Dinosaurs are always are always a little interesting to do at a nature school since they don't really fall into the typical nature based curriculum. But hear me out; over the years of teaching at our little nature school, we have always gone with what the kids are interested in vs. whether it fits into our boxes we happen to create.
This goes along with a few different types of educational philosophies including Reggio Emilia, Unschooling, and Interest Led Learning. Even Project Based Learning takes the child's interest into consideration while planning units. We love those philosophies and find that allowing kids to guide their own learning makes for kids who are usually pretty engaged in their education and that leads to kids who love to learn!
So jump right into this week's Nature PlaySchool Dinos Theme and don't let the topic deter you, we will have tons of nature involved for sure! All of our kids have loved Dinos at some stage, so I am sure this one will work for you as well.
Dinosaurs in Corn Kernels Oh my gosh, y'all. This sensory experience with this one is absolutely amazing. We strayed away from using corn kernels for a while because not a whole lot come in the bags. When you have a class of 15 students, we consider it as we want there to be more than enough for everyone to enjoy the sensory bin. For at home use, a few bags of popcorn kernels makes for amazing play. Add some dinos like these to your kernels and allow your child to hunt for the dinos. You can even work on counting skills as your child finds the dinos. I would usually always add stainless steel measuring cups to this bin as it makes such a beautiful sound when you play with the kernels. Sensory play is all about engaging as many senses as possible to build neural connections so this is a big plus in this bin.
Art & Fine Motor Skills
Dino Track Painting - Learning to stamp is an important fine motor skill for children to learn in early childhood. There is even some research to suggest that kids are coming to school with less hand strength than years ago because they do not do a lot of stamping and grasping as they did before.
paint (choose whatever colors your child wants or that you have on hand). We use tempera paint in our classroom as it is generally washable, but still super bright.
Put the different colors of paint on a surface where your child can place a dinosaurs foot in it. Then show them how to "stomp" it onto the paper to get a print of the track of the dino. This can be used to compare and contrast different dinosaurs and even for a "can you guess which dino this came from" game later on.
Washing Dinos Station: After we are done painting the dinosaurs, I throw them into a big bin of soapy water and let the kids scrub them with toothbrushes and spray bottles filled with water. I add the spray bottles for more fine motor skill building! I sometimes add scrub brushes , to allow for a variety of tools the kids can use to get the dinos clean. The kids absolutely love getting the dinos back to the way they were and now your only job is to let them dry in the sun!
Make Feelings Faces - Introducing emotions to our children early not only helps to develop empathy for others, it also helps kids to learn how to identify their own emotions. This week we will work on identifying feelings with our cards. I love these because not only can children learn how to identify faces, there are sheets you can print and add play dough to make your child make their very own feeling faces.
Feeling Face Printed on cardstock or laminated
if you can't laminate, a sheet protector can work as well.
Break out the play dough and let your child have fun just manipulating it at first. Show them how to make a smiley face, eyes, and any other part of a face. Then start discussing feelings. Make a sad face and talk about how we know how someone is feeling when they make a face like this. Allow your child to make their own emotion playdough faces and talk about the different feelings involved. Some good emotion words are below.
Activity Guide Companions
Each unit includes Montessori inspired printables and even more hands on activities and detailed lesson plans to make prepping activities easy! Our printables are included to save you from purchasing additional hands on materials that you may not have available, but are also completely optional!
Dinosaur Printables included in this file:
Math: Dinosaur Counting puzzles
Social Skills: Play Dough Emotion Face Printable
Science: Parts of a Dino Labeling
Literacy: Dino Poem Printable
Language: Book List for this week
Dino Week Activity Log
Dino Week Supply Sheet
Digital Magazine of this week's activities
Our favorite books for this week:
Disclaimer: the links below are affiliate links which means we may make a small commission if you purchase from our links.
Triceratops (StoryBots) (Step into Reading) by Storybots
by Jaye Garnett,Cottage Door Press, et al.
Thanks for Reading!
Well, I hoped you enjoyed learning about dinosaurs as much as we did this week! Don't forget to tag us on Instagram @kind_academy or post pictures in our community as you do them. We look forward to seeing you soon!