for some so what I usually do is introduce the activity and then let everyone try. While they are working, I see who needs help. I walk around and use hand over hand to help children cut.
Often they need to practice using both hands – one to hold the paper and the other to cut. Or to hold the scissors with their thumb up. Some need to use loop scissors and switch hands while they cut because their hands become tired. Others need to use both hands to squeeze the scissors and I guide the paper. The goal isn’t perfection here – it’s to develop skills. It’s okay if their paper is all “chopped up”! For this child, working on cutting is most important.
Others may be more advanced in their skills so I am sure to provide them the materials they need next so they don’t have to wait and become discouraged. This 4 year old put his dinosaur together “right” and was proud of that. I didn’t use those words but he did and that is a success to celebrate.
Yes the sand was messy that’s part of the fun! Seeing what happens when you mix sand and glue with a brush is interesting.
Our finished dinosaur Excavation Dig projects!
I have an area for display in the hallway so everyone’s projects can be viewed by peers and parents.
More Dinosaur Dig activities coming up!