Thursday, 26 March 2015

Dinosaurs

We have had our first week of Dinosaurs as our mini topic. This came about really because of one little boy who is obsessed with dinosaurs and includes these in all of his play.



It also coincided very well with a new resource which Yellow door sent me.  The dinosaur bones and match cards were not quite what I was expecting when I saw them on the website. I was expecting hardened plastic and cardboard sheets which wouldn't last very long in my setting. However to my surprise the bones are actually made out of stone so can take quite a pounding (although one did break when it was thrown onto a tile floor!). The cards are made out of plastic and this has meant I can stick them up on the sand area display as well as leave them out for the children to use independently.

I did receive these for free so I do thank Yellow door for that but I would probably have actually bought them myself if I had seen them in person in another nursery. Too often I've seen hardened white plastic which stains and gets lost - but these seem to be lasting (although it has only been one week!).

Children of all levels could access the resources however our more able ones were able to actually compare the bones to each other using the correct language as well as use the cards correctly.  It led to some pretty good open ended activities including them drawing their own cards and talking about our bones and how they need to stay strong, how they stay strong and how to fix them when they break.  



Another fabulous activity we tried this week was trying to excavate these dinosaurs from their eggs. Wilkinsons (I bought these..) have plaster coated eggs for £1. You need to use tools to try and find the dinosaur skeleton inside of the egg. Fantasticly simple but also very cheaper considering that just four eggs engaged 12 children for over an hour.  They're not the easiest things to get into so it allowed for a lot of open ended play and conversation about the best way. And of course once one child use a rolling pin they were all off..



On Thursday we treated ourselves to some dinosaur eggs. Now they weren't real eggs (and I made sure the children knew this) but were the dyed eggs from the Roald Dahl revolting recipes book. My partner has had this since he was a very ickle child and this was a loved recipe.  It wasn't possible to boil the eggs with the children so I introduced this more creatively, telling the children some dinosaurs had laid some eggs.  This linked in well with the other egg work we had done this week. 

I'm going to post something about open ended play and the changes I'm trying to make soon but this week has been the first week where I have tried to encourage the children to really take hold of what they want to do with their play. Usually we do encourage open ended play but there are still some elements which are adult initiated.

On Friday afternoon at 2pm (some staff thought I was crazy making this much work for myself) a few children were painting and decided to use some dinosaurs to make more footprints (something other children had done earlier in the week).  But rather than just making footprints, these children wanted to paint their entire dinosaur.  2 children turned into 20 children and suddenly the black tray was emptied and paint was poured in (they chose which colours;)).  Pretty soon we had dinosaurs of all different colours and some with sand and glitter on.  The language was exceptional, with lots of children discussing the "curve and the corners" as well as "under, back and front". Colour vocabulary was coming through but I was surprised by one little girl who told me how she wanted "dark purple" and told me adamantly that I needed to to mix more blue to the purple. In the end she did it herself and told me very matter-of-factly that she was correct, so there!

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