"If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales." Albert Einstein

10 April 2015

Book Club: Dinosaurs Before Dark

My BookMunchers discussed Dinosaurs before Dark this month in book club. This book is considerably longer than the typical picture books I choose, but it was still something that a parent could read to/with a child in the span of the month between book club meetings, and it would help the kids to be familiar with the Magic Tree House series once they got old enough to learn to read independently.  Some of the parents actually checked out some of the other books in the series once they had read this one, which has now empowered them to find this series in the library and to share it with their kids.

Clifford the Dino lives at the library, and he insisted on coming to this book club meeting.

We had a small discussion about the book itself, and magic treehouses in general, and dinosaurs in general (because everyone has a favorite dinosaur, right?).  After that it was time for activities.  I had four, two of which were insanely popular, as you'll see:

1.  Dinosaur hidden pictures. I found this picture on the Highlights website and printed out copies for the kids to take home.  Most of them did, and a few looked at the picture while at the library, but most of them were busy with other things.

2.  Dinosaur memory game.  This is also something I found online. I printed the cards, mounted them on construction paper, and laminated them.  This way I can use them again if (when) we have another dinosaur-related book or program. Only three children (out of twenty between my two book club meetings) used these.

3.  Play-dough and plastic dinos.  This was the second most popular station of the night. I had homemade (because it's cheaper) play-dough in baggies and a giant pile of plastic dinosaurs.  Each child could have one baggie of play-dough and could choose two or three dinos to keep.  They didn't want to keep the dinos, for the most part, but they had fun walking the dinos through the play-dough, smushing them into it to make "fossils," or coming up with their own creative ideas.  It was fun to watch them play and the play-dough didn't actually make much of a mess. And I gave the extra bags of play-dough to my coworkers, which made them happy, too.

4.  Dinosaur eggs.  This was far and away the most popular station of the night. I took plastic dinos (the same ones I used with the play-dough, actually) and put them inside water balloons. I then filled the water balloons with water and stuck them in my freezer.  The result, when the water is frozen and the balloon is peeled off, is something that looks like an egg.  Each child was allowed to choose one egg to "hatch."  I brought in a Crock-Pot and filled it partway with water, then set it on "keep warm." By the time book club started, the water was about the temperature of bath water.  I had slotted spoons for the kids to stir their dinos, and when there was a break I would scoop some of the extra water out with a pitcher.  I could have used just this activity and the kids would have been perfectly happy.

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