By Awnali Mills
It was another wonderful morning is storytime land, primarily because we did Science and Stories. About DINOSAURS, ya’ll! Dinosaurs make children very happy. The books I chose were Saturday Night at the Dinosaur Stomp by Carol Diggory Shields, Dinosaur Farm by Frann Preston-Gannon, and Dinosaur Kisses by David Ezra Stein.
I bought a Folkmanis T-Rex puppet just for this storytime, and it turned out that he was a bit of a problem.
The darn dinosaur kept trying to eat the children! He brought me the letter D, but only after he’d slobbered all over it. Yuck! All he could talk about was food, and kept trying to nibble the children when I wasn’t looking, so he had to go away. Then, we all stood up and did Dinosaur, Dinosaur.
Dinosaur, dinosaur, turn around
Dinosaur, dinosaur, touch the ground
Dinosaur, dinosaur, reach up high
Dinosaur, dinosaur, wink one eye
Dinosaur, dinosaur, touch your nose
Dinosaur, dinosaur, touch your toes
Dinosaur, dinosaur, slap your knees
Dinosaur, dinosaur, sit down please
Credit: Modified from Childhood
Then we read Saturday Night at the Dinosaur Stomp. This is always a nice book for a dinosaur storytime. After that, we did the flannel One Dinosaur Went Out to Play.
One dinosaur went out to play
In a giant swamp one day
She had such enormous fun
That she called for another dinosaur to come:
Raise hands to cup mouth, and call loudly: Oh, Diiiiiiiiiinosaur!
Slap hands on thighs to make “running” sounds.
Two dinosaurs went out to play…
Five dinosaurs went out to play
In a giant swamp one day
They had such enormous fun
That they played until the day was done!
We practiced doing the call and the running noises first, and then the children loudly accompanied me during the flannel. Storytime gold, folks. Next we acted like dinosaurs.
Spread your arms way out wide,
Fly like a Pteranodon, soar and glide.
Bend to the floor, head down low,
Move like Stegosaurus, long ago.
Reach up tall, try to be
As tall as Apatosaurus eating on a tree.
Using your claws, grumble and growl
Just like Tyrannosaurus on the prowl!
Credit: Children Museum of New Hampshire
Then we read Dinosaur Farm. For some reason, this elicited LOTS of commentary. The kids thought the piles of dinosaur poop were hilarious. Next, we did the flannel Five Enormous Dinosaurs (which can also be a fingerplay)
Five enormous dinosaurs, letting out a roar,
One went away and then there were four.
Four enormous dinosaurs, munching on a tree,
One went away and then there were three.
Three enormous dinosaurs didn’t know what to do,
One went away and then there were two.
Two enormous dinosaurs having lots of fun,
One went away and then there was one.
One enormous dinosaur afraid to be a hero,
She went away and then there were zero.
Grumpy Dinosaur came back to help us sing I’m a Mean Old Dinosaur.
(Tune: I’m a little Tea Pot)
I’m a mean old Dinosaur
(Make a mean face)
Big and tall
(Gesture hands big and tall )
Here is my tail, here is my claw.
(Gesture hands behind your back for tail and make claw hands)
When I get all hungry
(rub your tummy)
I just growl
(have the kids exaggerate the grrroooowwwlll)
Look out kids, I’m on the prowl.
At this point, Grumpy went after the kids again. This elicited lots of shrieking laughter and running around. All good, though, I got him under control. Then, we read Dinosaur Kisses. It’s a simple book, but the kids made the noises and did the actions with me, and there was lots of laughter. Then we did the Dino Pokey.
You put your big claws in
And you scratch them all about
You put your huge feet in
And you stomp them all about
You put your big teeth in
And you chomp them all about
You put your back plates in
And you shake them all about
You put your tail in
And you swing it all about
Next up, it was Science!
Today we had five different stations in which to learn about dinosaurs.
- Meat Eaters and Leaf Eaters Sorting Station: A sign explained that meat eaters usually stood on two feet, had claws and sharp teeth, whereas leaf eaters typically stood on four feet, had flat feet and flat teeth. I had split paper box lids into two, then each half had a sign on it for meat eaters and leaf eaters. Each station got 8 dinosaurs, 4 of each kind. Kids sorted the dinosaurs into the appropriate side of the box.
- Clubbed Tail Experiment: Ankylosaurs had clubs on their tails. Why? Kids built towers of Duplo blocks, then used a straw and wrist action to knock them down. Then they added a ball of playdough to the end of the straw and tried the experiment again. The added weight and size of the playdough added heft that knocked the blocks better. The clubbed tail was a good weapon.
- Measuring Dinosaur Footprints: I taped reproductions of Triceratops footprints to the floor and let kids measure them with yardsticks, and compare their own footprints.
- Stegosaurus Clothespin Game: Sturdy plate-less stegosaurus were provided. Kids rolled a die, then added clothespins to the back of the stegosaurus, according to the number on the die. Good counting activity combined with pincher skills.
- Salt Dough Dinosaur Fossils: I gave each child a ball of salt dough on a small plate. They patted out dough into a circle, then smushed the dinosaur in to leave an impression. They then took the fossil home with them.