All About Dinosaurs!

I originally published this blog post back in 2014. I was updating my category lists for my blog and stumbled upon the post, and I’m planning on doing a DIY dinosaur dig with Sullivan and Poppy soon. I hope your dinosaur loving kids love this activity!

I have a dinosaur obsessed little boy. It all started when he discovered Dinosaur Train on PBS. He loved watching and naming the dinosaurs, so I started brainstorming hands-on ways I could teach him more. I started off by buying him a few things from Amazon.

I love, love, love the National Geographic Kids line of products. They are so well made, easy to understand, and very educational products. I purchased the National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Dinosaurs. The text is very easy to read (beginning readers could read to themselves) and is written in a way that even the youngest readers can understand. Cooper and I read the book together, and we used the play set below to match up dinosaurs to their names.

I also purchased the Animal Planet Big Tub of Dinosaurs. It’s a 40 piece set that comes in a storage tub. It contains a variety of dinosaurs, a printed mat, trees, rocks, and volcanoes. Cooper was really happy with this, as you can see! Update: this set is still going strong three years later. It is played with frequently around here!

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After reading some reviews, I also ordered the My First Dino Kit. This kit encourages hand and eye coordination and observation skills as kids become paleontologists. It comes with a fossil block and excavation tools. I also loved that it came with a booklet of discussion questions and activities.

After we got these items and started to play with them, it dawned on me that I could make my own All About Dinosaurs! DIY Dino Dig at home.

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You’ll need the following supplies:

  • 3 boxes of cornstarch ($1 per box at the grocery store)
  • Water
  • Measuring cup
  • Plastic dinosaurs (I used the Assorted Dinosaur Fossil Skeleton from Amazon but after I ordered them I discovered dinosaur fossils at The Dollar Tree) (Cost = $3-$8) (If buying at The Dollar Tree, you will need multiple packages)
  • Plastic container ($1 at The Dollar Tree)
  • Excavation supplies – I used a paintbrush, magnifying glass, and a Popsicle stick

dinodigDirections:

  1. Pour the three boxes of cornstarch into your container. Add an 2.5 cups of water and stir vigorously to remove clumps. Add more water as needed until the cornstarch is a smooth, thin consistency.
  2. Add in your dinosaur fossils.
  3. Set it outside to dry (or in your garage if you are expecting rain). It will take 24-48 hours to fully dry.
  4. As the cornstarch dries, it will shrink, and water will pool at the top. Check the container every 8 hours or so and pour off any excess water.

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When your DIY Dino Dig is fully dry, you are ready to excavate! I did this outside as it is super messy. I laid down paper on our outdoor table and carefully popped the block out of the container. I laid out a few supplies – a paintbrush, a Popsicle stick, and a magnifying glass. Then I told Cooper to go to town. He broke up the block with the wooden stick and then started chipping away at the dinosaur fossils. Once they were free, he brushed them off with the paintbrush.

This was a fun activity for a dinosaur loving child!

I would say this activity is best for ages 3-6. The younger the child, the more assistance they will need in this project. Older children can participate by excavating and labeling each dinosaur as it is freed!

This post contains affiliate links, meaning I will receive a small percentage of the sale if you decide to purchase the products. Thank you for supporting Tickled Peach!

Preschool Chore Chart

Last summer I was having an issue with Cooper not wanting to be helpful around the house. He didn’t want to pick up his toys, he complained and pitched fits about having to take naps, and he just overall wasn’t having a serving attitude, which is something I feel very passionately about teaching him. I decided to come up with a chore chart for three reasons 1) to establish set “rules” and routines that he must do daily 2) to track his completion of chores and 3) to reward/monitor his attitude and completion of chores.

This is the Preschool Chore Chart that I came up with!

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The file itself was purchased from Etsy, and when I tried to link to the seller, it appears her shop is closed. However, there are tons of chore charts on Etsy. Simply make sure the chart itself is editable (so you can add your own chores) or ask the seller to do a custom order for you.

These are the things I thought Cooper could/should be able to do at 3.5 years old:

  1. Pick up his toys
  2. Put dirty clothes in the correct laundry hamper (whites, darks, towels)
  3. Put his dishes in the sink
  4. Help me unload the dishwasher and put away clean dishes
  5. Fill up the dogs’ food and water dishes

Now that he’s 4.5 years old, he has added a few other responsibilities:

  1. Make up his bed
  2. Pick up Sullivan’s messes – the life of an older brother!
  3. Take the trash from our small wastebaskets and put them into our kitchen trashcan
  4. Pull weeds
  5. Water the flowers with assistance
  6. Pick up dog poop (this is done with gloves and is supervised)

Not all the things I listed above made it onto the chore chart. The chart you see is the original one I made last summer and it needs to be updated now that he’s older. Also, I included some things that aren’t really chores, per say, but are routines: bath, naps, etc. just because I wanted to reinforce when he did them without complaint. For example, getting dressed had become this huge battle each morning that always ended with me loosing my temper, so he got to check off when he dressed himself without meltdowns each morning.

Cooper can’t read, so it was important for me to add pictures so he could track his progress himself and see what he needed to do. He’d check the chart throughout the day and would see what he still needed to do.

The chore chart included:

  • Get dressed
  • Brush teeth
  • Feed the dogs
  • Take a nap
  • Clean up your room
  • Pick up your toys
  • Obey your parents
  • Take a bath
  • Say your prayers
  • Go to bed

I included “obey your parents” because I was having to repeat requests 4 or 5 times before he would do them. We talked at length about what it meant to obey – which to me is doing something the very first time you are asked to do it, without complaint. We also related it to obeying God and how it makes God happy when we obey our parents and other adults.

I have a laminator at home so I laminated the chore chart and used magnets to place it on our fridge. I used a dry erase marker to check off items as they were completed.

As for rewards, I was never consistent about that. He received praise every time he got a check:  “thank you for picking up your toys, Cooper! I really appreciate your help!” If he filled up the chart for a week, he got to pick an activity (Chick Fil A, the park, swimming) or a small toy (from the Dollar Spot, for example).

We are thinking now of moving to an allowance, but my husband does not want to link it to chores. He believes strongly there are just things you should do because it is your responsibility as a family member. For example, Cooper would receive $5 a week for an allowance. He would be expected to do his daily chores. We’d also have a list of “above and beyond” chores he could do to earn more money (for example, $1 for vacuuming). As he gets older, those “above and beyond” chores would become harder and more time consuming.

Obviously we need to update the chore chart and make decisions on the allowance thing… that is probably something we will implement when he turns 5.

How do you handle chores in your house? Do you use a chore chart? Do you give your children an allowance? I’d love to hear your feedback.