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Friday, June 10, 2011

Graduating Paleontologists

The world's newest paleontologists left dinosaur camp today full of life and energy. Last day of camp today. What a wonderful week we had. Great children and great families! Thank you.

Today our discussion centered around the scientist that digs up dinosaur bones, a paleontologist. Of course, they all new what one was, what one needed to dig up dinosaur bones, where dinosaur bones are found, etc. One little boy even said that a paleontologist has to wear a hat. What am I here for again?

Our first activity is to help the children realized it is not easy getting dinosaur bones out of rocks. And also to emphasize the fact that paleontologists use tools. The children each got a dinosaur figure frozen in ice. They then had to use their tool, a nancy bottle filled with warm water--lots of nancy bottles filled with water--to get their dinosaur out of the ice. This is very exciting for them.

I then had all the children make a dinosaur hat. Not exactly a paleontologists' hat, but something fun and shaped like a dinosaur.

Our big finale was to take the children outside for a dinosaur bone hunt. My sister-in-law had made some bones years ago for her son's birthday. She then passed them to me for Dino camp and they are a huge hit.

The bones get "hidden" in the morning, really just put around the church yard. Then the children have to find the bones and we have to put them together to make a dinosaur fossil.

Off they go. I hope everyone had a great time.

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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Erupting Volcanoes!

We focused on volcanoes today. We made QUITE a mess I must say. Poor Ms. A spent most of her time cleaning everything up, but always with a smile. Thanks Ms. A.

Lots of different activities going on today:

First at one table Ms. A helped the children create milk volcanoes. This is always great fun--no one says we can spill our milk at home! Each child got a glass filled about half way with milk. Then they added some red food coloring so it would look like lava. Finally everyone was given a straw and told to blow. It is so cute watching some of them stop instantly as the bubbles got to the rim of the glass. When I tell them they can keep going to make it look like lave pouring from a volcano, you get that look like--really?

On another table I had set up trays with piles of baking soda and cups of colored vinegar. In each cup was an eye dropper. I showed the children how to get the liquid into the eye dropper and then squirt it on the baking soda. Their reaction to this bubbling mixture is always priceless.

I also had a table of dinosaur stamps and ink pads. I tried to have them wash the stamps before changing colors so that the ink didn't get all mixed together. The biggest draw at this table? Washing the stampers. There was water everywhere--but they had fun.

I also wanted to let them make something to take home--so very important to many of them. Our craft today was to cut a volcano from brown paper, glue it to another piece of paper, rip red/yellow/or orange tissue paper, and glue it to the volcano to represent lava. Then add some dinosaur stickers. This was actually my first cutting activity with the group. I was surprised I only had a few that needed some guidance.

That was our day, now I'm going to take a nap!

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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Day to Breathe

We had a lovely day today. It was calm, fun, and just plain relaxing. With the heat on the way we had the lights off in the classroom and the fans humming. Spray bottles and water were prevalent, but it was very nice.

Our huge dinosaurs look great on the wall. I have one covering a doorway no one usually uses--I'm sure someone will use it now:). As we were putting them up this morning I was thinking I wonder if they will notice. Well, they did, and right away too. I had to hand the Triceratops pretty high up to find enough wall space. T-Rex would have been behind them as they entered the room, but they noticed him right away. What observant little ones!

Today we painted some beautiful sun catchers. I purchase the sun catchers and paint from Oriental Trading. It's a super easy craft, but the children love hanging them and seeing the colors come through.

I also purchased Dinosaur scenes from Oriental Trading and had them on the tables for the children.

Our other activity was at the water table. I had gotten those little capsules from Michael's Craft store--the caplets that open up in water. Each child got to pick one and help it to "hatch." They did this activity with my helper, but they all stopped by to show me what they got--full of excitement.

I used my little bit of free to to clean the floor since our huge dinos stuck to the floor as the paint seeped through the paper. And, I also hand to unstick all the dino footprint fossils from the plates. I guess it was a sticky day yesterday.

It's hard to believe, but only two more days of camp. Wow! How fast!

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Dinosaur Immersion

Whew! What a whirlwind of a day! Today was one of those days where it was hard to catch your breath. Really? Who's fault is that anyway? I know it's mine. We are definitely slowing down tomorrow!

The first order of business today was to finish up the children's puffy paint dinosaurs. We had to clip on the "spikes" and and an eye. The puffy paint felt really neat, almost spongy.

Then I like to take all the children's pictures with a dinosaur surround to commemorate the fun we had during our week at camp. I try to get them done early in the week to get them to the photo place and back in enough time.

Since I didn't get to the dinosaur fossil footprint yesterday, I wanted to do that today. In previous years I have done this with white play dough and they usually take all week to dry. This year I bought Crayola Model Magic--hopefully it will dry much quicker.

For this project the children get two clumps of dough. They roll them in balls. Then they press a carnivore's foot in one ball and an herbivore's foot in the other. We let them dry and they have two fossil footprints.

Finally, our big project today was BIG. I decided to draw a couple of big dinosaurs--one T-Rex and one Triceratops (no comments on the drawings:). Then the children were to paint the dinosaurs. I planned for this to be messy, but it was MESSY! And, a bit confusing. The children did wonderfully. Mrs. Nodolski had a bit of trouble making sure everyone got a turn. I thought I had everyone, but I missed one little boy:(. He told me after I had cleaned everything up. Sorry, little guy.

Tomorrow I am going to cut the dinosaurs out and try to find somewhere in the room to hang them.

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Monday, June 6, 2011

Hear Them Roar!

Dinosaur Camp started today. The title is actually a bit contrary to our day. Our room was so quiet with all 16 children that I had to keep counting to make sure no one left on me :). I'm sure by the end of the week I will know there are 16 children in the room.

Dino camp is our most popular summer camp. Truth be told, our camps did not fill well this year. Out of 5 camps only 2 filled totally. The other three camps didn't even get enough children to run the camps. I think summer camps have gotten much more popular than when we started these about 20 years ago. There are so many choices out there now.

Dino camp is always fun and exciting and, of course, super busy. When it was time to go today we had a little girl say that she wasn't ready to leave so she was staying.

Today we made a stegosaurus with the greatest puffy paint. The puffy paint is from No Time For Flashcards--one of my favorite sites. The puffy paint is 3 parts shaving cream, 1 part white glue, and paint. I mixed up three colors and had enough paint for probably 60 children. Oh well I won't make as much next year. (This whole idea is from No Time for Flashcards.)

I had cut out a dinosaur shape from some cardboard I had saved over the year. Then the children told me what color paint they wanted. I put some on and they swished it around. Some of them swished whole-heartedly while others swished index fingerly.

Then they all got some clothespins to add color to. I had bought tons of clothespins and put them in that "safe" place for this year. Well, I couldn't remember what the safe place was. I was able to scrounge enough clothespins together for each child to get 3. I think that's a bit sparse, but at least the dinosaur will resemble a stegosaurus a little bit.

The stegosaurus is at school drying. Tomorrow we'll add an eye, put on the spikes, and send him home.

We also played the herbivore/carnivore game. I had a plant and a plate with a hot dog and hamburger on it(that represented our meat). Each child then got a dinosaur and they had to decide if it was an herbivore or a carnivore and place the dinosaur at the correct food. They did well.

If any parents are reading today, remember old clothes tomorrow. See you tomorrow!


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